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Event in a Box

Checklist and Planning Guide for Hosting On-Campus Events


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Event Planning Checklist

There are many steps to hosting an event on-campus. Please see below for a step-by-step checklist to guide you in planning your event. For contact information and detailed guidance and instructions, please reference the guide that follows the checklist.

Creating Your Event:

  • Define Your Event
  • Determine/Confirm Budget and Funding
  • Determine/Confirm Event Date and Time
  • Develop an Event Timeline and Checklist
  • Determine/Confirm On-Campus Venue
  • Determine/Confirm Event Agenda and Program Participants (If Applicable)

Event Logistics and Setup:

  • Identify Campus Service Providers Needed for Event & Submit Work Orders
  • Identify Off-Campus Vendors Needed for Event & Request Estimates


  • Identify Catering Needs and Menu & Contact Citrus Grove Catering

Event Promotion and Marketing:

  • Send Invitations to Guest List with Registration Link to Track RSVPs
  • Post Your Event on the Events Calendar (If Applicable)
  • Promote Your Event in Campus Newsletters (If Applicable)
  • Promote Your Event via Posters, Flyers, or Other Printed Materials (If Applicable)
  • Send RSVP and Day-of Event Reminder Emails

Event Preparation:

  • Produce Diagrams for Event Setup (If Applicable)
  • Confirm All Orders with Campus Service Providers
  • Confirm All Orders with Off-Campus Vendors
  • Develop Staffing Plan
  • Develop Day-of Timeline & Packing List
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Event Planning Guide

Please see the detailed guide, including resource links and contact information below as you work through the Event Planning Checklist


Creating Your Event

  • Define Your Event
    Define Your Event 

    The first step in creating your event on campus is to define the purpose and objective of your event. This will provide direction in determining the best format for your event. In defining your event, it is important to consider: What is the purpose and objective of this event? What is the best way to achieve this objective? What resources are available to facilitate this objective, and do I have them? What is the name of your event?

  • Budget and funding
    Budget and funding

    Once you have defined your event, it is important to determine the financial resources available and necessary to achieve your event’s objective. If you have an allotted budget for your event, you will need to be a good steward of those financial resources to stay within budget. If you are proposing a budget for your event, start with reaching out to campus service providers and off-campus vendors for estimates to compile a comprehensive budget (more on this in the Event Logistics & Setup section). In determining your budget, it is important to consider: What is a realistic budget for this event? Where will the funding be coming from? What is the Chart of Accounts (COA) that should be charged for any event orders?

  • Event Date and Time
    Event Date and Time

    Next, you will want to secure a date and time for your event. In selecting the date and time, make sure you consider and confirm the availability of all program participants that you would like to attend your event. Please also check the UCR Events Calendar to ensure that there are no other major events targeting the same audience that would conflict with your event.

  • Event Timeline/Checklist
    Event Timeline/Checklist

    As you are planning your event, it is very helpful to have a set timeline and checklist to keep you organized and on track with the various components of your event. Once your event is scheduled, work backwards and map out a timeline/checklist for yourself including specific due dates to get each arrangement booked or completed. The further in advance you can begin planning, the better. For smaller meetings and events, best practice is to begin planning at least 3 months in advance. For larger events, best practice is to begin planning at least 6 to 9 months in advance depending on the scale of your event.

  • On-Campus Venues
    On-Campus Venues

    UC Riverside has many on-campus venues where events can be hosted with varying availability and capacity. Determine the venue that works best for you and submit a reservation request through the respective reservation system. In the case that your first-choice venue is not available, it is always a good idea to have a backup venue or date in mind.
    Please see the list of major on-campus venues below with resource links and contact information for your convenience:

    Venues Managed by Hospitality Services:

    TIP: When you host your event at a venue managed by Hospitality Services, you will be assigned an event coordinator who can help you arrange parking, catering, room setup, and AV/media.

    For more information on hosting an event at these venues, please contact Hospitality Services Team.

    Venues Managed by HUB Scheduling:
    Please click the link above for an overview on the following venues:

    • Highlander Union Building
    • Student Success Center
    • General Assignment Classrooms
    • Outdoor Locations

    To reserve a space managed by HUB Scheduling, please use the EMS Highlander Scheduling System. For more information on hosting an event at these venues, please contact the HUB Scheduling Team.

    Other On-Campus Venues:

    Please note, the Barn will have limited event space available during fall quarter. The Stable Lounge is available to book for private events, and The Barn Patio Bar and Indoor Dining Room will be available to book after November 28, 2023. To book an event at The Barn, please use the reservation form here. If you have any questions regarding the Barn event space, please email barn@ucr.edu.

    • University Theatre
      The University Theatre is ideal for lectures or symposia-style events with built-in staging, lighting, and audience seating.
      To book an event at University Theatre, please contact Paul Richardson or Isabel Edwards.
    • UCR ARTS
      For more information on booking an event and pricing packages for the UCR ARTS spaces in downtown Riverside, please contact Senior Public Events Manager Amy Metcalf.
  • Event Program and Program Participants
    Event Program & Program Participants

    If your event objective requires a program or agenda to be presented to the attendees, it is important to determine your program speakers/participants in the process of creating your event. As mentioned previously, make sure to schedule the date and time of your event around the availability of your program participants. Develop the event program around the event objective to ensure that you are effectively communicating and presenting the objective to your event attendees. Remember that you want to keep your audience engaged at your event, so it is important to consider: Who is the best person to present this information? What is the best way to present this information? Does the program align with the event objective?

    If you would like the Chancellor or Provost to attend or participate in your event, you must first receive approval from your respective organization’s Vice Chancellor or Dean. Once you have secured approval from your Vice Chancellor or Dean, you can then complete and submit the Chancellor/Provost Scheduling Request Form for consideration based on the Chancellor and/or Provost’s availability. All Chancellor/Provost attendance requests must be submitted at least 30 days before your event. Please note, if your request is approved and the Chancellor or Provost is attending your event, you must provide a completed briefing at least 10 business days before your event.

    If your event includes a performance by an artist or a speaker, you will need to work with the Business Contracts department in Procurement to have a performance agreement in place. For more information on when performance agreements are needed and how the process works, please visit the Procurement website’s Performance Agreement Explained page. If you have questions regarding performance agreements, please contact April Blackburn at april.blackburn@ucr.edu.


Event Logistics and Setup

  • On-Campus Service Providers
    On-Campus Service Providers

    When coordinating basic event logistics and setup for on-campus events, there are various on-campus service providers that provide event services on a recharge basis.
    For your convenience, please see the list of frequently used on-campus service providers, their event services, and how you can request their services:

    • Facilities Services
      Facilities Services can assist with your event setup needs when it comes to chairs, tables, canopies, space preparation, and cleanup. Event requests must be placed a minimum of 14 days in advance. If you would like assistance in defining your special event requirements, please contact Pam Bloor.

      To submit a Facilities Services Event Request, please visit the Facilities Services website.
    • ITS – Multimedia/AV Support
      ITS can assist with the delivery, setup, and operation of audio-visual systems (e.g. PA systems, projectors, screens, etc.) for campus events, as well as recording and streaming services for live events. To submit a Multimedia Request, please submit the Multimedia Request for Services and Support form after logging in through the CAS system.
    • Transportation & Parking Services – Event Parking
      TAPS Event Parking can work with you to make parking arrangements for your event. To further ensure and support community access, central campus funding has been made available to provide complimentary parking to community visitors attending academic, outreach, student, and cultural events that are free and open to the campus and community through the Community Parking Program. To submit an Event Parking Services Request and establish eligibility for the Community Parking Program, please complete and submit the Event Parking Services Request form.
    • Risk Management
      Risk Management provides guidance for and oversight of the following: certificates of insurance for third-party vendors, alcohol permits, contracts/performance agreements for entertainment, and more. For more information on Risk Management and when to include them in your event planning, visit their website or contact the department at risk@ucr.edu with any questions.
    • UC Police Department
      It is often a good idea to include UCPD in the pre-planning of major events on campus. UCPD will dictate the required level of their involvement at a given event depending on several different factors including but not limited to:
      • Visiting dignitaries in attendance
      • UC President and staff in attendance
      • UC Regents in attendance
      • High-profile guest speaker or performer
      • Crowd size
      • Type of event

    If you are hosting an event that you feel may have security concerns, please contact UCPD with your event details at ucpdgeneralmail@ucr.edu to consult on UCPD staffing needs.

  • Off-Campus Vendors
    Off-Campus Vendors

    Most of your basic event logistics needs should be met by on-campus service providers. If your event requires additional equipment or services outside of the scope of services provided by the on-campus service providers, please check with Procurement and Accounting for approved off-campus vendors.

    Once you have identified the off-campus vendor you would like to request services from, contact the vendor for an official estimate of your event needs. After finalizing your estimate with the vendor, follow the accounting and procurement guidelines to process payment for your order via purchase order or purchase requisition.

    Please note that off-campus vendors or independent contractors that will be working on campus are required to provide a Certificate of Insurance (COI) that meets the UC minimum insurance requirements. The COI must name the Regents of the University of California as an additional insured and must be submitted 2-3 weeks prior to the event to Risk Management for review. If you have any questions about insurance requirements, please contact Risk Management at risk@ucr.edu.

    For your convenience, please see the list of approved and frequently used off-campus vendors and the services they offer below:

    • JZPC Party Rentals Inc.
      Services: Event rental company for equipment and setup of tenting, tables, chairs, linens, décor, stanchions, drape, etc.
      To contact JZPC Party Rentals Inc. for your event needs, please visit their website.
    • Pacific Coast Entertainment (DBA: Bar None Group Inc.)
      Services: Full-service live event production company for large-scale staging, lighting, audio, and video needs (e.g. concerts, large ceremonies, etc.).
      To contact Pacific Coast Entertainment for your event needs, please visit their website.
    • Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC)
      Services: Event security and crowd management for large scale events that require additional security determined by UCPD (g. concerts, large ceremonies, etc.). Please note that most small-scale or internal events on campus will not require additional event security or crowd management.
      To contact CSC for your event needs, please contact DeShawn Loud at dloud@csc-usa.com or info@csc-usa.com.
    • Golden State Communications
      Services: Radio, radio chargers, and earpiece rentals
      To contact Golden State Communications for your event needs, please contact Jessica Carroll at jessica@goldenstateinc.com.


  • Citrus Grove Catering (CGC)
    Citrus Grove Catering (CGC)

    Citrus Grove Catering at UC Riverside is the exclusive caterer for on-campus events. The CGC team can handle all of your catering needs from coffee breaks, breakfast, receptions, formal dinners, and cocktail parties. Citrus Grove Catering offers catering menus including appetizers, entrees, and desserts. It offers several delivery and service options to meet your event needs, including full service for plated meals, large banquets, and receptions requiring catering/bar staff, china, glassware, and tray-passed hors d’oeuvres.

    You can order online or contact Guillermo Montoya at Guillermo.montoya@ucr.edu to discuss your catering needs. For more information on catering menus, please visit the Citrus Grove Catering website.

  • Crate by Citrus Grove Catering
    Crate by Citrus Grove Catering

    CRATE by Citrus Grove Catering offers a simpler menu for pick-up or delivery only. You can order online through EMS or contact Guillermo Montoya at guillermo.montoya@ucr.edu. For more information on catering menus and tutorial on how to order CRATE via EMS, please visit the CRATE website.

  • Meal Rates for Entertainment
    Meal Rates for Entertainment

    Per-person meal rates for entertainment and business meeting meals are reviewed and determined by UCOP annually. On September 8, 2022, the maximum meal rates for entertainment and business meeting meals were increased in response to increased food prices. The new per-person rates are as follows:
                Breakfast:                      $31
                Lunch:                            $54
                Dinner:                           $94
                Light Refreshments:     $22
    Please note, these amounts include the cost of food and beverages, labor, sales tax, service, and delivery charges related to catering.

  • UCOP POLICY 5402
    UCOP POLICY 5402

    Please familiarize yourself with the UC Regents Policy 5402, which generally prohibits contracting Catering services from off campus. “Caterers” are defined as food sources that are setting up, preparing, or serving food or drinks on campus. To use a caterer, you will need to follow Policy 5402 and complete the Contracting Out Justification Form. Please click here to view the Procurement Services guidelines.


Event Promotion and Marketing

  • Invitation and Registration 
    Invitation and Registration 

    The most direct way to promote and market your event is through personal invitations. Determine your target audience and develop a comprehensive invitee list, which can include internal stakeholders, UCR senior leadership, faculty and staff, students, alumni and donors, community members, etc. Create your invitation in MailChimp, Canva, or the platform that you have access to and include a link to your event registration form so you can track registration counts. Your registration form should collect basic contact information for your attendees, as well as any information you need pertaining to your event (e.g. meal choice, guest information, etc.).

    TIP: E-invitations are cost-effective and allow for a seamless event registration process with a simple click. Don’t forget to include a section in your registration form for “dietary restrictions” if you are serving food at your event.

  • Event Calendar and Campus Newsletters
    Event Calendar and Campus Newsletters

    The UCR Events Calendar integrates easily with your existing website and is optimized for sharing content across campus-wide communications and social media channels. This platform is easy to use and will allow you to publish, manage, and promote your events. For more information and helpful tutorials on the Events Calendar, please visit the ITS website or contact support-ucrevents@ucr.edu.

  • Printed Materials and Temporary Signage/Banners
    Printed Materials and Temporary Signage/Banners

    You can also promote your event through printed materials, such as posters and flyers. For downloadable assets and branded Canva templates for postcards, invitations, flyers, posters, and more, please visit the UCR Brand website.
    TIP: HUB display cases can be reserved for your poster to promote your event and flyers can be distributed to campus departments free-of-charge through the J-list distribution service by Mail Services.  

    If you are interested in exploring options for requesting the display of temporary signage and banners on campus for your event, please visit the UCR Brand Website for information about temporary signage policies, processes, and resources.

  • RSVP Reminder and Day of Event Reminder Emails
    RSVP Reminder and Day of Event Reminder Emails 

    Once you have sent your e-invitation, it may be helpful to send one or two RSVP reminders to those on your invitee list who have not yet responded to the invitation.

    TIP: If you’d like, you can send an RSVP reminder at the halfway mark between the original invitation sent date and the RSVP deadline date – and a second reminder one week before the RSVP deadline.

    To help minimize attendance melt for your event, we recommend that you send a reminder email to all registered attendees the morning of your event. This email should include important event information, such as event start time, location, parking, etc. to ensure that your guests have the information they need for a seamless experience at the top of their inbox.


Event Preparation

  • Diagrams for Event Setup
    Diagrams for Event Setup

    When hosting your event at on-campus venues managed by Hospitality Services, Highlander Union Building, or Student Recreation Center, your assigned event manager should provide you with venue diagrams that illustrate your event setup. Work with your event manager to finalize the venue setup to ensure it works for your event. In finalizing your venue setup, make sure you’re also thinking about any additional branded event assets or décor needed for the venue.

    If you are hosting your event in an outdoor location or a location that a venue diagram is not provided, it is important to produce a diagram that campus service providers can refer to when setting up for your event.

    TIP: For outdoor locations, you can screenshot the location on the UCR campus map or Google Maps in “Satellite” view for your venue diagram. You can then use Paint or Canva to indicate where you would like tables, chairs, etc. setup for your event. It is recommended that you are present and available during event setup to ensure your event meets your expectations.

  • Confirm All Event Orders
    Confirm All Event Orders

    About a week or two before your event, confirm your final orders with all campus service providers and off-campus vendors. When confirming your orders, you should provide any quantity updates and setup changes, confirm the arrival and load-in time, completion time, and load-out time for each service provider and vendor. This point of contact also reminds them that your event is coming up and ensures a smooth event setup.

  • Staffing Plan
    Staffing Plan

    In preparation for event day, it is helpful to develop a staffing plan to ensure you have adequate staffing for your event. Make sure you have staff members or volunteers assigned to assist with setup, registration/check-in, program components, and any other staffing needs. It is also helpful to communicate clearly with assigned staff or volunteers on their arrival time, roles and responsibilities, and dismissal time so they can plan accordingly.

  • Day-of Timeline and Packing list
    Day-of Timeline and Packing list

    Once you have confirmed the arrival and load-in time for each campus service provider and off-campus vendor, it is beneficial to develop a day-of timeline that helps you stay organized and keep track of what your day will look like leading up to your event. Put together a Word document or Excel spreadsheet that breaks down your day by the time and include notes on vendor arrival/load-in time, completion time, event preparation, etc. Have this printed and accessible to you so that you can follow along and ensure you are staying on track with your timeline.

    TIP: Put together a contact list with phone numbers for each of your campus service providers, off-campus vendors, and staff in case you need to get in contact with them the day of your event.

    In addition, if there are any items or materials you need to bring with you to your event, make a packing list to ensure that you have all the materials you need for your event.