Event Policies

Belonging Plan an Event Event Policies

Conference & Event Services Team

Penn Pavilion exterior

Our team members are the primary campus contact for services related to conferences and special events in the Campus Center and across campus. We can assist you in reserving a Campus Center space or coordinate equipment rentals at other campus venues.

Planning an event can be as simple as reserving a room for your meeting or as complicated as planning a multi-day program with several break-out sessions, meals and coffee breaks, providing attendee registration websites, making sure your event is environmentally friendly, and the list goes on. The key to a successful event, no matter the size, is planning.

CES is responsible for scheduling venues across campus including Penn Pavilion, Brodhead Center (WU) meeting spaces, Bryan Center (not theaters) and various outdoor spaces. Additionally, through partnerships we manage the event calendar for the Freeman Center for Jewish Life and the Karsh Alumni and Visitor Center. CES coordinates all incoming requests and changes to the schedule.

Policies

CES hosts hundreds of events on campus each year. These event spaces are primarily intended for University-wide events, Student Organizations and University Departments for events, conferences, banquets and concerts. Each venue varies in size and capabilities; therefore, some are more suited to specific types of programming. On occasion Premier Spaces may be requested for outside use 60 days prior to the event date. These exceptions are rare.

Overall management of this venue policy is upheld by the Senior Director, Conference & Event Services. The unit is charged maintaining equitable and fair allocation of space for all Major Users. As such, the Director or designee may create and enforce normal daily operating procedures that are applied equally to all users. CES will review all requests and mediate any conflicts as needed.

CES will maintain the master calendar for event venues in our scheduling software, allowing for consolidated billing and invoicing of facility fees, labor recharge, registration services, and equipment rental. Some facilities may have additional calendaring needs as outlined in the Priority Reservation Policy section of this document.

CES will communicate necessary information arising from schedule changes to other user groups and support offices as needed, such as Environmental Services, Parking and Transportation, Duke Police Department, Facilities Management, etc.

CES is responsible for ensuring that the reservation and operating policies outlined in this document are uniformly enforced among all user groups. Users may not change schedules or agree to transfer dates among themselves without the involvement and approval of CES.

Space reservations must be made in advance to allow proper lead time set up / strike. Lead times:

  • Premier Spaces – may be requested up to 6 months in advance but not less than 4 weeks prior to event date – reservations cannot be confirmed without knowing full event details include room setup, catering, and technical needs. Details not confirmed prior to 3 weeks in advance may result in cancelled space request.
  • Standard Spaces – may be requested up to 6 months in advance but not less than 2 weeks prior to the event date – reservations cannot be confirmed without knowing full event details include room setup, catering, and technical needs. Details not confirmed prior to 1 week in advance may result in cancelled space request.
  • Meeting Rooms – may be requested as late as 48 hours prior to the event as these rooms do not require any set up. These meeting rooms have fixed conference tables and the user agrees to make use of the space as is.
  • Outdoor Spaces – may be requested up to 6 months in advance but not less than 4 weeks prior to the event date. Outdoor space use is limited to Student Organizations and Duke Departments. Certain spaces may be limited to only Student Organization use. Tent requests must be made no later than 4 week in advance to allow proper scheduling, set up and governmental inspections. Outdoor restrictions such as city noise ordinances must be followed.

Priority reservation and space consideration will be given to the following stakeholders as outlined below. Following the release dates of each process, the calendar will be managed solely by CES. Reservations for other users are typically limited to 6 months in advance. Requests for exception to this limitation will be considered on a case by case basis.

Major Users for Premier and Outdoor Spaces are defined as:

University Departments and Programs Major Users

  • Student Affairs Departments and Centers
  • Duke Alumni Engagement and Development
  • University Ceremonies and Events

Duke Student Organization Major Users

  • Chartered Duke Student Organizations
  • Duke University Union (DUU)

*Note: This listing of Major Users is in no particular order or rank of importance to the process.

UNIVERSITY EVENTS

In addition to the requests made by Major Users, the following University related events are considered as priority usage when processing reservation requests:

  • Convocation
  • Commencement
  • Orientation
  • Family Weekend
  • Board of Trustee Events
  • Alumni Weekend
  • Homecoming
  • Blue Devil Days/BSAI Weekend
  • Weeks of Welcome
  • Last Day of Classes – Spring (LDOC)

Requests for reservations are subject to the policies included on this page. All reservations requests can be made online at Space Finder and are subject to the priority system outlined herein. Fall events will not be confirmed until dates are published for Family Weekend and Homecoming.

Premier Spaces: Penn Pavilion and Freeman Center for Jewish Life

Premier Spaces offer event planners the most flexibility as a “blank canvas” and can be arranged for banquets, receptions, board meeting configuration, fairs and theater/classroom use. Capacity can range from 50 to 600 people depending on use.

  • Priority Scheduling is given to Major Users based on reservations requests and usage needs
  • Primarily intended for University activities such as conferences or special events
  • Reservations for external users can not be confirmed until 60 days prior to the event. Certain black out periods will apply.

Managed Spaces: Flexible meeting spaces under Student Affairs

  • Managed space with a standard set up but with additional notice can be reconfigured with additional charges
  • Most of the standard rooms fit 30 - 45 people
  • Spaces are ideal for information sessions, receptions or conference breakout spaces
  • Reservations for external users can not be confirmed until 60 days prior to the event. Certain black out periods will apply.

Meeting Rooms: Boardroom style meeting spaces or group project areas.

  • These rooms area ideal for boardroom style meetings with less than 20 people
  • Meeting rooms are automatically confirmed upon booking a space

Outdoor Spaces: Quads and Bryan Center Plaza

  • Intended for use by Student Organizations and University Departments
  • Noise ordinances apply
  • Used for gatherings, festivals and concerts
  • The East Duke Lawn/Gazebo can be used as a starting point for 5Ks

Users may on occasion request longer blocks of time, or subsequent advance dates, in a space to set up and breakdown. Time requested must include allowance for production needs including load-in and strike/restore.

Premier Spaces

Departmental Reservations for Premier Space will be charged 50% of expected charges for cancelling less than 30 days in advance of event and 100% of expected charges for cancellations less than 2 weeks prior.

Student Organization Reservations for Premier Spaces will be charged 50% for cancellations less than 21 days in advance of the event. A “no show” will be charged 100% of the expected charges.

Non-University Users are liable for 100% of expected charges for cancellations less than 30 days in advance. Estimated payment for all charges is due 30 days in advance.

Managed Spaces

Departmental and Student Organization Managed Space reservations will be charged 100% of expected charges for cancellations less than 4 days prior.

Departmental and Student Organization Managed Space reservations will be charged 100% of expected charges for cancellations less than 4 days prior.

Non-University Users are liable for 100% of expected charges for cancellations less than 30 days in advance.

Outdoor Spaces

Departmental and Student Organization Outdoor Spaces reservations will be charged 100% of expected charges for cancellations less than 4 days prior. Contracted charges for event equipment (including tents) may be subject to cancellations fees at any point, at the vendor’s discretion.

In accordance with the University’s Severe Weather Policy events will be cancelled when the policy is in effect. CES will work with organizations to reschedule, if mutually agreeable dates can be found. Staffing during times immediately before or just after policies go in effect can hinder operations. CES will be make every effort to host events, but may have to cancel if staffing shortages do not allow for regular operations.

Non-University vendor charges may apply for third party rentals arranged by CES on behalf of clients.

Neither party shall be responsible or liable to the other party for any failure by either party to perform any of its obligations hereunder, if such failure results from circumstances beyond the control of such party, including, without limitation, requisition by any governmental authority or any other government order or regulation, war, strike, major, unforeseen change in the structure of a relevant country’s government, riot, epidemic disease, infectious disease, act of God, civil commotion, fire, flood, drought, earthquake, storm, hurricane, tornado, failure of public utilities or common carriers, or any other circumstances, whether similar to the above causes or not, which are not reasonably under the control of the party claiming suspension of performance (“Force Majeure Event”). In the event of the applicability of this section, the party claiming such applicability shall give prompt notice thereof, including a full description of the circumstances, to the other party. Users will be expected to pay only for services that occurred prior to the Force Majeure Event. The user waives any claims for damages or compensation resulting from the Force Majeure Event. In the event of a Force Majeure Event, University shall be under no obligation to reschedule the Event.

CES can be your point of contact for planning at Duke University. Our experienced team offers multiple services including planning, venue selection, logistics, and event production. We are available for quick tips or for in-depth event planning.

 

AV and Technical Services

Technical Services professional staff can deliver, set-up, and operate the equipment for your event including zoom support and live streaming. Technical Services provides equipment and services across the campus and has extensive inventory includes sound systems from a mic and podium to a concert PA. Audio-visual equipment includes digital portable projectors and sound systems projectors. We also have portable power distribution systems available in many West Campus locations and can arrange for large power portable systems when necessary.

Furniture/Equipment Rental

CES can assist you with your table and chair needs in spaces across campus. Between on-campus inventory and local vendors we can deliver anything from plastic folding chairs, screen flexes, to easels and more.

Catering Services

Visit Duke Catering | Duke Event Services for information on all the options Duke Dining has to offer.

Registration Services

Our team can build a registration site for you to collect event participant information and payments. Please see our Registration Services page for more information.

Decorations and Lighting

Our team of event planners can assist in the coordination of your décor and design suggestions to tables, chairs, and lighting. In décor helium filled balloons are not allowed indoors, taping to windows or walls is prohibited, and open flame is not allowed.

Wi-Fi Access

All guests have access to Duke's Guest Wi-Fi. For instructions on connecting, visit the OIT website.

Parking and Transportation

We can provide guidance on parking and transportation needs. Requests for event parking can be coordinated through our office or directly with parking.

Security

Our team is available to coordinate security services to help control access to your event, assist guests in and out of traffic and any other function to make your event safe and enjoyable.