Event Planning Guidelines + Best Practices

Planning an event for the School of Architecture community? This is your one-stop-shop for all things events, including instructions for securing space, staff, and resources, as well as recommendations for vendors, promotion, and beyond. 

***The first step in planning for ANY School of Architecture event should be the completion of the EVENTS REQUEST SURVEY. ***

This short survey helps SOA staff coordinate schedules, timing, space reservations, and necessary event support. Read on for more detail and guidelines. This is a living document that will be updated regularly. 




Events Request Survey

The first step in planning for ANY School of Architecture event should be the completion of the Events Request Survey. This short survey helps SOA staff coordinate schedules, timing, space reservations, and necessary event support. 

Lead Time

For most events, significant staff support is needed at all stages of an event, from the Business Office processing vendor payments to IT set-up, and beyond. In order to secure assistance from the Business Office, Dean's Suite, IT team, and Communications, event planners should complete this Events Request Survey at the earliest stage in the planning process, as soon as a date has been proposed or solidified.

  • A minimum of two weeks' notice is required for all small events with minimal IT needs and no facilities or staff support. 
  • At least one month of lead time is required for events that need facilities prep, space allocation, IT support, food, and/or other on-site staff assistance. 
  • ***Ideally, event planners would let SOA staff know about your event as soon as you are starting to plan for it.

Master Calendar

As you're considering dates for your event, please consult the Master Calendar.  The Master Calendar is managed by the Dean's Office and can be a great reference for planning. The Master Calendar is different than the more public-facing calendar on the School of Architecture website but does include events and information relevant to School of Architecture students, faculty, and staff. This includes dates for the Lectures & Exhibitions Series, CAAD and Career Services events, Development events, and committee meetings, as well as holidays and other events in Austin that might affect scheduling. 

By submitting your event through the Events Request Survey, UTSOA staff will also add your event to the Master Calendar. You can also click here for additional guidance on requesting an update to the Master Calendar. 

Room Reservations

Room reservation requests are separate from Master Calendar requests. For some activities, such as an internal meeting or a small group gathering, you will only need to submit a room reservation request, and won't need to complete the Events Request Survey.  Below is a list of spaces that are available for reservation. Each room's calendar is hyperlinked. To make a room reservation request email arch-room-reservations@utlists.utexas.edu. If the request is urgent, please visit the Dean's Office Reception Desk or call 512-471-1922.

BTL 101Reading Room20
GOL 2.110Main Jury Room49
GOL SOUTH LOBBYOutside 2.110
GOL 2.105Mebane Gallery100
GOL COURTYARD & LOGGIACourtyard & Loggia100
GOL SW PATIOPatio Space Outside 2.110 Facing Guadalupe
GOL 3.1003rd Floor Hallway
GOL 3.118Review Room20
GOL 3.120Lecture Hall98
GOL 4.100Hallway
GOL 4.120Review Room25
HRH 2.104Jessen Auditorium300
SUT 2.110Green Chair Room16
SUT 2.112 Red Chair Room44
SUT 2.114Oak Chair Room40
SUT 3.1003rd Floor Hallway
SUT 3.112Blue Chair Room14
SUT 4.1004th Floor Hallway
SUT 4.118 Review Room25
WMB 1.110Small Computer Classroom30
WMB 1.114Large Computer Classroom30
WMB 3.108 East Side of the Materials Lab
WMB 3.116South Side of the Materials Lab
WMB 4.1184th Floor Classroom25
WMB 5.102Classroom30
WMB 5.112Classroom 34
WMB 5.114Classroom40

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In-House Items Available at UTSOA

The School of Architecture has an inventory of items that are available for SOA-related events. Some of these items include but are not limited to:  

  • Tablecloths and linens (black and various colors)
  • Easels
  • Vases
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Foldable tables and cocktail tables
  • A large cooler/ice chest

For a full list, reach out to staff in the Dean's Office. 

Facilities Support

Any event requiring custodial services or delivery/set up/break down of event equipment like tables and chairs will require a Facilities Work Order and associated fees. The university's Event Support & Moving Services Office provides event-related assistance and equipment for university events of all sizes. The following are the services and inventory available for special events on a first-come, first-served basis: 

  • Cleaning
  • Carpentry
  • Electrical
  • Set-up and take-down of event inventory
  • Refuse collection

Facilities Services' event inventory includes banners, chairs, coat racks, easels, lecterns/podiums, silk plants, privacy screens, staging/risers, tables, table cloths/skirts, and waste containers. Here is a photo gallery of their available inventory. To request services or inventory, please complete an online Event Planning Request form. Requests should be submitted as early as possible in the event planning process because services are available on a first-come basis, and event inventory quantities are limited.

Please Note: Once you submit the work order, don't be alarmed if it is not approved right away. Facilities approves orders based on the date of the event, not on how early you submitted your work order. However, you must submit a request a minimum of 2 weeks ahead of the event date to avoid late fees and penalties. If you need to email them for an update, email facilities@austin.utexas.edu or fs-events@austin.utexas.edu 

University Guidance for On-Campus Food & Beverages


Planning on having food at your event? Along with a Facilities Work order, you must also submit a Food Distribution Form to Environmental Health & Safety 7 days prior to the event. 

Note: If your event is intended only for the members of your group/organization, then a Food Distribution Form is not required. A form is required anytime an event is planned where Time/Temperature Controlled Foods are going to be distributed to the public. Some examples of TCS foods are cooked meats, hamburgers/hotdogs, breakfast tacos, fajitas, sliced melon, sliced tomato, and leafy greens. Click here for more information.

Alcoholic Beverages

Per Board of Regents' Rule 80102 (Alcoholic Beverages), the use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on property and in buildings owned or controlled by The University of Texas System of UT Austin unless an exception has been requested from the sponsoring unit and approved by the appropriate delegate PRIOR to the event. 

Events involving alcohol, therefore, require advanced approval (request form) and involve additional paperwork and costs (including the cost of alcohol and hiring a TABC-certified bartender). 

Preferred Vendors

For information about purchasing and payment of vendors, please refer to the "Paperwork & Payments" section below.




The UT Office of Sustainability and Staff Council had also compiled a UT Catering and Food Vendor Sustainability Database to provide event planners with information on the sustainability attributes of over 70 area food vendors. 


For service vendors that require temporary load in/out parking, you will need to arrange a parking pass by contacting the Dean's Office Front Desk. The university has a limited number of spaces available for this purpose near the SOA buildings. The vendor will need to be provided with driving directions for accessing these spots, and upon arrival, you will need to provide them with the parking pass to display on their dashboard during their load-in/out activities. 

  • Please be aware that we cannot provide parking arrangements for event speakers or other attendees. These participants should be advised to use public transit or park in one of the university's parking garages. The garage nearest to the School of Architecture's buildings is the San Antonio Garage
  • If your budget allows, you can purchase Event Garage QR Code Permits from Parking and Transportation Services for about $12 / vehicle by filling out the Event Parking Request Form.
  • If a visitor requests ADA parking accommodations, a permit for one of our nearby ADA spaces may be requested through the university at least two weeks in advance by completing the form at  https://parking.utexas.edu/parking/ada-parking-map

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Participant Payments

When an honorarium is being extended to a speaker, the school’s policy is that honoraria should include the participant fee and travel funds for airfare, ground transportation, lodging, etc., with the participant making all travel arrangements for themselves and then self-reimbursing with the honorarium.

  • Please be aware that honoraria, especially when extended to non-U.S. citizens/residents, requires a substantial amount of paperwork both for us and the visitor.
  • For non-U.S. citizens, certain visa requirements will apply, and the payment may be subject to a 30% tax. The school’s general practice is to “gross up” the honorarium to make up for this withholding using the formula: desired payment to speaker divided by 0.7 (e.g. $3,500 honorarium grossed up would cost you $5,000). Please keep this in mind when planning your budget. Please also be aware that honoraria cannot be extended to UT faculty members.
  • It is also possible to do direct billed airfare and lodging when an honorarium is not involved.

Once you have determined the type of payment you would like to extend to your visitors and that your budget can support, contact the Business Office to check that your plans are appropriate and to confirm the paperwork required.

Purchase Orders / Contracts

Anyone being paid for providing a good or service to the school, such as a lecture, participation in an event, or a vendor providing services for an event, must be entered into UT’s vendor system in order to be paid. A purchase order or contract outlining the terms of the agreement must also be processed and approved BEFORE the service is performed. 

The steps for this process are outlined below. Get the process started by completing the SOA Payment Request Form first.

  • Step 1: School sends “Payee Information Form” (PIF) to the individual via DocuSign, which they will fill out accordingly, and return with a copy of their driver’s license or passport (if being paid as an individual. If paying the company, ID is not required).
  • Step 2:
    • If the payee is a U.S. citizen/permanent resident: SOA Business Office sends purchase order information to UT Accounting for approval based on the agreed-upon honorarium amount. Turnaround time from receipt of PIF: allow 1 week.
    • If the payee is not a U.S. citizen/permanent resident: SOA Business Office sends contract information to UT Business Contracts Office (BCO) for approval based on the agreed-upon honorarium. Upon approval, the contract is sent to the individual for signature and is then countersigned by BCO. Copy is sent to individual for their records. Turnaround time from receipt of PIF: at least 2 weeks; allow more if possible. This is also the stage when the Business Office determines any visa requirements that may apply, and whether the 30% nonresident tax will be assessed.
  • Step 3: After service is performed, SOA Business Office sends an invoice to UT Accounting for payment processing, and a check is mailed to the address on the PIF.


Some vendors require a contract. Intra-university contracts are usually executed at the unit level (if renting a space at LBJ Auditorium, for example), and outside contracts require UT Business Contracts Office approval via the SOA Business Office. Never sign a contract of any kind - The University's Business Contracts Office is the only entity on campus authorized to sign contacts.

As a courtesy to the Business Office, please let them know of any contracts being signed by UT Contracts. If the contract is related to catering, the signed contract will need to be included with the OOEF after the event. 

Material Purchases

Small materials for events can be purchased using the Procurement Card (the school's "credit card"), which can be checked out from the Dean's Suite and/or Business Office.

Important things to Note:

  • When you check out the Procard, you will need to provide the UT account number that should be charged
  • Receipts must be provided when the card is returned and no Texas state sales tax can be shown on the receipt
  • If Texas state sales tax is shown on a Procard receipt, the user is required to return to the vendor and have it removed.
  • If a disallowed item is purchased using the Procard, the user is responsible for paying out of pocket to reimburse the school.

Larger expenses such as equipment require purchase orders. See "Preferred Vendors" for tips above, and contact the SOA business team for more information.

Please also be aware that the SOA owns a limited number of event items such as cocktail tables, tablecloths, and sign stands; see the "On-Site Resources" section above for details about inventory available and policies for their use. Some items, like tables, linens, and chairs, can be rented through a UT Facilities Work Order, also explained above. 

Official Occasions and Entertainment Expenses Policy (OOEF)

An "official occasion" is defined as a reception, luncheon, dinner, or similar event that is sponsored and funded by The University of Texas at Austin. These functions are normally associated with special programs, university guests, and faculty and staff recruitment. Examples include conferences, workshops, seminars, development events, planned retreats, and staff meetings. Please note that you must have or secure funding for such an expense in advance. 

OOEFs must be completed after the purchase of any food, beverage, flowers, invitations, or similar expenses: 

Use of the OOEF–Dean is required if

    • The primary expenditure is alcohol (that is, greater than the total food expense)
    • The average cost per person exceeds $100
    • The cost of flowers or other perishable items exceeds $200, or
    • The total cost is over $5,000

Use the regular OOEF if none of the above apply.

Important Things to Note:

  • Itemized, zero-balance receipts must be electronically attached to the OOEFl a credit card receipt alone is not sufficient unless it also includes itemization
  • Texas state sales tax is okay to pay at restaurants ONLY; nowhere else
  • Catering payments can be processed with an invoice and OOEF (submitted via one of the OOEF links above); NO Texas state sales tax on the invoice
  • Max reimbursement for tips is 20% of pre-tax bill amount
  • Not all UT accounts allow for official occasions and/or entertainment expenditures. If in doubt, contact the Business Office. 


As noted in the Participant Payment section above, out-of-town event participants typically make their own hotel reservations using their SOA honorarium to self-reimburse for hotel expenses. In this case, the participant may select their own lodging based on their personal preferences.  Hotels that are closest to the School of Architecture are the:

In cases when SOA will be reserving and/or paying for the participant's room–-including events with multiple speakers, in which case a block of room reservations is most efficient-- the event contact can make the reservation using the hotel conference card (checked out from SOA Business Office) by contacting the hotel on behalf of the participant(s).

  • Hotel contacts and rate information can be found here. (see "Hotel Contact Sheet")
  • When making a reservation, be sure to let the hotel know that SOA is part of The University of Texas at Austin, and as such is exempt from the state hotel occupancy tax. It is also important to let them know that the school is ONLY covering lodging and not incidentals.
  • You will need to complete and submit the Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate, and be sure to ask for any relevant UT Austin rates/discounts. 

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IT Set-Up Questions and Needs

In order to plan for and best support event-related technology needs, the School of Architecture's Technology Resources and Integration Group (TRIG) will require quite a few pieces of information from event planners well in advance of the event.

Specific questions include, but are not limited to:    

  • Event Format - Will this be a lecture, a panel discussion, or a more involved forum? Is there a planned Q&A or other audience interaction?
  • Event Type - Will this event be completely in-person, will it take place via Zoom with links shared externally with a wide audience, or with a limited, more exclusive audience?
  • Will this event be publicly live-streamed on the Texas Architecture YouTube channel? Do you have the appropriate permissions?
  • Will we need to create a Zoom meeting or do you already have one in place?
  • Will there be any "presentations"? If so, what format: PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote? Will it include audio or video?

Presentation Preparation

As you coordinate with event participants and lecturers for your event, please consider the presentation format. This is important for ensuring that technology runs smoothly for your event. TRIG recommends presentations be formatted in PowerPoint. They will also provide a loaner PC laptop to run the presentation day-of.   

Lead Times:

  • If a speaker prefers another set-up, please let us know at least 1 week in advance.
  • We also request that they send their presentation at least 2-3 days in advance of the lecture so that we can test the file and any audio/video components. 
  • On the day of the lecture, we ask that the speaker be available 30 minutes prior to the lecture start time for tech set-up and that they bring their presentation file on a USB drive as a backup.

Livestreaming via Zoom

UTSOA hosts many events that are shared live using YouTube and Zoom. In order to facilitate this process, some settings must be changed within your Zoom account. You also need to contact the Technology Research Integration Group in advance for permissions. Approval from the Communications Coordinator is required to Livestream on the Texas Architecture YouTube channel as well. 

A Livestream can be initiated by one of three methods:

  1. The host requests that a stream is scheduled and the following information is shared with the host: streaming key, streaming URL, and live stream URL
  2. The host's UT Mail has Manager permissions to the Texas Architecture YouTube account
  3. The host has the credentials to log directly into the Texas Architecture YouTube account. 

The TRIG Team will help event planners determine the best method and approach for a live-stream. For more detailed instructions for each method please visit this page. 

Livestreaming via OWLs

The Meeting Owl camera is equipped with a 360-degree lens that captures a panoramic view of your meeting room. This creates a more immersive experience, and remote team members can see all the participants and present during the meeting or event. The owl streams its audio and video to your computer via USB, and the video conferencing platform (ie Zoom) streams the audio and video over the internet to your remote participants. 

The TRIG team is available to support OWL setup and troubleshooting with advance notice. For more information about the OWL's capabilities, click here.

Broadcasting/Recording/Talent Release

Historically, the University used a “Talent Release Form” that guests would sign to authorize the recording or live-streaming of their participation in an event. This language is now worked into both POs and Contracts, so a Talent Release form is only needed if a speaker is not receiving payment. If the speaker does not want to be recorded, broadcast, or published, we respect their wishes. If you are live-streaming or plan to record your event, this should be discussed at the beginning of your engagement with this person to avoid last-minute surprises. 


Building accessibility into the planning stages of an event can eliminate barriers to participation and create a more inclusive environment. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires all media used or purchased by public agencies receiving federal/state funds to be accessible. This also applies to online videos. We recommend that all event planners include an accommodation statement on materials, which allows you to make arrangements in advance: If you need accommodations for this event, please contact (name) at (email or phone) five business days in advance. 

Digital / Technology Accessibility: Does all video or audio material being used have captions?

Sign Language Interpreters: 

  • If a UT student is registered with Disability and Access (formerly Services for Students with Disabilities) and needs an interpreter, the student needs to make the request through the online Sign Language Interpreter Request for Students link. Be ready to work with the student to ensure that the seating and placement of the interpreter are conducive to effective communication. 
  • If a member of the public is requesting a sign language interpreter, the event planner needs to make the request via the online submission form on the SSD website. Funding sources for interpreters will vary depending on the type of event. 

General accommodation or accessibility questions can be directed to SSD at (512) 471-6259 or ssd@austin.utexas.edu. For more information about the university's Disability and Access office, visit their website: https://diversity.utexas.edu/disability/

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As you plan for your event and think through attendance, it is important to consider several aspects of marketing and communications to help get the word out. The best option for advertising a campus event will vary depending on the target audience. 

UT Austin Community

Event Calendars:

Events targeted toward members of the UT community can be promoted through the Texas Today events calendar. You can submit event information here (requires signing in with your UT EID)

The School of Architecture also maintains an event calendar on the School of Architecture website. Contact Kelsey.Stine@austin.utexas.edu to get your event added to the SOA website at least two weeks prior to the event. You’ll need to provide: Event Title, Event Description, Event Time, and Location, as well as at least one image to accompany the event.

Digital Signs:

University Unions provides the opportunity for university departments and registered student organizations to advertise events and activities on campus. there are 10 screens located throughout the Texas Union Building and the William C. Powers, Jr. Student Activity Center. Departments and registered student organizations can apply here to have their event displayed on these screens. Note that you must submit requests 1.5 weeks before you would like your slide to run.

Later this semester, the School of Architecture will roll out our own digital signage, which will be located in the North Lobby of Goldsmith Hall. More information about how to submit slides and the process will be added to this document as they are available.


HornsLink is the platform for student organizations and events at UT Austin, and all students, faculty, and staff can log in with their EID and advertise events to students.

Texas Student Media

Texas Student Media oversees The Daily Texan and other outlets with a wide reach on campus. To get the word out about events via a Daily Texan advertisement or proposed news story, or through another Texas Student Media outlet, call or email the Daily Texan or Texas Student Media.

Emailing the UT community

The School of Architecture maintains a weekly newsletter, distributed every Monday during the fall and spring semesters. If you wish for information about an event or opportunity to be included in the weekly newsletter, submit content here by Thursday at 5:00 p.m. to be included in the next week's newsletter. 

Depending on the event type and target audience, sometimes it is appropriate to share the event with others in the UT community directly. Think through the other units or departments that might be interested in your event contact. Research the appropriate contact and share a brief overview of the event and a link for more information. If they find it relevant, they might share it with others on a one-on-one basis, or forward it to appropriate listservs.

Social Media

The School of Architecture has a social media presence on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Each platform has its own distinct audience and focus, so contact Kelsey Stine to discuss social media promotion of your event. If you have your own social media platform, @UTSOA and the school can reshare your content, which is the easiest and most direct way. Note that for any type of social media promotion, you will need to provide a high-quality visual. 

Wider Off-Campus Audience 

Below are some free event calendars maintained by various local news outlets and online platforms that accept community-based event submissions. It is recommended that you submit online event calendars at least a month in advance of the event.

For industry-related outreach, consider:

*Keep geography in mind when going outside of Central Texas. Only send to non-Texas outlets if there is a virtual component to the event.

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