The following guidelines are to be used for the planning and approving of symposia, conferences, or seminars at Carleton involving participants from off campus. Such events enrich the lives of the campus in many ways, but their complexity also poses formidable problems for a campus our size. In addition, we’ve all experienced the embarrassment of a limited audience for an outside speaker. Too many speakers and too many sessions can enter into keen competition. For these reasons, as well as budget constraints, we have to plan carefully and with close coordination if we are to do justice to the topics we undertake to address.

Our long-standing policy has been to limit ourselves to no more than two symposia in any academic year. The first step for anyone contemplating such a symposium should be to confer with the Office of Student Activities concerning scheduling, and then consult the Office of the Provost. The College Communications events staff can provide promotional and logistical support and advise on procedures which need to be considered very early in the planning process for a symposium.

No one should even consider offering our facilities, bidding on a conference, or tentatively scheduling a symposium without having first consulted the Office of the Provost and College Communications as to the practical matters enumerated on this list.

Appropriate levels of funding are also important. Budgets should be clearly established before speakers are planned for and confirmed. This may mean planning more than a year in advance in order to include budget requests in the regular budget cycle.

A symposium, conference, or seminar organizer must submit a proposal to the Provost regarding the intended event. This must be done even if funding is not necessary. If the proposed event suggests a convocation, a proposal must also be sent to the Director of College Communications for review by the Committee on Common Conversation and Convocation (CCCC). The proposal should contain the following details:

  • The proposed dates of the special event.
  • The participants: speakers, presenters, moderators.
  • Why the event would be of interest to the campus community.
  • The committee structure: who is responsible for what, who makes decisions.
  • All costs: food, custodial services, printing/advertising, audiovisual equipment and materials, transportation. The budget and account information established with the Business Office should be included.
  • What facilities will be needed.

The Provost must approve any proposal for a symposium, conference or seminar. Independently, the CCCC must approve any proposal for a convocation. Upon approval, the entire College will be committed to its success.

  • The organizer should develop a student/faculty committee to determine the complete program and titles, decide on and invite speakers, draw up mailing lists, and aid in the actual event.
  • The committee can work with the events staff in College Communications on promotional and logistical details, to effectively coordinate with the various offices on campus listed below which are involved in an event. An early timeline and working budget are essential.

Following is a list of departments who may need to be involved in planning your event:

Student Activities

  • Determine the best date for the event and avoid scheduling conflicts.

Auxiliary Services

  • Confirm room availability and capacities.
  • Lecture rooms or special feature rooms.
  • Meeting rooms.
  • Banquet, dinner, and reception facilities.
  • Place the event on the on-campus calendar of events.
  • Digital signage, door access questions, sandwich boards, stanchions, etc.
  • Reservation of Alumni Guest House guest rooms for speakers.

Custodial Services

  • Set up of meeting and event spaces, including table and chair arrangements, lecterns, platform or risers, coat racks, easels, etc.
  • A Facilities Set Up Request Form must be submitted no later than 10 working days prior to the event.

Dining Services

  • Catering for refreshments, receptions, luncheons, and banquets.

College Communications Events Staff

  • Assistance with travel arrangements for speakers.
  • Logistical support and coordination of details with other campus offices (such as catering and custodial services)

Presentation, Events, and Production Support (PEPS)

  • Support for technical and creative audio/video technology.
  • Computer and projection support for presentations in classrooms and meeting rooms; video and audio recording.

College Communications

  • News releases to newspapers, radio, television, magazines, etc.
  • Calendars of events in newspapers, radio, magazines, etc.
  • Special stories about speakers and/or topics.
  • Media coverage of events.
  • Setting up interviews.
  • Photographic needs.
  • Publicity flyers, posters, and brochures for mailing, including self-mailers.


  • Funding source ideas.
  • Interested persons to invite.

Mail Room

  • Off-campus mass mailings.

Post Office

  • On-campus mass mailings.