Event Planning Guide

Below is a guide that provides details on organizing events for the Graduate Student Programming Board. This is just to help you get started. If you have comments, suggestions, or questions, please e-mail the coordinators.

1. Events

The goal of the GSPB is to increase interaction between students from different departments or living in different residences, and to increase participation of off-campus graduate students in social events. Therefore, events that accomplish these goals are preferred. That being said, GSPB sponsors a wide variety of events. Examples include game nights, going to the movies, and interdepartmental lunches or dinners.  For more ideas, go to the page Event Ideas. However, the GSPB cannot sponsor events that pose a significant risk to bodily harm (for example skydiving, trips to a gun range or paintball).

2. Proposing an Event

Before you can organize an event, the event must be approved at a weekly GSPB meetings or via email (gspb.stanford@gmail.com). The current meeting times are posted on the GSPB website. At the meeting, you will be asked the following questions about your proposed event:

  • What is the name of the event?
  • When and where will it be held?
  • How many people are expected to attend?
  • If it is off campus, how are you planning on getting to there? (carpool, public transportation, etc…)
  • How much will it cost? You only need to provide a rough budget. Note that our budget limits us to $150/event.
  • Are you receiving funding from other organizations? If so, how much?
  • How will the event be publicized?
  • How will it benefit the graduate community? (interdepartmental interaction, fostering a sense of community, etc…)

*Note that we are unable fund student groups.

3. Publicity

For all GSPB events, the event will be posted on the GSPB calendar and emailed to the GSPB mailing list. On the first Friday of every month, GSPB events are also publicized through Grad Announce. To submit an event, go to the GSPB Event Submission Form.

For an event to be approved, it must be announced at least twice. This can be both on the mailing list, or once on the mailing list and once on Grad Announce.

GSPB Mailing List

The GSPB Mailing list reaches a number of students who are interested in attending GSPB events. The email is usually sent out on Sundays. To be added to this mailing list, go to the GSPB mailman list request page.

GSPB Calendar

The GSPB calendar is located on this website under Calendar. The coordinators will add your event to the calendar after its approval at a weekly meeting or via email.

Optional Publicity Methods

The following methods can only be used in addition to the above methods because the event must be open to all targeted graduate students.

Word of Mouth

Sending an email to your friends and asking them to forward the email to their friends or  appropriate email lists can increase the attendance of the event. Please use common sense when writing the email because the email may be forwarded to an administrator or someone else that you did not originally attend to send the email to. Also, alcohol must not be the focus of the email.


Flyering can be a useful technique to publicize a large event. The flyer must clearly identify the sponsors of the event and provide contact information (website or email address). The flyer cannot be focused on alcohol. In graduate residences, the flyers may be posted on bulletin boards and the flyers must be removed after the event has occurred. For more information, see the Advertising and Publicity page on Student Activities and Leadership website. Also, if you are unsure of the appropriateness of the flyer, please contact the co-chairs or the Graduate Life Office.


Facebook can be used to publicize large events. Create the event and invite your friends to the event. Make sure that the event is public, individuals can invite themselves and others to the event, you ask everyone to invite their Stanford friends. The Facebook posting cannot be focused on alcohol, must clearly identify the sponsors of the event, and provide contact information (website or email address). The event cannot be on behalf of another organization. It must be made by an individual. Finally, please use common sense when creating the event because everyone, including administrators, may see the event.

4. Funding

GSPB has an effective budget of $10,000 per quarter (Fall, Winter and Spring). Due to this limited budget, the GSPB will not co-sponsor events with student groups. The student groups should contact the Graduate Student Council (GSC) for funding.

Additionally, the GSPB will give a maximum of $15 per person for an event and the total cost is capped at $150 per event. To receive funding, the event must have broad appeal. Finally, only currently registered students can organize events for the GSPB.

Funding preference will be given to students who actively participate (attend meetings, plan events, and help with events).

For individuals planning large and open events (i.e. tailgate, bus to San Fransisco), they can receive additional funding by talking to the GSC Programming Coordinators. However, this process takes at least 3 weeks because the GSC must vote on the request. For more information, go to GSC’s Funding Guidelines page.

5. Lottery Events

Most of the GSPB events are lottery-based attendance due to limited space and/or budget.  Hosting a lottery event is easy. First, create a google survey to collect sign ups for the event. Then, publicize the event using the methods discussed above. Make sure to include the link to the survey and a definite time to RSVP by (for example 5 pm on Friday) in the announcement. Please visit the Lottery Events tab for a more detailed guide on creating a lottery-based event.

6. Interdepartmental Lunches/Dinners

These events are designed to bring together students from different majors and residences that normally do not interact. To invite people to the lunch, in addition to using the normal publicity methods, you can email an announcement to the administrator in charge of the student email list for that department.

7. PCard and Reimbursements

By far the easiest way to pay for an event is to use a PCard. The PCard is a Stanford University credit card. To borrow the PCard, please email the Graduate Life Office (graduatelifeoffice@stanford.edu). After the event, please return the PCard, receipts, and list of attendees promptly to the front desk at the GLO office on the second floor of the GCC (room 207).

You can also get reimbursed if you pay for the event. Reimbursements require filling out a form, that is located HERE. For more information, contact the Graduate Life Office (graduatelifeoffice@stanford.edu).

8. Copays

Copays are collected to finance an event that would be too expensive otherwise and to ensure that people actually attend the event. Therefore, the copay should be at least $5. Checks should be made out to “Stanford University”. Please communicate this clearly to the participants.

It is highly recommended that you collect co-pays before the actual event to reduce the number of no shows. Additionally, set the deadline to drop off the co-pays at least a couple of days before the event so that you have time to find replacements. You can have the individuals drop off the copays at the Graduate Life Office (2nd floor GCC, office 207) or submit them in bulk by dropping off an envelope with the name of the event, your name and contact info. For auditing purposes, the copays must be deposited into the GSPB account. The Graduate Life Office is open 9 am –5 pm Monday – Friday. Please email Graduate Life Office (graduatelifeoffice@stanford.edu) to arrange a drop off time.

9. Locations

The Graduate Community Center (GCC) is the easiest place to reserve space. The GCC is located at 750 Escondido Rd. For more information about the available space at the GCC and to check the availability of the space, go to the Graduate Community Center website.

Hacienda Commons and the Buttery in Rains can be reserved by a Rains CA.

Information about reserving other spaces on campus can be found on Student Activities and Leadership’s website, Find a Venue.