View the Fall 2020 RSO Guidelines as a PDF (last updated September 22, 2020)
Why Engagement Matters
- Research shows that engagement is important to the overall success and retention of students
- Engaging in student organizations is one way to find that community and belonging. Involved student enrich their learning in deeper ways, are offered opportunities to practice the information and skills they are learning in the classroom, find community, have more opportunities for individual growth and identity development, and begin to build relationships and social capital.
The University of Maryland is concerned for the health and safety of the entire University community, and continues to be in compliance with guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as those from state and local agencies. Even when these guidelines allow for events or gatherings, great care must be taken to limit and prevent the community transmission of COVID-19. Faculty, staff, and student wellness and safety are a priority, and student organizations are key partners in the endeavor to keep our community healthy and safe. The nature of the disease is such that actions taken by an individual affect not only the well-being of that individual, but the well-being of every person with whom that invididual has interacted with on our shared campus.
Student organizations have an important role to play in providing opportunities for students to connect and deepen friendships, deepen engagement with the University, as well as to engage in experiential learning. For these reasons, the Student Organization Resource Center (SORC) has put in place the following guidelines for student organizations to help keep our community safe and reduce the opportunities for transmission of COVID-19.
SORC may modify these expectations at any time and will provide notice in the event such modifications are made. Student organizations must keep aprised of changes to the expectations, and abide by them.
Even when State and County guidance allow for events or gatherings, great care must be taken to limit and prevent the community transmission of COVID-19 within our community. With a focus on reducing the density of the campus population for fall semester, in-person events and gatherings must be limited. Student organizations are strongly encouraged to priortitize alternatives to in-person gatherings.
The following are guidelines outlined by the Student Organization Resource Center and the University of Maryland, based on guidance from the University, University System of Maryland, State, Prince George's County, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
- All student organization meetings for the fall semester should be conducted virtually.
- All student organization events for the first 21 days of the semester must be virtual (August 31-September 20, 2020)
- Until further notice, virtually programming and activities should be the first option before considering in-person events and gatherings.
- After September 20, 2020, student organizations considering planning an event or program should consider:
- Can this program be offered virtually or should it be offered in person?
- Is the delivery of this program/content so significantly improved by being delivered in-person that we must manage this as an in-person offering?
New Requirements - TerpLink Event Approval Process
Meetings vs. Events
To help student organizations differentiate between a meeting and an event, for purposes of these guidelines, please use the following definitions:
A meeting is a gathering of organization members with the goal of addressing matters related to the business of the organization, typically occurring on some on-going and predictable schedule, e.g. weekly or monthly basis, and generally does not require additional support beyond a physical space (if in person) and/or technical support (if virtual).
An event is an activity that an organization sponsors that could serve a variety of purposes, e.g. entertainment, educational, celebratory, as it pertains to an audience, usually occurs as a special occasion and not on an on-going basis, and may require additional services or support, e.g. consultation with the Office of Risk Management, Office of Facilities Management, ticketing services, etc.
Event Approval Process
COVID-19 Safety Training
- STAMP staff will craft and execute training for registered student organization officers and advisors to provide them information about risk management, expectations for maintaining public health, and ways to enlarge impact using new technologies.
- Student organizations will be ineligible to organize events until the training is completed.
Attendance Tracking and Contact Tracing
- Student organizations must track attendance at all in-person or hybrid events and activities, and are encouraged to do so for all virtual meetings, events, or activities
- Student organizations are encouraged to track attendance through TerpLink
Virtual Meetings, Events, Activities
Virtual programming and activities should be the first option before considering in-person events and gatherings.
Student organizations are expected to create virtual programming as alternatives to in-person events, meetings and programs.
Technology to Support Virtual Meetings, Events, and Activities
- Student organizations can receive support from the Student Organization Resource Center (SORC) to brainstorm ways to conduct organizational business and activities online as a way to connect students.
- Student organizations can receive support from STAMP IT on the best technology to use for activities online as a way to connect students.
On-Campus In-Person Events (indoors and outdoors)
Size/Capacity/Large Events Gatherings
- APPROVAL REQUIRED: Subject to allowances of the State of Maryland and Prince George’s County:
- The Vice President of Student Affairs or designee review for any event or gathering to exceed 25 persons. Approval for student organization events will be managed through the TerpLink event registration process.
- Maximum group size is currently 50 persons, in accordance with Prince George’s County Health Department Prince George's County Health Department Guidance
- Existing program and facility policies remain in effect unless otherwise affected by this guidance.
- Events and gatherings will generally be closed to the public (defined as those who are not UMD College Park students, faculty, and staff). For an event to be open to the public, approval from The Vice President of Student Affairs or designee is required.
Health and Safety
- All events and gatherings will adhere to UMD Health and Safety Standards per Guidance for VPs for Increased On-Campus Operations.
- All events and gatherings will adhere to the standard of 6-foot physical distancing.
- Facility managers and identified building safety officers will determine specific space occupancy, in accordance with current State and County regulations and in consultation with the Office of the Fire Marshal.
- All participants, staff, and performers, if permitted, will be required to wear a mask.
- Student organizations hosting in-person events should have a supply of disposable face coverings to distribute to participants without one at the controlled entrance to the event. Participants who refuse will not be allowed to attend the event.
- Student organizations hosting both outdoor and indoor gatherings and events must make available alcohol-based sanitizers. Costs associated with the event will be borne by the student organization.
- Student organizations hosting in-person events must track attendance at their events by recording name and email or name and UID of each attendee for contact tracing purposes. Student organizations are asked to keep that information for at least one month after the event.
- Student organization leaders are encouraged to consider this event risk assessment planning matrix when planning events.
Location of In-Person Meetings and Events
- General Purpose Classrooms will not be available for reservations by student organizations.
- Faculty/staff advisors should not make reservations in general purpose classrooms on behalf of their student organizations. Reservations made by a UMD staff or faculty member, regardless if an advisor is doing so on behalf of a student organization, are considered a departmental event and no longer a student organization event, and may require different guidance.
- It is the responsibility of student organizations to monitor attendance at their event to ensure the number of attendees does not exceed permitted maximum occupancy and required physical distancing is maintained. It is recommended that student organizations hosting in-person events appoint someone who’s sole responsibility is to monitor attendance and help manage the crowd.
- Facility managers (staff who manage the space) must designate separate entrances and exits when feasible. Student organizations hosting events must ensure participant compliance. Whenever possible there should be a single entrance and a single exit. All exits must be available for emergency use and must be indicated with signage approved by the Office of the Fire Marshal.
- Lines to enter an event must comply with six-foot physical distancing (or current guidance) and be marked accordingly on the ground.
- Facility managers will hold the student organization accountable for compliance and will work with student organizations to comply with guidelines. Facility managers are authorized to close an event when procedures are not followed.
- There must be at least one student organization member at each entrance and exit to an event to control flow of participants and ensure adherence to safety protocols.
- All student organization members must wear face coverings.
- Student organizations are responsible for providing appropriate supplies for all student organization members and/or volunteers working the event, such as hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash baskets, disposable face coverings, and cleaners and disinfectants.
- Student organizations should be prepared for absences. This may require scheduling additional staff/volunteers.
- Student organizations are not allowed to distribute or sell food (e.g. bake sales, selling franchise food items, etc.)
- Food service will be limited in events to reduce risk to public health. Food may be secured from Food Court Venues and/or Dining Services and should be provided in boxed and/or a packaged format to reduce risk of exposure.
- Outside caterers are not permitted.
- Student organizations’ fundraisers distributing food are not permitted (e.g. bake sales, selling franchise food items)
- Fundraisers should leverage electronic money exchange (e.g. Venmo) instead of collecting physical currency
- All contractors, vendors, service providers (together, “Contractors”), Contractor personnel, subcontractors, and subcontractor personnel working on the University of Maryland College Park (“UMD”) campus and in UMD off-campus buildings and other facilities (together, “Campus”) are expected to comply with the requirements contained in this document during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Per CDC guidelines, if there are prepaid sales for the event (e.g. advanced ticketing), student organizations should develop clear refund guidelines and ensure that it is understood when payment is made.
- All ticket sales or registrations must be in advance. No ticket sales or registrations will be conducted on the site of the event or gathering.
- Where possible, events that could benefit from ticketing will use University Ticketing to allow for communication with guests prior to the event, support of contact tracing, and to insure capacity. The expense of ticketing will be borne by the group.
- No off-campus events or programs are permitted. Per the recent university notification indicating that spring guidelines around travel continue to be in place, no university funds can be used for travel. This also best ensures that safe event practices are in place at only venues where university recommendations can be consistently enforced.
- This includes fundraisers at food venues that are off-campus.
Giveaways/Flyering/Distribution of Items
- Student organizations are strongly discouraged from distributing print materials and/or physical items to reduce spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Campus Advertising and Chalking Policies
- Every fall semester, a new set of student leaders tries to market their programs and organizations in unique ways. We wanted to reinforce the need to follow a few prescriptive guidelines as you reach out to the campus. Please review the complete advertising policy.