University of California, Riverside

Office of Event Management & Protocol


I want to plan an event, and I am...





Community Members

Film Companies & Commercial Photographers

Event Planning Information for Staff

The event planning process at UCR is decentralized. To ensure that all campus event planners have the tools they need, this website has been designed to take you step-by-step through the process, and will provide links to available campus resources. If you have questions, you are encouraged to consult with the Office of Event Management and Protocol or your venue coordinator for assistance. These event professionals can guide you through the process of holding an event on campus or connect you with the appropriate department to assist you.

Steps to a Succesful Event
  1. Initial Planning Considerations
  2. Create an Event Budget
  3. Determine Date and Location
  4. Review Event Policies, Procedures and Protocol
  5. Plan the Event
  6. Manage the Event (Day of Event)
  7. Conduct Post Event Follow up and Evaluate

1. Initial Planning Considerations

As you begin to think about planning your event, consider the following questions and points:

  1. What are the key goals and desired outcomes of the event? What message or experience do you want your audience to take away from this event? Are your event goals specific and clearly stated, measurable, achievable, and realistic within a predetermined time frame?
  2. Who is the target audience for the event? Beyond the primary audience, consider other groups that may add value to the event or help achieve the event goals such as community members, alumni, donors, legislators, media, students, student groups, faculty, staff, parents, and university retiree and emeriti groups.
  3. Determine an event date(s) and time. Keep in mind that events should not conflict with religious holidays, major community events, or significant campus events. Ensure that key participants and speakers are available on the desired date.
  4. Begin determining program timeline. Refer to the event's goals to help set the pace and flow of the event.
  5. Determine available funding and an estimated budget.
  6. Will campus leadership, elected officials, and/or dignitaries be invited? Prior to inviting high level officials or dignitaries, consult the Office of Event Management and Protocol for additional information.
  7. How will the event be marketed and promoted? Would it be beneficial to collaborate with other campus units or off-campus organizations to help reinforce your message? Consult your department's communications team or Strategic Communications to explore options.

2. Create an Event Budget

Planning and estimating event expenses and having a clear understanding of available funding may help determine the event format and define the scope and size of the event. Prior to committing university resources, consider the following:

  1. Which campus department or organization will be sponsoring the event?
  2. Is there a specific budget allocated to this event or is the funding flexible?
  3. Prepare an estimated budget for the event and seek departmental approval.
  4. Consult your financial or business officer for the proper full accounting unit (FAU) prior to securing goods and services.
  5. Is there a source of revenue?
  6. Is this a fundraiser?

3. Determine Date and Location


UCR currently does not have a comprehensive master calendar of events. To avoid potential scheduling problems, check the following calendars to ensure your preferred event date won't conflict with any other large events on campus or in the community. Consider the athletics sports schedules as well as they may impact parking for your event.

Campus-wide Calendars
Unit-based Event Calendars
External Calendars

On Campus Facilities

Booking event space on campus is currently a decentralized process. Below is a list of major campus venues and information on reserving event space.

List of On Campus Facilities
  • Alumni & Visitors Center
    The Alumni & Visitors Center serves as the "front door" to the campus and offers an array of meeting and event space. For information on holding an event at the Alumni & Visitors Center, visit the Hospitality Services website.

  • Athletics Facilities
    Intercollegiate Athletics facilities include the Riverside Sports Complex, the Amy S. Harrison Softball Field, the UCR Soccer Stadium, Johnson Family Practice Center and the UCR Track and Field Complex. For information on renting any of these facilities, visit the Athletics website.

  • Botanic Gardens
    The Botanic Gardens' Conference Room and the adjacent patio and lawn area are available to rent for official U.C. Riverside campus activities; limited municipal, state and federal government functions; and official functions of other campuses. Private parties, weddings or receptions are not permitted in the Gardens. For more information, please visit the Botanic Gardens website.

  • General Assignment Classrooms
    General assignment classrooms are available for use throughout the UC Riverside campus. Visit the Highlander Event Scheduling website for more information regarding room size and availability.

  • Highlander Union Building (HUB)
    The HUB has a variety of spaces to choose from that are perfect for small meetings to large dinners and lectures. Visit the Highlander Event Scheduling website for more information regarding room size and availability.

  • Outdoor Locations Event Scheduling
    There are a variety of lawns, patios and other outdoor spaces available for events throughout the beautiful UCR campus. Visit the Highlander Event Scheduling website for more information on available outdoor spaces.

  • Residence Halls and Bannockburn Village
    Bannockburn Village and UCR’s residence halls Glen Mor, Lothian, Aberdeen-Inverness, and Pentland Hills offer a variety of meeting spaces. In addition, overnight accommodations are available in the residence halls for conferences held over the summer. For more information, visit the Hospitality Services website.

  • Student Recreation Center (SRC)

    The Student Recreation Center (SRC) has a number of conference rooms, gymnasiums and fields that are available for registered student organizations, campus departments and non-campus groups. With over 155,000 square-feet, you can reserve a state-of-the-art training room for 20 people or host a ceremony for up to 3,000 people in the gymnasium. For more information, visit the SRC website.

  • UCR Extension Center (UNEX)
    The UCR Extension Center has a variety of conference and meeting rooms and can accommodate groups as large as 500 participants. The center also offers overnight accommodations, catering, and many other customizable services. For more information, visit the UNEX Conferencing Services website.

  • University Theatre
    The 484-seat University Theatre is the largest formal performing arts venue at UCR. It is a fully-equipped theatre with a wide-range of performance and presentation capabilities. This venue is ideal for lectures and ceremonies and includes an outdoor patio that can be used for receptions and gatherings. For more information please contact Jason Dunk at (951) 827-3365.

  • UCR ARTSblock
    The Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts and the California Museum of Photography offer unique spaces for meetings, conferences, performances, film screenings, receptions, and special events. Located in downtown Riverside, the historic sites provide state of the art sound and screening equipment as well as artistic settings that inspire creativity. For more information, visit the ARTSblock website.

  • Palm Desert Center
    The Palm Desert Center provides a full range of meeting and event services to all UC students, faculty, staff, as well as the public. For more information, visit the UCR Palm Desert Center Conference and Events Services website.

4.Review Event Policies, Procedures and Protocol

A goal of the University of California, Riverside is to ensure that all events associated with the university reflect positively on the campus community and meet the highest standards possible. Producing well-run events requires preparation and planning. Below is a link to a list of policies related to planning and sponsoring events on campus. Please check back periodically as some of these policies are currently under review.

List of Event Related Policies

University of California Presidential Policies

UCR Policies and Procedures

Chancellor, Provost and Dignitary Attendance


Facilities and Buildings

Food and Beverage



Gifts and Gratuities

Insurance, Risk Management and Public Safety

Invitations, Printed Materials and Online Communications

Posting on Campus

Smoke/Tobacco-Free Campus

Speech and Advocacy



5.Plan the Event

Following are some of the basic tools and campus resources available to help you plan your event.


An event timeline outlines in chronological order the entire event planning process from the initial planning stages to post event follow-up activities. Sample time line

Campus Service Providers

There are numerous departments across campus that provide specialized services in support of campus events. From Transportation and Parking Services to Conference, Events & Catering Services to Facilities Services to the Risk Management, these campus partners can provide their expertise and guidance to assist you in the event planning process. List of Campus Service Providers

Event Planning Acronyms and Terms

It is important for campus event planners to understand the language and terms that are used in today’s events and meeting industries. Some of the most commonly used terms and their meanings can be found here: Event Planning Acronyms and Terms

Event Marketing and Logistics

From printing materials to securing rentals, catering, parking and security, there are many logistical elements that need to be considered while planning an event. Depending upon the venue you will be using, the venue manager may be able to advise you of While the below list is not comprehensive, answering these basic questions will get you started on the right track.

  • Printed Materials and Promotion
  • Is the Chancellor's attendance requested?
  • Will dignitaries be invited to attend? Prior to extending an invitation to a dignitary, please read the protocol document below which explains the process for inviting and hosting a dignitary visitor.
  • Finding a venue
  • Parking
    • Is parking hosted or guest paid? Valet or self-park? Which parking lots are closest to the venue?
    • Will directional signage be needed?
    • Will pedestrian shuttles or ground transportation be required?
    • If the event will be held on campus, contactEvent Parking Services to make arrangements.
  • Catering
    • Select the catering format – reception, dinner? Will meals be served continental, plated, or buffet?
    • UCR Citrus Grove Catering has the first right of refusal for events held at the Highlander Union Building (HUB), Alumni & Visitor's Center, and the Residence Halls.
    • Sodexo Food Service has the first right of refusal for events at University Extension.
    • Only UCR pre-qualified off-campus caterers may be hired to provide on-campus food service for UCR faculty, staff, and students.
    • Will alcohol be served? If alcohol will be sold or included in the ticket price, an Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) permit will be required. Refer to the campus alcohol policy and alcohol permit process.
    • Are there any special menu needs for guests (kosher, vegetarian, etc.)?
    • Is a food permit required?
    • What date does catering need to confirm the final meal count?
  • Audiovisual / Technical
    • Will audiovisual equipment be needed? (microphone, projector and screen, internet connection, laptop, etc.)
    • Will technical assistance be needed to operate equipment during the event?
  • Staffing and Security
    • Identify staffing needs and a lead coordinator for each component of the event (registration, guest services, coat check, etc.)
    • Will security be needed during the event?
    • Depending upon the size and scale of your event, you may need to conduct a risk assessment prior to the event involving UCPD, Fire Marshal, Environmental Health and Safety, and Risk Management.
    • Review emergency evacuation plans for the venue.
    • Locate emergency exits, fire extinguishers and automated external defibrillator (AED) units.
  • Insurance and Risk Management
    • Events and vendors may be required to provide proof of liability insurance, indemnification agreements and/or waivers of liability before the special event can be approved.
  • Volunteers
    • Will additional staff or volunteers be needed the day of the event? Remember to brief your volunteers and staff prior to the event to ensure everyone understands their role.

6. Manage the Event (Day of Event)

By following the steps to planning a successful event on campus, you should be well prepared. Here are a few tips for the day of your event.

  • Bring the "day of" event binder including work orders, catering orders, contact information for volunteers, staff and vendors, the event program and all invitation/seating lists. Include a day-of timeline listing vendor set-up and strike times. (Link to sample day-of timeline)
  • The event coordinator should available and present while the vendors are setting up to answer any questions that arise.
  • Conduct a briefing and walk through of the event space with volunteers and staff. Identify restrooms, elevators, emergency exits, etc.
  • Brief the volunteers and staff. Depending upon the scope of the event, a separate meeting prior to the event may be required to ensure everyone understands their role.
  • Bring an event supply box.
  • Conduct all sound, video and equipment checks.
  • Do a safety sweep to ensure that exits are not blocked, that traffic flow areas are clear of any tripping hazards, and A-V cords and cables are covered or taped down.
  • Be sure to program the following numbers into your cell phone for events that are held on campus:
    • UCPD (24/7 emergency dispatch): 951-827-5222
    • Physical Plant (24/7 regarding utility or maintenance problems): (951) 827-4214
  • Bring a First Aid kit
  • Be sure to brief staff and volunteers on the locations of emergency exits

7. Conduct Post Event Follow up and Evaluate

  • Schedule a debriefing meeting with all relevant staff.
  • Review your initial event goals. Were they met? If not, why?
  • Was your marketing plan effective in reaching the intended audience?
  • Walk through each component of the event from start to finish.
    • What worked? What didn't work? What could be improved on? What should be incorporated into the event the following year?
    • From your vendor's perspective, what worked? What didn't work?
  • Review all vendor invoices and process in a timely manner.
  • Thank your volunteers, staff, speakers, vendors and campus service providers.
  • If appropriate, survey the guests or audience.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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