View the RSO Guidelines in a PDF (last updated June 14, 2021)
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).
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
Student organizations may create virtual programming as alternatives or as a complement 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
- Existing program and facility policies remain in effect unless otherwise affected by this guidance.
- 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.
- 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 4Maryland Health and Safety.
- Student organizations may consider incorporating at least 6 feet distance from others.
- All participants, staff, and performers should follow UMD’s Health and Safety information regarding requirements for wearing a mask.
- Student organizations hosting in-person events may consider having a supply of disposable face coverings to distribute to participants who need oneat the controlled entrance to the event.
- Student organizations hosting both outdoor and indoor gatherings and events may consider making alcohol-based sanitizers available.. Costs associated with the event will be borne by the student organization.
- Student organizations hosting in-person events must continue to 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 be available for reservations by student organizations beginning mid- to late-August for fall semester and early to mid January for spring semester. Access to classrooms is very limited to specific buildings and rooms. The average room seating capacity is 35.
- 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. 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 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.
- 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.
- 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, except for culturally based organizations that have an approved Catering Waiver.
- 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.
- All ticketed events occurring in STAMP must use the services offered through the STAMP Ticket Office.
- 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 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.