Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Connected

The University Life Calendar of Events is the central events calendar, which can be customized to show only those types of events of interest to you. This Arts and Culture site highlights local cultural events. Student organizations advertise events in the Daily Pennsylvanian (and in 34th Street on Thursdays), on Facebook, on e-mail lists and around campus on bulletin boards and kiosks. Like the SPEC  Face Book page to be notified of upcoming movies and other special events.

SPEC Film frequently sponsors sneak previews of upcoming first-run films. Watch for Facebook postings or sign up on the SPEC listserv for e-mail announcements. Tickets are distributed in OSA or online.

For staff advice, come to the OSA and ask to speak to Katie, or Rodney. They’ll help with suggestions, and can also recommend upperclass students who have a wide familiarity with campus life and are great sources of peer advice.

Yes, you can join (or audition for, if applicable) most Penn organizations, and many have graduate/professional, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. SAC organizations require that all officers be undergrads, but membership is open. Just contact the group on PennClubs and express your interest.

The Nominations and Elections Committee describes the six branches of the undergraduate government and the ways to join in their intro for new students, but the information is useful for all students. At the beginning of the year there is a Student Government Information Session. Graduate and professional students should contact GAPSA or their individual school governments to express interest.

All registered organizations are included in the PennClubs database. Most groups prefer e-mail contact. You can also find contact information, event dates and times, and useful descriptions on individual group websites.

We have several positions, primarily for front-desk and phone answering support. Contact Rodney Robinson if you’re interested.

Getting Organized

First step, you should do some research. Registered student groups are listed in the PennClubs database. Search the database to find out if there is already an existing group with an identical or very similar mission to the one you wish to start on campus.

Second step, contact the Office of Student Affairs to check if a group with a similar mission exist but may not be currently registered. With over 700 active clubs on campus each year, you want to ensure a similar group does not already exist.

Once you are confident you are starting a unique group, you can register the new organization in PennClubs.

Registration is a requirement for every group that uses University space and resources, including Dolphin web and Zimbra email accountsmeeting roomsbanners on Locust Walk, etc. Only undergraduate groups may be SAC-recognized, a prerequisite for funding from the undergraduate student government. See the Introduction to SAC for more information on procedures. In addition to funding, SAC member groups are eligible to vote on other groups’ status and allocations and can participate in decisions affecting campus-wide activities policies. Note that with the exception of greek-letter fraternities and sororities, the University itself does not “recognize” any student groups.

Registered groups are included in PennClubs where potential new members can find them easily. Registration is a requirement for reserving rooms, for Dolphin accounts, and for the use of Locust Walk tables and banners.

You must first apply for SAC recognition. Once you are recognized, you must wait three months before you can apply for funding.

OSA staff members have advised a lot of groups over time and can usually offer useful suggestions. Please feel free to stop by or email Katie Hanlon and/or Rodney Robinson. For peer resources, students who have attended leadership training programs find that the same problems occur in very different organizations; those leaders are often available to share their own experience and approaches. Or apply to attend a program yourself for a fresh perspective.

Dolphin accounts provide space for student organization websites. If you have an account but don’t know anything about HTML or how to create a site, there are lots of web-based tutorials. One good beginner tutorial is here.

The University Life Space and Events Management team handles reservations for most rooms and outdoor spaces on campus. You’ll find a list of available facilities on their site. Any registered organization may reserve rooms without rental charge, but additional services will incur costs. Groups who are not SAC- or GAPSA-funded do not have budget codes and must provide a credit card number even if there are no additional charges.

Some SAC and GAPSA organization treasurers can get a University Student Programming Card (SPCard). Come to the OSA and speak to your group’s Financial Advisor who will explain the system and help you with the application. Also, Financial Advisors have Procurement Cards on which they can charge some of your group’s expenses. See the Financial Services Guide for more information.

Registered groups may reserve one of five card tables in the OSA. Tables can be reserved online. Only Penn organizations may have tables, though non-Penn groups may hand out literature on the Walk.

Instructions are here. Note the $25 cash deposit.

You can find the policy here . Note the $1 per poster fine for illegal posting.

SAC- and GAPSA-funded organizations have 26-digit budget codes for internal University charges. However, the OSA staff does not give out those codes. If you are making arrangements with a University department for a service, e.g., University Life Space and Events Management room reservations, ask the other department to contact your Financial Advisor in the OSA.

SPEC Sound provides equipment and staffing support for many student events.

Music broadcasted through speakers or live musicians may not be played on Locust Walk between the hours of 8am-5pm, except during the 10-minute intervals between class periods and during the 12pm-1pm lunchtime hour.  At all times music, singing, chanting and other noise must be kept to a reasonable level for classes in session and faculty members working in their offices.

First make sure College Green is available; you have to reserve it just like any other space. The Perelman Quad event planning staff will review the sound guidelines, security and equipment needs with you. You should also read the Guidelines on Open Expression to understand your responsibilities as sponsor of the event.

Student organizations often look to external resources to provide funding to support their activities.  The following guidance on Corporate Sponsorship is intended to help students determine when it is appropriate to accept funds from corporations. When in doubt, consult with your Financial Advisor.

Groups may accept Corporate Sponsorship when the business is a) providing a good that will be used as part of an activity hosted by the group (ex. A beverage that is distributed at an event hosted by the group), b) paying directly for advertising space as part of an event (ex. Securing ad space is a program), and c) paying for a specific expense related to a mission-based activity of the group (ex. Paying for the food being provided for a conference).  

Groups may not accept corporate sponsorship if the payment (including goods and services) is linked to an advertising request the company is asking the group to make.  This could include but is not limited to, providing a one-time payment for a group to advertise a product/business on social media and providing discounts to a student group if they direct business to their account (ex. Pushing rideshare discounts). 

Other Questions

See The Penn Yearbook website. Contact pennrecordyearbook@gmail.com for additional questions.

The Social Planning and Events Committee is the campus-wide programming board, but they generally bring well-known bands. Many other groups have parties and coffeehouses with local or up-and-coming bands. Check with fraternity and sorority chapters for their needs.

Only if you are a not-for-profit Penn student organization with a University account into which you deposit the money. You’ll need a vendor permit from the OSA to sell. No individuals or groups may use Locust Walk to make a personal or commercial profit.