Web Content Display Web Content Display

Quick Links

Last Updated: 02/28/2018
Click on the Icon
 Report an Incident
 Foreign Travel Insurance Program Enrollment 
 University Authorized Driver Enrollment
 Academic Field Trip / Off Campus Activity Notification 
 MSDS Online Look-up
 Emergency Response Guide
 General Workplace EHS Assessment Request
 Ergonomic Evaluation Assessment Request
 Have a Suggestion
 Report a Safety Concern
 Cal Maritime EHS Training Library


Web Content Display Web Content Display

Special Events Resource Guidelines

Last update 03/20/2019

Special Events, and Campus Events in general, are a core function of the CSU and the Auxiliary organizations. Special Events engage the students, faculty, staff, alumni, visitors and surrounding communities in programs augmenting the traditional academic programs of the university. The CSU and its campuses serve their many communities as educational, public service, cultural, and artistic centers enriching through experience, culture, knowledge and learning  throughout California.

Web Content Display Web Content Display

For the purposes of this resource guide, in the broadest sense, an event is something other than a routine activity. Colleges and Universities may have considered their routine activities to range from matriculation, to education  including laboratory and field experience), through graduation. However, modern mission statements for higher education institutions contain a much broader range of relationships with students, parents, community, donors, advisors and others.
  • To advance and extend knowledge, learning and culture throughout the community, region and state;
  • To provide opportunities for individuals to develop intellectually, personally and professionally; and
  • To provide public services which enrich the university and engage its communities educationally, culturally and artistically.
Campus Events provide opportunities to:
  • Expand campus influence and programs beyond the traditional academic roles of faculty and students;
  • Provide co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for students, faculty, staff,
  • alumni, donors and prospective students, employees, and sponsors;
  • Engage the surrounding community with the campus community;
  • Enhance diverse campus and community cultures;
  • Become an effective and user-friendly place for all types of learning;
  • Add depth and variety to the campus dialogue and experience;
  • Serve the community as a center for celebrations and non-traditional academic activities;
  • Demonstrate good practices in event management including safety and sustainability;
  • Efficiently utilize State and donor funded campus facilities beyond traditional instruction and research activities;
  • Utilize campus service capacities and equipment to enhance the campus and community experience;
  • Enhance operating revenues for deferred maintenance and renovations of campus facilities; and
  • Create continuity of employment for faculty, staff and students.

In addition to the opportunities to contribute to both curricular and co-curricular educational and social opportunities for the campus and regional communities, hosting events provides opportunities for additional revenue and/or fair  exchange of value for the campus. Reimbursement of the use of campus facilities (construction, maintenance and renovation) and services (salaries & training, equipment: purchase, maintenance and replacement/upgrade) and hosting events on campus can provide a source of revenue for otherwise unfunded campus program and project priorities.

Events may have a wide variety of desired outcomes and equally diverse elements to support and achieve those outcomes through the event:
Ritual, Performance, Presentation, Tradition, Business, Social, Religious, Political, Education, Installation, Graduation, Orientation, Institute, Convocation, Recruitment, Fund Raising, Opening, Closing, Joining, Festival, Transition, Commercial, Athletic, Hospitality.
Those purposes may involve some or all of the following elements:
Students, faculty, staff, parents, families, community members, members of organizations, VIPs, dignitaries, entertainers, performers, young and old, different cultures, disabled/challenged (physically, mentally, socially), foreign languages (speaking and/or reading), and hearing; many people or few people, and participant mixtures of all these elements.
Facilities & Locations
On and off campus, theatres, halls, classrooms, lounges, residences, laboratories, arenas, stadiums, smart classrooms, dance studios, fields, and many other campus specific facilities.
Campus and rental: seating, lighting, sound, display, fireworks, bathrooms, temporary facilities, trash receptacles, stages, walkways, tables, fencing, cameras, emergency alarms, communications, audio visual, pipe and drape, and a wide variety of campus specific equipment and resources.
Campus and Contract: ushers, security, food, beverage, translators, observers, hospitality, emergency medical, lost and found, audio visual, hosts, custodial, maintenance, and other services as a campus may have developed.
Conservation, recycling, zero waste, cashiering, accounting, registration and additional processes and services for the campus.
Myriad of "Things"
Permits, licenses, contracts, insurance, tickets, receipts, reservations, ledgers, invoices, publicity, web sites, volunteers, social media, signage and other details as have been developed for campus operations.
Moment, hour, day, week and longer periods; recurring.
Campus, community, region, state, participants, staff, organizers, donors, and sponsors.
Various combinations of all these may be for as small as an afternoon meeting and reception for a University President's Advisory Board, or as large as a major playoff between nationally prominent athletic teams, a multi-day University Orientation week or an outdoor community concert.
1. EVENT GOALS REALIZED, objectives reached
2. NO HARM DONE to persons, property, campus, community
Campus events share these goals for success as they directly support a core function of the university and the reputation of the campus in the immediate and extended community for quality, safety, stewardship and reliability.

What makes an event "special"?

Purpose, Performer, Participants, Activities, Equipment, Location, Date, Day, Time, Sponsor,Funding.
Through collaboration with the focus groups for the Special Events Resource Guide we have identified five key elements of campus "special" events:

First or One Time Event and/or

Insufficient planning, staffing, experience – lack of previous history to review

Uncommon/Unusual Event Activities and/or

  1. 1. SPECIAL RISKS - New, Complex, Hazardous, Extreme, requiring the gathering of multiple details, large numbers of people, multi-day events
  2. 2. Events Involving External Participants and/or
  3. External (to the campus community) Participants – GUESTS - unfamiliar with campus, more people on campus than "usual", for longer periods, increased activity
  4. 3. External Entity Events and/or
  5. External Entity (including Private Party) Events (aka Tennant-User) –CONTRACTS with entities, standards, controls, third party service providers (profits, nonprofit, public, private, religious, social – GUESTS)
  6. 4. Events Requiring Resources Beyond Campus
  7. CONTRACTS for services & facilities, including off campus events for the campus
Managing the risks of Special Events is essential to the achievement of the goals for Special Events. A good practice for managing special events risk is to identify and commit to goals for special events. Here are four goals for special events.
Maximize Gain
  • Mission of the University
  • Campus event goals
  • Specific event objectives
Mitigate Loss
  • "Do No Harm"
  • Prevent and/or reduce risk and loss
  • Minimize impact of loss
Cost Benefit Balance
  • Efficient use of resources
  • Cost Benefit Balance Neutral
Avoid Cancellation/Disruption/Interruption
  • Pre-Event
  • During Event
  • Post-Event
  • Campus and/or community
What is Special Event "Risk"?
Risk – The unknown potential for gaining or losing value.
In developing and producing a Special Event there are many unknowns before the event. In managing event risk, our primary concerns are: Will the event produce a gain in value for the participants, the campus and the community and/or will the event produce a loss in value?
Gaining Value:
  • Persons – Educational, social and/or physical enrichment for participants
  • Property – Use of available campus facilities for the benefit of campus and community
  • Program – Successful event conducted without interruption, cancellation, and/or negative impact on campus programs and community
  • Opportunity – For enrichment and engagement of students, faculty, staff, & community
  • Liability – Event compliance with regulations and law, without claims of negligence
  • Finance – Efficient use of resources, event self-funding
  • Reputation – Positive experience for participants and community, increased value of campus "brand", increased public trust of campus
Losing Value:
  • Persons – Injury, death - loss of contribution to campus & community
  • Property – Damage, destruction – temporary or permanent loss of use of campus facilities, equipment, and property
  • Program – Cancellation/disruption/interruption - failure to achieve objectives of the event and/or other campus programs
  • Opportunity – Loss of potential gain from not doing the event, failure to achieve event objectives
  • Liability – Regulatory citations; civil and/or criminal litigation; judgements, medical expenses, penalties, fines, injunctions
  • Finance – Campus resources reduced to pay fines, penalties, judgements, repairs, replacements, additional unanticipated expenses
  • Reputation – Violation of public trust, damage to campus "brand", loss of value

Our focus for the management of campus Special Events risks is primarily on the risk and potential loss. By mitigating both the potential for loss and the results of loss, we decrease their impact on the goals and specific objectives of the special event. We manage the risk of Special Events to maximize the opportunities for gain in value from Special Events and to minimize loss in value for students, faculty, staff, alumni, visitors, the community, the campus and the State of California.

DESCRIBE the activity - The critical first step in the Event Risk Management Cycle is to thoroughly describe and understand the Special Event: activities, animals, clean up, environment, equipment, facilities, guests, host, objectives, participants, reservations, services, set up, staff, vehicles, etc. Remove the "unknowns" that can become "surprises" before, during and after the event. A good practice is to utilize a flexible Event Application and/or campus Scheduling process to gather information from the event host, such as: event name, facility(ies), date(s) and time(s), host details, attendance, activities, services, equipment, etc.
As the description of the Special Event is developed, from the application, scheduling request and contact with the host, there will likely be many more specifics of the event identified. A collaborative process engaging campus and offcampus resources along with the event host can be especially productive in identifying what resources are needed for the event and how the event may impact the campus and community and how the event may be modified to achieve the special event goals and objectives.
A campus using a Campus Event Management System (CEMS) could utilize the Plans function to work with the event host to develop an Event Action Plan (EAP), involving appropriate campus facilities and services representatives to identify pre,post and during the event details and support. Critical to this process would be campus scheduling to identify the availability of facilities and services as well as the impacts and modifications necessary for the event and/or regular campus operations. Depending on the size and duration of the event, communication and coordination with the surrounding community may be appropriate.
IDENTIFY the potentials for benefits and losses – How could a loss occur from the specific activities of the event and/or the event overall? What can you predict and what has occurred in the past? Risk Identification depends on the thorough understanding of the activities of the special event. Potential questions to ask, such as those included below, are focused upon certain event planning details and responses may elicit information important to understanding the risks involved with the event.
CSU Insurance Requirements (Technical Letter RM 2012-01) provides for a ". . . Risk Identification and Evaluation Procedure for Special Events, facilities rental or other large-scale activities with special circumstance . . ."
The Identification and Evaluation Procedure should include the following questions and answers:
1. How many attendees?
2. Will alcohol be served?
3. What activities will take place?
4. Who could be harmed?
5. What property could be damaged and how severely?
6. What is the maximum likely loss for each activity?
7. Is there a possible pollution exposure?
8. Are crowds or bystanders/passersby likely to be involved?
9. Will inherently dangerous activities be involved?
10. How likely is it that the University will be a defendant in the event of a loss?
11. What is the duration of the contract?
12. What is the amount of the contract?
13. Is this a recurring (annual) special event? If "yes" what is the safety/loss history of the event?"
Depending upon the described activities, environment, participants and resources of the event, additional questions may be appropriate in order to identify potential risks, for example:
1. Are minors or other protected populations involved?
2. Is transportation involved?
3. What campus or community programs could be impacted?
4. Where has this or event similar been done before?
5. Are off campus facilities and/or contract services involved?
6. Who are the expected participants?
7. What advertising of the event is planned?
8. Is admission being charged?
9. Has a budget for the event been established?
10. Has another campus experienced this event or similar?
To understand fully and manage the risks, you must know and plan for all event activities. These may range from set-up to clean-up, what needs to be done, how is it going to be done, when is it to be done, where it is going to be done, who is going to do it and who is coming to the event.
EVALUATE the potential risk and losses – What is the likelihood of a loss occurring related to the Special Event and what are the consequences of such a loss?
A Risk Analysis Matrix can assist in evaluating an identified risk of loss by assigning both a likelihood and consequence value. The combined Likelihood and Consequence is referred to as a Risk Rating. (Goes in the "Evaluate" column on the Risk Register.)
DEVELOP the Risk Management Techniques to mitigate losses – How can we modify a risk to control or finance a loss?
Risk Management Techniques are usually identified as either Risk Control or Risk Financing and are applied either pre-loss or post-loss.
Risk Control – To control a risk so that the loss does not occur or reduce the loss if it does occur.
  • Avoid – Don't do the activity that can result in loss
  • Prevent – Control the risk to prevent loss
  • Reduce – Control the risk to reduce loss
  • Response – Prevent a loss from becoming worse
  • Recovery – Protect undamaged, repairable property

Risk Financing – To transfer the financial consequences of loss to another party and/or pay for the loss from resources


  • Transfer a risk by agreement or contract
  • Transfer a loss by agreement or contract
  • Pay for a loss
  • Finance a loss

It is a good practice to develop at least one technique for risk control and one technique for risk financing for each identified risk. Example: Slip and fall on the stairs of the stadium is identified as a risk, the loss being the injury and possible medical expenses.

  • Risk Control – Pre-Loss – Prevent and Reduce: Hand rails along the stairs. Custodial service during the event to clear the stairs of any paper, cups, other items upon which a person could slip.
  • Risk Control – Post-Loss – Response and Recovery: Event Ushers and/or Security personnel trained in First Aid, CPR, AED, and equipped with communication to Event Management can respond, support and protect the injured plus summon medical aid as necessary. Staff may also gather personal property dropped and protect them from further damage or loss.
  • Risk Financing – Pre-Loss – Transfer a Loss by contract: Campus has arranged for a general liability insurance program to reimburse the campus or an injured party for medical expenses related to a campus event.

RESIDUAL risk, given the techniques to be applied, is there a remaining risk of loss? Is the residual risk acceptable for each risk and as combined for the risks identified for the entire event? In the example above, it appears that our Risk Control techniques may effectively prevent and or reduce the risk of a fall, respond to a fall and injury by preventing the injury from getting worse and protecting the personal property which could be damaged or lost.

IMPLEMENT the Risk Management Techniques – Who will implement the developed risk management techniques? Accountability for implementation is critical for effectiveness of risk management techniques. Barriers must be obtained and placed per plan, staff must be trained and supervised for event services, contractors must sign contracts and provide proof of insurance, event insurance must be purchased, etc.

REVIEW the effectiveness of the risk management – Were losses mitigated by the risk management techniques implemented?

The following is provided as a basic review of concepts of insurance as it may be applied to campus Special Events, an overview of CSU and Auxiliary guidelines for insurance and specific types of insurance. Specific CSU insurance requirements in contracts are detailed in CSU Technical Letter RM 2012‐01: California State University Insurance Requirements.
  • A cautionary word – Insurance may provide payments for specific losses under specific conditions which are detailed in the insurance policy. Insurance is a complex, technical and legal contract. Your campus risk manager, contracts and procurement officer and legal counsel each have expertise that can assist you in understanding, obtaining and/or accessing insurance related to events.
Insurance is important for campus events in order to pay for losses (injuries or damages) that occur and are the responsibility of the campus and/or off campus facility owners, equipment, material and service providers.
  • Insurance is a contract between an Insured and an Insurance Company (Insurer).The Insured pays a fee (premium) in exchange for the Insurance Company paying for certain losses of the Insured under the conditions of the insurance contract. (Insurance contracts are often referred to as Policies).
  • Non-campus persons, businesses and other entities who provide equipment, materials and services for campus events, in nearly all cases, must have insurance for their activities and products for campus events.
  • If/When a person is injured or property is damaged by non-campus persons, businesses and other entities who provide equipment, materials and services for campus events, their insurance may be available to pay for the loss.
  • If non-campus persons, businesses and other entities who provide equipment, materials and services for campus events do not have insurance, the campus may have to pay for the loss(es) resulting from the activities of these "contractors" reducing the campus financial resources for academic and support programs.
  • Critically important – insurance is only effective if the insurance company has the management policies and procedures, and the financial resources to actually pay for losses on the Insured's behalf. Insurance companies are evaluated and ratings published and updated by several established companies.
Special Event Liability Insurance for Non‐Campus Events
When a person, business, or non-campus entity contracts to use campus facilities for an event (for example: wedding, meeting, conference) it is a good practice to require proof of the three, usual event related insurances and additional insured endorsements as noted above. There may be instances in which the "renter" Non‐Tenant User does not have General Liability insurance, as an individual, as a business or as a non-campus entity. The campus has access to a special event liability program that may provide general liability insurance for the Non‐Tenant User and the campus depending on the proposed activities of the Non‐Tenant User on the campus.
This special event liability insurance program provides:
General Liability - $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 total per year as is required in the CSU insurance guidelines for use of campus facilities and property.
However, if the risk warrants, a campus has the discretion to request/require greater general liability limits.
A Non‐Tenant User may also choose to purchase special event liability insurance in order to have event specific insurance coverage rather than rely only on their existing insurance. In this way, the special event insurance protects their existing insurance from losses and their event takes responsibility for losses related to their event. 
Insurance Limits for Three Event Related Insurances
  • General Liability - $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 total per year
  • Automobile Liability - $1,000,000 per accident with no annual limit
  • Workers' Compensation Liability – Limits as required by California Law
Regarding General Liability insurance limits, the total limit is for all activities of that person, business, or non-campus entity for an entire policy period, usually a year. If there is a loss at some other event that the insurance applies to, there could be less than the total limit available to be applied to subsequent losses. Many public entities, such as cities and counties, are requiring higher limits of $2,000,000 per occurrence and $4,000,000 total per year so that there may be insurance funds available for losses for their events. A special event policy written for a single event may have a dedicated limit for that event rather than an annual policy limit.
Non-Campus Facilities
  • *If the campus needs to rent facilities that belong to a non-campus entity (city, county, company, private property owner), the campus may need to show proof of insurance which covers damage to property and injuries to persons which may occur related to the event at the rented property.
Non-Campus (Tenant) Users of Campus Facilities
  • When the campus licenses or rents the use of a campus facility to a noncampus entity for the entity's event, it is good practice for the campus to require both proof of insurance and additional insured endorsements as appropriate. As an alternative, campuses have access to a special event liability insurance program which can provide insurance for non-campus entities for their events on campus.
The non-campus entity is referred to as a "Tennant‐User" for this insurance program where they are an Insured as is the campus.
Carnival Services – Amusements, Rides
Carnival equipment for rides include a variety of risks which may not be covered by the three, usual event related insurances. It is a good practice to require persons, businesses or non-campus entities providing carnival rides
for an event to provide general liability insurance with a limit not less than $1,000,000 which lists all rides and attractions on the insurance policy as required by California regulations.
Catering Services – Food and Beverage
The usual event related insurance will often be sufficient for a caterer providing food and beverage for an event. It is a good practice to verify that the general liability insurance includes both bodily injury and Products and Completed Operations coverage. Campus risk manager and/or contracts and procurement officer can assist in verifying this coverage. Note, that Human Resources, Office of General Counsel, etc. should be consulted with prior to retaining such services because of labor obligations and contracts with the campus food service provider.
Drone Services – Aerial Photography, Videography
Drones, aka unmanned aerial systems (UAS), can provide photographic and video services for an event. UAS's are aircraft and involve risks not addressed by the three, usual event related insurances. It is a good practice to also require the person, business, non-campus entity providing the services to provide proof of Aircraft Liability Insurance including limits of not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 total per year and an Additional Insured endorsement for the campus as respects to their aviation operations.
Emergency Medical Services - Ambulance
Depending on the nature of the event, number of attendees, activities available, potential weather conditions (heat), etc. a good practice might be to have an agreement in place with a medical transport service that could provide initial first aide/triage and when needed, transporting of an individual to a medical facility.
Fireworks & Pyrotechnics – Indoors and Outdoors
Fireworks are usually EXCLUDED from coverage in the usual event related insurance. It is a good practice to require Project Specific General Liability limits of ($1,000,000 per loss and $2,000,000 total) and Project Specific Excess Liability coverage ($5,000,000 or greater) for persons, businesses or non-campus entities providing fireworks and/or pyrotechnics services.
General Labor Services
Due to a variety of factors, an event may need labor services from outside the campus to set up, staff, take down, & clean up event facilities. For contracts of temporary general labor services, it is essential that these persons are
covered by the Temporary Help company's workers' compensation insurance. human resources, Office of General Counsel, etc. should be consulted with prior to retaining such services because of labor obligations
and contracts with the campus food service provider.
Protected Populations – Children, Disabled, Elderly
A consideration for campus or non-campus events including camps, workshops, residential programs and services for protected populations could be Sexual Abuse and Molestation Liability Insurance with minimum limits of $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 annual total in addition to the usual, three event related insurances.
Security Services – Security, Emergency Response, Crowd Control
Hiring of security services for an event could include consideration of security services Errors and Omissions Liability Insurance with appropriate coverage for false arrest, assault and battery, abuse and molestation with minimum limits of $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 annual total in addition to the usual, three event related insurances. Human Resources, Office of General Counsel, etc. should be consulted with prior to retaining such services because of labor obligations and contracts with the campus food service provider.
Temporary Structures – Booths, Grandstands, Rigging, Stages, Tents
It is especially important for the General Liability Insurance of persons, businesses and non-campus entities constructing temporary structures for campus events to include coverage of Products and Completed Operations
should there be a loss from collapse or other failure. The usual event related insurances should be required.
In many cases, the California State University Executive Orders, Integrated California State University Administrative Manual (ICSUAM) "Sections" and Coded Memoranda including Technical Letters are specifically developed to manage risks related to: People, Property, Finance, Laws, Continuity, and Reputation for the University – both as a whole and for each campus.
California State University Executive Orders:
"In accordance with policy of the California State University, the campus president has the responsibility for implementing executive orders where applicable and for maintaining the campus repository and index for all executive orders."
The CSU Executive Orders contain information and/or guidance for events on campus of which you will want to be aware. Briefly, summary notes are included with points of significance for your reference regarding events. As appropriate, review the executive order in detail and discuss with proper campus personnel how to implement policy and/or procedure that may relate to the event(s) during planning. Updated versions and information regarding these can be found on the CSU website at www.calstate.edu and by searching for executive orders.
Integrated California State University Administrative Manual
The Integrated California State University Administrative Manual (ICSUAM) was created to respond to the need for an efficient and effective means of providing clear, concise, yet comprehensive guidance to California State University management and staff regarding business and financial affairs. This guidance is intended to assist administrators so they may better serve the students and faculty of the University and provide a framework to assure strict accountability over University resources. As appropriate, review the ICSUAM Section in detail and discuss with proper campus personnel how to implement policy and/or procedure that may relate to the event(s) during planning.
Coded Memoranda and Technical Letters
Coded Memoranda and Technical Letters articulate and interpret Policies and Procedures. Relevant Coded Memoranda are noted below. As appropriate, review the Coded Memorandum(s) in detail and discuss with proper campus personnel how to implement policy and/or procedure that may relate to the event(s) during planning.
Academic Affairs and Student Affairs
Human Resources
Risk Management Coded Memos


The Federal, State, County and City governments have developed a wide variety of laws, codes, regulations, rules and guidance pertaining to the rights and safety of persons (adults and children). Several important Federal and State laws concern: accommodations for the disabled, drug free work place, energy conservation, occupational health and safety, emergency management, and sexual matters. Sexual discrimination, harassment, discrimination and harassment.

The Federal Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act (FAAMA) is a guideline. However, if a food allergy is considered a disability within the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act a campus may be responsible for appropriate accommodation

Within California there are District offices (10 North, 12 South) of the Alcohol Beverage Control Board with which the campus will want to communicate and obtain guidance, license and permit applications.

Building Codes and Facility Requirements applicable to campus events may be found in the California Building Code and the International Code Council materials. 

Cal Fire includes the Office of the State Fire Marshall, Life Safety Division that has a North and South Office that receive the Special Event Permit Applications. North of San Luis Obispo, Fresno, Madera, and Mono the State Fire Marshalls are assigned geographic areas and or facilities for regular inspections of State owned and occupied facilities as well as inspections of Campus Events. State Fire Marshalls also enforce pyrotechnic related codes.

California Code of Regulations and the Health and Safety Code include guidance for camps which may apply to youth camps on campus.

California Department of Public Health, includes the Food Safety Program, the Retail Food Program, and Environmental Health. Guidance for these programs is usually provided locally by a County from an office of Environmental Health.

County/City Regulations and Agencies: See the following for county profiles and links to their web sites: http://www.counties.org/county-websites-profile-information



Web Content Display Web Content Display


Last Updated: 03/20/2019

Web Content Display Web Content Display

Training Modules & Resources

Last Updated: 03/20/2018
CSU-System Training Resource


Scroll Up
Staging Enabled
Last updated: 7/16/20