University of Minnesota  Appendix

Rules and Parameters for Events Requiring a Permit


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Please use the contact section in the governing policy.

General Rules

  1. A permit is required if an individual or group wants to use space for an outdoor event on University of Minnesota property. Assembly without a permit is allowable under certain conditions. For more details on when a permit is required and assembly without a permit, please review Administrative Policy:  Using and Leasing University Outdoor Space.
  2. Space is available on a first come, first served basis, up to one year in advance, with the exception of Information Only Events (see Information Only Events rules below.)
  3. Northrop Mall may not be reserved except for officially recognized University events.
  4. All outdoor events must be concluded by 10:00 p.m.
  5. Permit holders must also comply with any departmental rules governing use of specific outdoor spaces.
  6. Permit holders must provide equitable access for students, faculty, staff, and guests with disabilities. Contact the Disability Resource Center for information about creating accessible and inclusive events (PDF).
  7. Registered Student Groups and University Departments may not reserve space for other organizations in order to provide access to University property or for the purpose of lower rates. The organization or department who holds the permit must be primarily responsible for planning, implementing, and financing the event.
  8. Event permits must be requested at a minimum of fourteen  days in advance of the event.

    1. Events requiring security, traffic management, involving an organized walk/run, or an outdoor display must be requested thirty days prior to the event.
    2. Large outdoor events, including concerts, will require additional planning time. Event permits must be requested at least 12 weeks in advance.
    Event Types and Application Submission Dates
    Type of EventApplication Submission Date
    Outdoor Event Space14 calendar days prior to event
    Events requiring security or traffic management30 calendar days prior to event
    5K events or outdoor display30 calendar days prior to event
    Large outdoor events, including concerts12 weeks in advance
  9. Terms and Limitations:
    1. Every individual event requires an approved outdoor space event permit.
  10. Permit applicants must specify their event duration, not to exceed two consecutive days.

    1. Prior to the start of each semester, groups may obtain two event permits for the upcoming semester.
    2. After the start of the semester, the group may obtain four additional event permits for that semester, depending upon availability of the space. These additional permits cannot be requested for the purpose of extending an existing event beyond two days.
    3. Permit holders may not extend their event permit by having other groups obtain permits for the same event on consecutive days.
    4. If space is still available five business days in advance of the event date, an event  may be extended for an additional three days for a maximum event duration of five days.
    5. The University reserves the right to make an exception to these terms as it deems appropriate.
    Event Permit Submissions and Maximum Number of Event Permits
    Event Permit SubmissionsMaximum Number of Event Permits
    Prior to start of semester2 event permits
    During semester4 additional event permits
    Five business days prior to event3 day extension per event (if available)
  11. Permit applicants must provide all parties with enough lead time to properly prepare for each event.
  12. Permit holders are responsible for the individual and collective conduct of persons attending the event.
  13. Permit holders must be able to cover expenses and are responsible to pay all costs directly to event service providers.
  14. There will be no outdoor space rental charges for Registered Student Groups or University Departments (with the exception of a rental charge for University Departments for Coffman Union Front and Riverbend Plazas); however, applicants are responsible for all direct and event-related costs.
  15. Permit holders are responsible for leaving the area clean and returned to its original condition after the event. If the area is not returned to original condition, the permit holder will be financially liable for clean-up costs.
  16. No vehicles may drive on any turf, grass, or planted area on campus. Drivers must make alternate arrangements for pick-up and drop-off of event materials. Groups will be financially liable for any damage to plantings, grass, or turf.
  17. During winter months, permit holders are not permitted to decorate or deliberately discolor the snow. Permit holders will be financially liable for clean-up costs.
  18. If the event includes food or beverage, a food permit must be completed and approved by Environmental Health, and Safety. To obtain a food permit contact the Department of Environmental, Health and Safety at (612) 626-5935 or visit the following website: Obtaining a Food Permit for Your Event.
  19. Sale, distribution, or promotion of beverages must be in compliance with the University beverage contract, available from University Dining Services Contract Administration at (612) 624-9048.
  20. Permit holders must provide their own furnishings and equipment.
  21. Permit applicants should contact Facilities Management Landcare at (612) 625-7361 to secure additional trash and recycling receptacles if any literature is to be distributed and/or food and beverages will be served.
  22. If grassy areas are to be used, green or tan carpeting or plywood must be put down to protect the grass. Carpeting or plywood may not be down for longer than a total of 24 hours.
  23. Chalking is allowed on horizontal surfaces only, excluding stairways. No chalking is allowed on vertical surfaces such as sides of buildings, bridges, steps, etc. Please review Administrative Policy: Distribution of Information through Publications, Banners, or Chalking.
  24. Permit holders must comply with all applicable University contracts and policies, state and federal laws.
  25. Permit holders must have the approved permit with them at the event and be prepared to show the permit if requested by University officials.
  26. Fires are not permitted, regardless of fuel source. An exception is made for grilling used in the preparation of food, as outlined in the section titled “Grilling.”
  27. In general, University Departments and Registered Student Groups are not required to have a use agreement or insurance for outdoor space reservations. However, depending on the nature of the event, insurance and/or a use agreement may be required by the University.
  28. University policy prohibits the use of University property by non-University entities for the purpose of revenue generation or the sale, solicitation or promotion of goods or services. (see Administrative Policy: Use and Lease of Real Estate.)
    1. Registered Student Groups may have non-University sponsors in support of a primary event; however the primary purpose of the event cannot be non-University vendor or sponsor presence, promotion or sales.
    2. When a Registered Student Group has non-University sponsors of an event, insurance requirements and sponsorship agreements may be required.
  29. No confetti cannons are allowed on campus.
  30. Attaching anything (ropes, wires, ribbons, strings, signage, etc.) to campus trees is prohibited without prior approval of the Landcare Department.
  31. Outdoor course-related activities led by a University of Minnesota instructor do not require a permit.

Information Only Event Permits

Information only events must adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. 1. Information Only events are defined as events whose primary purpose is providing information to passersby. Information Only permits cannot be issued for the purpose of providing food that requires a Food Permit, or includes amplified sound, displays, or other event-related activities.

    Information Only EventsGeneral Outdoor Events
    • Literature distribution
    • Information sharing
    • Fewer than 5 simultaneous attendees expected
    • Furniture limited to two tables and four chairs
    • Food permits, amplified sound, displays, or other event-related activities
    • Greater than 5 simultaneous attendees expected
  2. All literature distribution must be in compliance with Administrative Policy: Distribution of Information through Publications, Banners, or Chalking.
  3. Location of tables and distribution of printed material must not obstruct normal traffic flow.
  4. Events must display the name of the organization and be staffed at all times by members of the organization listed on the permit. Use of the space is limited to the organization that holds the reservation. Organizations are not allowed to sponsor other organizations or share the table.
  5. The University will not enter into use agreements for the use of its property for events or programs by non-University entities whose primary purpose is for the sale, solicitation, or promotion of goods and services.
  6. Groups may obtain Information Only event permits for up to twelve days per semester, with no more than three days per month. Information Only event permits must be within a Monday-Friday week.
    1. Permit holders may not extend their event time beyond these specific limits by having other groups make reservations for the same event on consecutive days.
  7. Information Only event permit applications may be requested 6 weeks prior to the 1st day of the upcoming semester, including the start of May and Summer semesters. Breaks/holidays are added to the end of the previous semester.
  8. Furniture present at Information Only events is limited to two tables and four chairs. Permit holders must provide their own table and chairs.
  9. Groups may request Information Only event permits at a minimum of 7 calendar days in advance of the event by contacting the Outdoor Space Office [[email protected]].

Use of Displays

Events and programs with displays must adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Outdoor displays are allowed only in conjunction with an event or program.
  2. Displays must be self-supporting.
  3. For aesthetic and sightline reasons, displays may not be more than 8 feet high. Length of display is subject to approval based on event location and the construction of the display.
  4. Displays must be assembled and disassembled each day.
  5. Displays must be staffed at all times by the student group or University Department sponsor.
  6. There is a two day maximum on displays or events.
  7. The same display cannot be sponsored by the same or different student groups or departments to extend the 2 day maximum.
  8. The size and construction of large display must be reviewed and approved by a University Building Code Official. A sketch drawing of the display indicating the size and construction materials must be submitted to the Building Code office a minimum of 20 U of M business days in advance of the event.

Tents and Canopies

Events and programs with canopies and/or tents must adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. A canopy (the top of a tent without any sides) with an area in excess of 400 square feet must be approved by the University's Building Code Division.
  2. A tent (or temporary membrane structure) with sides or the potential for sides to drop down with an area in excess of 200 square feet must be approved by the University's Building Code Division.
  3. The floor surface inside the tents, canopies or membrane structures and the grounds outside and within a 30 feet perimeter must be kept clear of combustible waste. Combustible waste includes hay, straw, shavings or similar combustible materials.
  4. Applications for canopies, tents and temporary membrane structures must be submitted to the Building Code office a minimum of 15 U or M business days in advance of the event.
  5. The use of tent stakes or any other subsurface object is prohibited on all campus grounds.


  1. Grills must be placed on hard surfaces such as sidewalks with a protective carpet or covering underneath that would catch any grease spills.
  2. Cooking and heating equipment must not be located within 10 feet of exits or combustible materials.
  3. Tents where cooking is performed must be separated from other tents, canopies or membrane structures by a minimum of 20 feet and must be approved by the University's Building Code Division.
  4. Outdoor cooking that produces sparks or grease-laden vapors must not be performed within 20 feet of a tent, canopy or membrane structure.
  5. Electrical heating and cooking equipment must comply with the electrical code.
  6. LP-gas containers must be located outside. Safety release valves must be pointed away from the tent, canopy, or membrane structure.
  7. Portable LP-gas containers, piping, valves and fittings which are located outside and are being used to fuel equipment inside a tent, canopy or membrane structure must be adequately protected to prevent tampering, damage by vehicles or hazards and must be located in an approved location. Portable LP-gas containers must be securely fastened in place to prevent unauthorized movement.
  8. With the exception of grills located at Essex Corridor, the use of charcoal or wood is prohibited.

Overnight Stays

Registered student groups are eligible to apply for a permit for overnight stays for one to five consecutive nights (10:00PM-7:00AM) per month if the following conditions are met:

  1. Overnight stays may only occur in designated areas on campus as determined by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice President for University Services.
  2. Overnight stays are restricted to members of the Registered Student Group.
  3. Tents or canopies may not obstruct pedestrian, University vehicle or emergency vehicle access. If camping on grassy areas the group must pay to re-seed or re-sod the area if damage occurs.
  4. All costs related to overnight stays must be paid by the sponsoring Registered Student Group, including any additional health and safety requirements that may occur as a result of the overnight stay as deemed necessary by the University of Minnesota.
  5. All sanitation needs are met including securing portable toilets.
    1. Code policy requires 1 portable toilet for 65 participants and one portable hand sink per 200 participants.
    2. Plan for trash collection, removal, recycling and other sanitation needs are provided and approved by Facilities Management.
    3. Once approved, an additional plan is needed for drop off, placement requirements and removal.
  6. Staging, tents, awnings or other structures must be approved by Building Code Officials if tents are in excess of 200 square feet, and canopies in excess of 400 square feet. (
  7. Drinking water must be provided free of charge by the registered student group making the reservation.
  8. Police and security needs are reviewed and approved by the University of Minnesota Police Department.
  9. Parking and traffic management needs are reviewed and approved by Parking and Transportation Services.
  10. No sales or distribution of food to participants or general public without an approved food permit.
  11. Heating and cooking equipment are not allowed inside, or within 20' of the structure unless approved by Building Code.
  12. No vendors allowed.
  13. Electrical or generator needs must be planned and approved in advance.
  14. Use of outdoor loudspeakers and outdoor sound is not allowed on campus except from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm on weekdays, 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm on Fridays, and 12:00 pm - 9:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays (and only during that time with an approved outdoor space permit).
    1. In such instances, the sound level at 50 feet from the source must not exceed 90 decibels.
    2. Sound measured off the property where the equipment is allowed under the permit must never be more than fifteen (15) dB(A) above the ambient noise level.
    3. The University retains the right to control all volume levels if sound interferes with regular University business.
  15. The individual members of the student group requesting the overnight permit will be held responsible for seeing that participants' behavior and activities violate neither local, state, or federal law nor the University's Student Conduct Code.

Outdoor Recreation

  1. Organized recreational activities require a permit. Events on designated rec sports fields are excepted.

Organized Runs

  1. All Registered Student Organizations hosting an organized Walk/Run will be required to have insurance. Contact Student Unions & Activities at (612) 626-6919 or [email protected] to schedule a meeting with an advisor to review options. See more information about obtaining insurance.
  2. An emergency plan should be included with the outdoor space application.
    1. Organizers must plan to have water stops along the route, and are encouraged to scout out water fountains already located on campus.
    2. As a safety precaution, it is encouraged that EMT or First Responders be present as volunteers.
    3. It's also encouraged that volunteers along the route have their cell phones and are able to give clear directions to their location should they need to call 911.
  3. Registered Student Groups require a participant waiver  as part of the Organized Walk/Run Outdoor Space Application. The waiver should be used on the day of the event for participants to ensure they understand the risks involved in participating in the event.
  4. There is only one approved organized walk/run route on campus. Start and Finish lines must be located on Coffman Front Plaza. Any changes to the official route will need to be approved by UMPD in order for the application to be approved.

Designated University Dates

  1. The University may, at its discretion, reserve University outdoor spaces exclusively for students. These dates will be set aside for designated users or activities. Other permits for use of outdoor space may not be issued on these dates in the areas reserved by the University. These dates will be designated annually in accordance with the Academic Calendar and include: Finals Week, Commencement, Summer Orientation, Welcome Week, and home football games.
  2. General information can be found at the following links:
    1. Finals Week
    2. Commencement
    3. Summer Orientation
    4. Welcome Week
    5. Home Football Games
  3. Home Football Game Days: Requests for outdoor space on football home game days will follow the same permit process but requests for all spaces, including those connected with Housing & Residential Life, Recreational Sports, Parking and Transportation Services, and Intercollegiate Athletics, will be subject to review and approval by the Game Day Operations Committee.
  4. Finals Week, Commencement, Welcome Week, Homecoming and Spring Jam: Reservations will generally not be permitted on Coffman Front Plaza, Coffman Riverbend Plaza or Northrop Plaza.
  5. Summer Orientation: Reservations must be reviewed and approved by Student Unions & Activities and the Office for Student Affairs.
  6. University Holidays: No outdoor reservations allowed which require any University services.


Any violation of the Outdoor Space Rules and Procedures may result in the immediate suspension of the event and may prevent the sponsoring organization from conducting similar activities in the future. In addition, intentional violation of these policies and procedures by students or student groups may also invoke additional sanctions as outlined in the Student Conduct Code.

Applications and Deadlines

Applications can be submitted online. Questions can be directed to [email protected] or 612.626.9307. Application deadlines are:

  • Minimum of 10 business days in advance of a standard event.
  • Minimum of 20 business days in advance of an event requiring security, traffic management, involving an organized run or an outdoor display.
  • Minimum of 12 weeks in advance of large events, including concerts.

Any Outdoor Space requests that do not meet the required advanced reservation time may be considered and require special review/approval by University Services and the Office for Student Affairs.