Activities & Recreation
We are all working hard to enable students to come together in new ways and to make life on campus as rewarding and inspiring as ever. We encourage you to continue to sponsor the kinds of special events that will make that possible. This fall, events and gatherings will be very different. Most will be virtual, and many will take place in spaces with strict capacity limits and with furniture fixed in place at a safe social distance. Attendance is limited to members of the Boston University community and specifically excludes the general public, campus visitors, or guests.
Meetings, Activities, Events, and Gatherings
Coordinating Space and Facilities
There will be capacity limits for all reservable spaces. For now, we plan to limit the number of in-person attendees to no more than 10 people. Of course, there are outdoor spaces where we may be able to safely accommodate more in-person attendees, but those will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and they must be coordinated with the staff at the Student Activities Office and in accordance with Massachusetts and Boston public health policies. We recommend planning programs and activities that allow students to participate in your programs simultaneously in-person and remotely.
We have developed rules for in-person participation in programs and activities in accordance with guidance from state and local health and government authorities and the University’s Medical Advisory Group and will continue to make updates as the guidelines change. This fall, in-person access and participation in activities and programs is limited to members of the Boston University community. In-person, on-campus events may not be open to the general public. Visitor participation must be approved by the Dean of Students or by deans of the individual schools and colleges.
Guests and Visitors
The University Provost has issued guidelines stating that under the Policy Regarding Campus Visitors During the COVID-19 Pandemic, until further notice, all University campus spaces, facilities, and buildings will be open only for official University business and not to the general public. The policy lays out categories of visitors (including contractors, vendors, tenants, patients, and visiting faculty, scholars, researchers, and students) who will be permitted on campus, provided they have been invited by a host and meet a set of health and safety requirements, in conjunction with federal, state, local, and University regulations.
Conditions for Hosting Meetings, Events, and Gatherings
In-person, on-campus meetings, events, or gatherings other than academic in-person classes are required to abide by the conditions published in the August 7 announcement of the New Policy on University-Sponsored Campus Meetings, Events, and Gatherings for the Fall 2020 Semester.
Setting the Rules for Hosting a Healthy Program or Activity
As the host of your gathering, you are responsible for planning, monitoring, and enforcing physical distancing. Please give your public relations organizers and other “front-line” people helpful language to explain why all these precautions are necessary. For example:“We are aware that it takes longer to get inside and be seated; however, with the global spread of the virus, we are trying our best to keep our community safe and are asking everyone to physically distance from each other.”
If attendees decline to follow rules for physical distancing or wearing face coverings, do not be afraid to turn them away. They may be upset in the moment, but this is the necessary thing to do to protect your guests. Advise any attendees who may feel sick to return to their residences, limit face-to-face contact with others, and seek immediate medical help (through Student Health Services if BU students).
The Student Activities Office has put in place changes for student clubs to control the spread of COVID-19 and offers suggestions for ways to host organizational events in accordance with our new protocols and guidelines.
The Engage System and the Square Initiative
Engage is not just a tool to help you access University resources; it opens your organization up to the broader BU community and allows you to communicate with current members, potential new members, and University partners. Clubs, organizations, and associations should continue to enter all activities and requests through the Engage system. Please remember that it’s important to maintain accurate information on your club’s Engage portal. For many new and returning students, it may be the first impression and the only source of information about your club’s mission, members, and activities. The Student Activities Office staff is available to help you understand and maximize this resource.
The staff at the Student Activities Office will assess the specific needs of your organization and work with you to accomplish your goals (while shepherding limited resources intended to support all student organizations and student initiatives). We will publish a schedule of education and information sessions for club and organization officers. The Student Activities Office is planning seminars, lunch-and-learns, and other activities to help foster leadership development. Until further notice, we are suspending the Square initiative for student organizations, and your group can work with the Student Activities Office staff to identify the most appropriate resources for your event.
SPLASH!, Weeks of Welcome (WOW), Link Tables, and other Traditional Programs
We are developing plans for SPLASH!, Weeks of Welcome (WOW), and other traditional programs. We realize that SPLASH!, tables on the Link, WOW events, and other traditional programs create opportunities to meet new club members and to reconnect with friends and the wider BU community. WOW events will begin during Move-In on August 15 and continue throughout September.
SPLASH! will be different this fall. We expect it to be a remote experience—and to offer the opportunity to reach more students within the BU community. Here’s a challenge: as a SPLASH! participant, think about how you and the members of your organization can give students a sense of what you’re about without exchanging physical items.
Until further notice, the Link (between the George Sherman Union (GSU) and Mugar Library at 775 Commonwealth Avenue) cannot be used by clubs and organizations to sell items or promote events. The Link does not have sufficient space for members of the community to distance themselves while moving between the GSU and Mugar with information tables present. We are investigating opportunities to expand video capabilities in the Link for student clubs, organizations, and associations to continue to promote events and activities.
At this time, travel can put the health of our students, faculty, and staff at risk. Therefore, any requests for travel will be very carefully considered on a case-by-case basis; nonessential travel will not be permitted this fall. Please see the Provost’s Policy Regarding Fall 2020 University-Sponsored Travel. Clubs and organizations for which travel is a significant component should connect with a member of the Student Activities Office professional staff and discuss ways to reimagine activities. BU announced in July that the the Patriot League (our primary athletics conference) voted to suspend all competition for the fall season.
Allocations Board Requests and Funding
The Allocations Board, a student-run group that funds events sponsored by student organizations, is currently accepting requests for funding. Students should know that in some cases, remote and hybrid programs are more expensive, and in others, they can save money. We encourage you to consult with the Student Activities Office to learn how different types of events affect your budget. Then, as soon as possible, submit your event requests to your peers on the Allocations Board for review.
As always, appeals to Allocations Board decisions should be sent directly to Dean Battaglino via email at email@example.com. Please connect with Dean Battaglino if you have any questions about funding special initiatives or student activities that don’t meet current Allocations Board criteria.
Planning Your Events and Activities
The Student Activities Office is your communication channel with Catering on the Charles, Facilities Management & Planning, the BU Police, Student Production Services, and Reservations. We’ll make sure that you’re aware of changed delivery options, services, health and safety protocols, and procedures that pertain to your meetings, events, and club and organization activities. As often as possible, updates will be shared with clubs and organizations via websites, weekly newsletters, and individual outreach. SAO will also advocate for your club or organization needs.
Catering on the Charles (Catering)—Massachusetts and Boston public officials currently have prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people. Student Activities Office staff will help you either reimagine large-scale events or postpone the event. It is unlikely that buffets and shared beverage stations will be permitted. At all events, meals should be individually prepared and served in self-contained packages. Catering exemptions are still possible, but the process of handling and serving meals will be heavily monitored, so events may see longer planning times and increased costs. Students should consult with Student Activities Office staff as soon as possible when considering hosting a large event that includes Catering or serving food.
Facilities Management & Planning (FM&P)—Revised room layouts and set-ups will be available soon, but event density and capacity must accommodate required physical distancing. Extensive cleaning protocols and required physical distancing make it impossible for the FM&P team to provide custom set-ups. Please work with the Student Activities Office staff to identify the best venue and set-up to accommodate your attendance goals.
Boston University Police (BUPD)—The SAO staff will work with you and the BUPD to determine the necessity of police and/or security presence for on-campus events. The SAO staff will communicate safety and security plans, and associated costs, well in advance of the planned activity.
Student Production Services (SPS) and Learning & Events Technology Services (LETS)—SPS and LETS will provide package set-ups for activities listed in the SAO Handbook. These services are currently pursuing opportunities and platforms that will help clubs, organizations, and associations to offer programs remotely. Please consult with the SAO staff.
Reservations—All reservations are tentative and subject to change or cancelation in response to capacity concerns, safety protocols, and University priorities.
Student Activities Office (SAO) Hours of Availability and Engagement—The SAO Resource Room at 1 University Road will be open for walk-in visits and package pickup from noon to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. Visitors will be expected to maintain physical distancing and other safety protocols and SAO staff will do the same. The office will be open to receive calls and respond to emails from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
The staff at SAO will adjust their hours to better help you plan fall activities through scheduled in-person meetings, remote consultations, and limited walk-in services. There is also a daily chat room monitored by the SAO student staff where you can share your ideas and learn about SAO initiatives. Details regarding fall hours and engagement opportunities will be announced on August 1. Email or call us at 617-353-3635 if you need to talk sooner than August 1.
You may also schedule individual appointments via email directly with any member of the SAO staff. Each of the listed SAO staff members host weekly open office hours for you to drop in with any questions, ideas, or concerns.
Please visit our website for contact information, staff emails, and open house hours.