Per President Gabel's email on March 16th, all events of 50 people or larger have been canceled. We are waiving all cancellation fees for any events taking place now through May 13. We are happy to work with you to find an alternative date, if possible. Our Reservations staff is available via email. If you have any questions/concerns or to make a reservation for space post-May 13, please contact [email protected] for Coffman Memorial Union events, [email protected] for St. Paul Student Center events and [email protected] for any Outdoor events. 

Outdoor Space Rules and Parameters

1. General Rules

These general rules apply to all outdoor space events:

  1. A permit is required if you want to reserve space for an outdoor event on University of Minnesota property. Assembly without a permit is allowable under certain conditions. For more information on when a permit is required and when assembly can be done without a permit, please review the policy on Using and Leasing University Outdoor Space: Twin Cities.
  2. Registered Student Groups and University Departments may not reserve space for other organizations to provide access to University property or for the purpose of lower rates. The organization or department who holds the reservation must be primarily responsible for planning, implementing, and financing the event.
  3. Space is available on a first come, first served basis, up to one year in advance, with the exception of contact tables (see contact table rules below).
  4. Terms of Reservation:
    1. Reservations may not exceed two days per reservation.
    2. Prior to the start of each semester, groups can make two event reservations for the upcoming semester.
    3. After the start of the semester, the group may make four additional event reservations for that semester, depending upon availability of the space. These additional reservations cannot be for the purpose of extending an existing reservation or an event beyond two days.
    4. Groups may not extend their Outdoor Space permit or use agreement beyond the allowed two days by having several groups make reservations for the same event on consecutive days.
    5. If space is still available five business days in advance of the event date, a reservation may be extended for an additional three days for no more than five days total per reservation.
    6. The University reserves the right to make an exception to reservation terms as it deems appropriate for University-sponsored events.
  5. Space must be reserved at least ten U of M business days in advance of the event.
    1. Events requiring University security or traffic management must be reserved twenty U of M business days prior to the event.
    2. 5K runs must be reserved twenty U of M business days in advance of the event.
    3. Large outdoor events, including concerts, will require additional planning time. Please submit application up to twelve weeks in advance.
  6. Every effort must be made to provide all parties with enough lead time to properly prepare for each event.
  7. Groups shall be responsible for the individual and collective conduct of persons attending the event.
  8. Groups must have adequate provision to cover expenses and are responsible to pay all costs directly to service providers.
  9. 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 Front and Riverbend Plazas); however, they are responsible for all direct costs.
  10. Outdoor events must not interfere with other university events, classes, programs, meetings, etc. The University of Minnesota maintains the right, in the event of interference, to require that the program be altered in time, place or manner.
    Use of outdoor loudspeakers and outdoor sound is not allowed on campus except from noon - 1 pm on weekdays, 5-9 pm on Fridays, and noon-9 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 shall not exceed 90 decibels.
    2. Sound measured off the property where the equipment is allowed under the permit shall 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.
  12. After the event, groups are responsible for leaving the area clean and returned to its original condition. If the area is not returned to original condition, contracting group will be financially liable for clean-up costs.
  13. No vehicles may drive on any turf or grass on campus. Drivers must make alternate arrangements for pick-up and drop-off of event materials. Any damage to the grass or turf will be the responsibility of the group.
  14. During winter months, groups are not permitted to decorate or deliberately discolor the snow. Groups must remove any discolored snow after their event, if the area is not returned to original condition, contracting group will be financially liable for clean-up costs.
  15. All outdoor events shall be concluded by 10:00 p.m.
  16. 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 web-address:
  17. 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.
  18. Groups must provide their own furnishings and equipment.
  19. Groups 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Chalking is allowed on horizontal surfaces only, excluding the steps. No chalking is allowed on vertical surfaces such as sides of buildings, bridges, steps, etc. Please review the University of Minnesota Chalking Policy.
  22. Groups must comply with all applicable University contracts and policies, state and federal laws.
  23. The approved permit must be posted in a visible area at the event.
  24. 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 a use agreement may be required by the University.
  25. 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. (Policy: Use and Lease of Real Estate: Appendix to Policy: Using and Leasing University Real Estate (Permissible Uses and Scheduling Priority, Non-permissible uses 1 & 2)
    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.

2. Contact Tables

Contact tables must adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Contact tables are defined as tables with information available for passersby.
  2. All literature distribution must be in compliance with the University of Minnesota Financial Policy Distribution of Temporary Information through Publications, Banners or Chalking.
  3. Location of tables and distribution of printed material must not obstruct normal traffic flow.
  4. Reserved tables must display the name of the organization and be staffed at all times by members of the organization that has reserved space. Use of the table 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 make reservations for up to twelve days per semester, with no more than three days per month. Individual reservations shall be within a Monday-Friday week.
    1. Groups may not extend their Contact Table time beyond these specified limits by having several groups make reservations for the same event on consecutive days.
  7. Contact tables may be reserved 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. The set-up of the table includes a maximum of one six-foot table and two chairs. Groups must provide their own table and chairs.
  9. Sound amplification is not permitted at outdoor contact tables.
  10. Electrical power will not be provided to the contact table.

3. 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 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.

4. 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 shall 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. Grilling

  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 shall not be located within 10 feet of exits or combustible materials.
  3. Tents where cooking is performed shall 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 shall not be performed within 20 feet of a tent, canopy or membrane structure.
  5. Electrical heating and cooking equipment shall comply with the electrical code.
  6. LP-gas containers shall be located outside. Safety release valves shall 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 shall be adequately protected to prevent tampering, damage by vehicles or hazards and shall be located in an approved location. Portable LP-gas containers shall be securely fastened in place to prevent unauthorized movement.

6. Overnight Stays

Events and programs with overnight stays must adhere to the following guidelines:

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 Provost for Student Affairs.
  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. (Building Code)
  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 sound systems comply with amplified sound policy, see section 1-11.
  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.

7. 5K Runs

  1. All Registered Student Organizations hosting a 5K 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 your outdoor space application which should contain:
    1. Groups 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. A participant waiver is required as part of the 5K 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 5K route on campus. Any changes to the official 5K route will need to be approved by UMPD in order for the application to be approved.

8. 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.

    General information can be found at the following links:

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Summer Orientation: Reservations must be reviewed and approved by Student Unions & Activities and the Office for Student Affairs.
  5. University Holidays: No outdoor reservations allowed which require any University services.

9. Violations

  1. 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.

10. 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 a 5K or an outdoor display.
  • Minimum of 6 weeks in advance of large events, including concerts.