Event Planning Guide

Important Offices/ Services
Student Activities Office: x4194
- Director Noelle Niznik
- Assistant Director Kaity Werner
- Administrative Assistant Theresa Gallagher
Days-Massolo Center: x4279
- Interim Director Phyllis Breland
- Administrative Assistant Marlo Irizarry
AV Department: x4120
- Coordinator Abbi Tushingham
Bon Appetit Catering: x4985

The four organizations listed below have special budgets that are monitored through the DMC, and serves as the primary contact for all aspects of planning and programming.

  • Voices of Color Lecture Series (VCLS)
  • Black and Latinx Student Union (BLSU)
  • Queer Student Union (Rainbow Alliance)
  • Womxn’s Center

The Student Activities office provides support to all student organizations, and utilizes a detailed process for you to enlist support. Any student organization seeking funding from Student Assembly, must have a representative attend the:

  • Club leadership Training and
  • Contract Training

Responsibility is to be shared among members of your organization:

  • President & Treasurer are designees to sign out cash boxes and credit card
  • Schedule to meet as necessary to organize and follow-up with tasks
  • Maintain connections with your E-board, Faculty/Staff Advisor,  Student Activities Office, or DMC to be sure you’ve covered all your bases
  • Keep your member roster updated and send the updates to dmc@hamilton.edu.
  • Attend a CACC meeting!
    • CACC = Campus Activities Coordinating Committee (connect with representatives from Student Activities, Events Schedulers, Physical Plant, Event Staff, Campus Safety, and Bon Appetit)
    • Identify a representative to attend regular CACC meetings for your organization. Check with Student Activities regarding regular meeting times.

Begin with an idea

Tip: Find a space for your event before publicizing a date and location. Many people plan their event around a specific date, only to find the space they want is unavailable. Be sure to have approved funding before reserving your space; sometimes they go hand in hand - so be prepared to move quickly.

  • What type of event do you want to sponsor?
  • What is the purpose of the event? (Educational, entertainment, socializing)
  • Theme?
  • Who is your audience? Public? Private?
  • What is your audience size?
  • Cost of the event?
  • How will you finance the event? Who will co-sponsor?
  • Have you secured funds?
  • Location? Have you checked 25Live? DMC Calendar? Hamilton Events Calendar?
  • Will you need campus Safety?
  • Will you need catering?
  • Will you need Physical Plant? AV?
  • What is your event timetable? Publicity Plan for maximum attendance?
  • Have you established responsibilities?
  • Complete pre-planning checklist

  • Have you considered everything?
  • Food? Decorations? Posters? Physical Plant Charges? Publicity?
  • Make a list of all your expenses
  • Create a file to track event programming and costs
  • Request appropriate funding as far out as possible, but no later than  10 days prior to the  event
  • View and fill out planning sheet and budget sheet

When you have finished planning your event and have completed the planning form and submitted all requests for funding, make sure DMC or Student Activities staff are informed of all requests.

*Note: DMC space must be reserved through 25Live. Please add the DMC as a co-sponsor for your event so that it will also appear on the DMC Events Calendar also check yes to include in daily email and website.

Develop a promotion plan and theme

  • Organize who will do what
  • Use DMC/OP Media Team
    • Contact DMC Ambassador- Media Relations
    • Develop a media/communications timetable from the time you secure an event until the event occurs
    • Communications & Development x4412
    • Determine the most effective publicity for your event
    • On-campus, off campus, or both?
      • Note: DMC space must be reserved through 25Live. Please add the DMC as a co-sponsor for your event so that it will also appear on the DMC Events Calendar also check yes to include in daily email and website.
    • Develop campus announcement
  • Email
    • Each event has a limit of two mass emails
    • Be sure to read email policies
  • Access to additional listservs; individual groups
  • Table Flyers, Table Tents  & Posters
  • list locations for posters, table tents,
  • Read the guidelines for using the Print Shop
    • Phone: (315) 859-4627
    • Email: printsho@hamilton.edu
  • Develop an announcement for campus
  • Design a theme

Students CANNOT sign contracts under any circumstances. Speakers can be from on-campus or off -campus.

  • Step 1: Research the speaker to ensure they abide by Hamilton College, DMC and your organization mission statements
  • Step 2: Inform DMC or Student Activities about your potential speaker/program
  • Step 3: Utilize the Planning Checklist to develop an overview of your event
  • Step 4: Complete the Event Support/and or Program Request Form and the Step by Step Planning Guide
  • Step 5: Begin contract negotiations with staff support (confirm in writing/email, utilizing negotiation questions)
  • Step 6: See staff to construct an offer letter that outlines the details of the contract, and is generated from your negotiations.
  • Step 7: Get the offer letter signed by the performer or agent; include all the accommodations (travel, food, lodging, special requests) where the payment shall be sent, to whom, and when. This also provides the performer/agent the opportunity to make any changes.
  • Step 8: A contract is then developed for performer/agent signature, W9 is secured, and once a signed contract and W9 are in hand, a check is requested and delivered according to contract specifications. Utilize worksheets as a guide.


  • Students many not under any circumstances, sign a contract
  • Students may contact a performer/artist/speaker to discuss availability, and discuss pricing only. But remember to make notes of your discussion and confirm the discussion through email.
  • The DMC Director is authorized to negotiate pricing, sign off on all offer letters and contracts.

All organization representatives must attend Student Activities Club Leader Training and training on contracts. No exceptions. Failure to attend these trainings will result in no funding.

Contracts are negotiated by the DMC Associate Director, and signed by the DMC Director for the four specified SDC student organizations: BLSU, Queer Student Union (Rainbow Alliance), Womxn’s Center and VCLS.

Payment information

Note: make sure you have the appropriate information.

  • Note addresses/ name of organization or performer
  • W9 Forms; must be completed and submitted in a timely manner to ensure payment
  • If the name of the performer and the name on the W9 are different, please make sure that the check bears the legal name of performer/organization/ agent. Please make sure that the name on the W9 and contract match
  • Please review your paperwork carefully for errors or misinformation. Any unusual or special requests should be highlighted
  • Either the Director of Student Activities or Associate Director of DMC will send you a contact payment and info sheet, with a copy of the contract

Spending & Reimbursements

Note: You may spend out of your budget in several ways. In all purchases, a Tax Exemption form must be used. Some on-line purchases require prior tax exemption approval.

Reimbursements: You or someone from your organization fronts money to purchase goods or services

  • Pro: Fast
  • Con: Must wait for reimbursement
  • Make sure to use Tax Exempt Certificate
  • Notify DMC or Student Activities who will be doing the purchasing

Direct Invoice: You or someone from your organization requests a merchant or vendor to “bill” the college directly using an “invoice”

  • Pro: No fronted money
  • Con: Slow
  • Inform DMC or Student Activities

Credit Card: You or someone from your organization requests a credit card from Student Activities or the DMC; your organization can then make pre-approved, tax exempt purchases with the card

  • Note: only the person authorized to use the card can do so
  • Pro: No fronted money
  • Con: Must be sure save all receipts, and ensure purchases are tax exempt

Cash advance: You or someone from your organization requests a cash advance from Student Activities or the DMC; your organization can then make pre-approved, tax exempt purchases at places that do not accept credit cards

  • Pro: No fronted money
  • Con: Must be sure save all receipts and ensure purchases are tax exempt
  • Must give 48 hours notice for cash advance
  • Pickup Cash Advances on Tuesday & Thursday, no later than 4 p.m.

Cash Box: Each organization under the DMC has a prepared cash box for special events, with its own activity log.

  • Step 1: complete the request for cash advance
  • Step 2: confirm pick up time with DMC director
  • Step 3: complete sign off of cash and cash box received
  • Step 4: return cash box as predetermined
  • Step 5: reconcile the cash box

Note: If returning the p-credit card, cash advance (money left over), or cash box during the weekend or after business hours, return the box to Campus Safety. Cash reconciliation will occur the following business day.

Please notify the DMC or Student Activities offices the individual to expect for spending and reimbursements. Cash advances are done on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. If there is an exception, please contact the director.

Types of Reimbursements

Cash Reimbursements

  • For expenses totaling $25.00 or less
  • Must use the YELLOW envelope found at the Student Activities Office
  • Fill out envelope completely
  • Include ALL Receipts
  • Include Detailed Itemization!
  • MUST bring your Hill Card!
  • Drop off completed envelopes and receipts to Student Activities or DMC
  • All reimbursements must be pre-approved  (none after the fact)

Check Reimbursements

  • For expenses totaling $25.00 or more
  • Only pre-approved reimbursements (none after the fact)
  • Must use the WHITE envelope found at the Student Activities Office
  • Fill out envelope completely
  • Include ALL Receipts
  • Include Detailed Itemization!
  • Must be reviewed by the Student Assembly Treasurer or DMC PRIOR to being fulfilled
  • Drop off completed envelopes and receipts to Student Activities or DMC
  • Due Friday at Noon (mailed out following Friday)

Mileage Rate Reimbursements

  • Current 2017 reimbursement rate for mileage is 0.535 cents per mile (for both personal vehicle and college van, rate changes annually on Jan. 1)
  • To Request Swipe/Card Reader
  • All reader requests are done through Student Activities office
  • If your organization is under DMC oversight, please copy the DMC
  • Note: If a performer will be selling merchandise, it is preferred that the presenter/agent bring their own cash box or credit instrument.

Prize Distribution (to non-profit or outside organization)

  • If raising funds or giving prize to off-campus organization, please include documentation of fundraising agreement (event, percent of proceeds to go to organization) and: What % will  Hamilton keep?
  • Organization name
  • Contact person
  • Purpose of event
  • W9
  • Amount raised
  • Agreement regarding sharing of proceeds

Bon Appetit offers a wide variety of catering

  • Minimum of 72 hours for requests
  • Catering with meal exchange requires student “ID”
  • Phone: (315) 859-4985
  • Email: Catering@hamilton.edu

Outside caterers must have paperwork on file with the Office of Auxiliary Services

  • Proof of liability insurance and NYS Health Department of Certification
  • Check w/ auxiliary services to check if outside Caterer has a file on record

Food Waivers

  • If you’re preparing your own food, you must complete a food waiver (available from Student Activities or Administrative services)
  • Clearly label foods that have common allergens (Eggs, fish, milk, nuts, etc…)

In order to show a film (regardless of whether or not you’re charging admission or limiting the audience) you MUST obtain the rights to the film. Just because you’re showing it on a College campus, it is not considered “educational.” The costs can range from $150-550.

Because of the new “smart” technology, AV is not needed to show films in classrooms or auditorium.

  • For more info on Public Performance Licensing, please visit: http://www.hamilton.edu/lits/rc/audiovisual-services-public-performance-licensing
  • Public Performance Licensing for sponsored events are paid through Student Activities or DMC.  Search Swank first. If they have the movie, email the Director of Student Activities or DMC Associate Director with the title, and they will handle getting the quote. If it is not distributed by Swank, you will need to obtain a quote yourself and send it to Student Activities or DMC to obtain funds.
  • Viewing Netflix films as a publicly-advertised screening is not permitted.
  • You do not need a Public Performance Licensing for a private showing.
  • For questions regarding this process, please contact AV coordinator.

Communicate as soon as event is confirmed! No last minute requests for support or equipment!

To Schedule Audiovisual Service, request AV while making your reservation through the 25Live Events Calendar

  • Select “AV request for support,” and enter the details of needs in “Event Comments” Box.
  • To request equipment loans (where Events Calendar is not appropriate), contact AV department!

If a speaker would like to sell books during their visit and/or do a book signing, contact the Manager of the Hamilton Bookstore at 315-859-4242 or hambooks@hamilton.edu

Be sure to include all important info regarding the speaker in your correspondence with the Bookstore Manager (including: date of visit, location, time, name of speaker and their book, etc.)

The organization(s) who hosted the event is responsible for properly cleaning up the venue. Improper cleanup may result in being charged a cleaning fee.


Office / Department Name

Days-Massolo Center

Contact Name

Koboul E. Mansour, Ph.D

Director of the Days-Massolo Center

Office Location
Days-Massolo Center

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