Registered student organizations guidance

Registered student organizations are an important part of what makes the University of Iowa a great place to learn, grow, and thrive. As part of the university’s commitment to returning to face-to-face experiences and instruction this fall, we are sure that each of you are eager to better understand how your organization can thrive and contribute during this academic year.

Our team in Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement are here to help guide you and your organizations to success. We hope to be able to provide communication, guidelines, and support to you as you work to navigate what this semester and academic year will look like. We also understand that for many student organizations the realities of the pandemic have impacted and will continue to impact the goals and visions you may have had for this year.

Below is one of our collective first steps in communication and support for student organizations. As things continue to evolve this summer and into the fall semester we plan on consistent communication and updates. We are also committed to being available for individual and small group consultations as student organizations work to understand the applications of these guidelines.

We appreciate your patience and commitment to creating a vision for what student engagement and student organization operations will look like this fall. We look forward to working with you collaboratively to make this a safe, productive, and impactful semester. Thank you for all that you do to make your student organizations strong members of the University of Iowa campus community.

Ian Van Anden
Associate Director
Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement

Registered student organizations: event experiences

The university is working to return students to campus with the goals of limiting exposure to and slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus as we return to hybrid, face-to-face instruction this fall. In alignment with the Fall 2020 guidance issued by the university, the Division of Student Life has established guiding principles and framework for student organizations, events, programs, and meetings.

Guiding principles

  • In-person events will be limited to 50 or less attendees (including staff)
    • In-person events will be evaluated for their essential purpose and connection to university mission and priorities
    • Events will also be evaluated for their ability to maintain health, safety, and other protocols
  • All events will be expected to follow social distancing and other health and safety protocols. 
  • All student organization events must be submitted through the Engage platform using the Event Information Form
    • All events are subject to additional review and questions related to health and safety guidelines with attention towards social distancing and use of protective equipment.
    • Virtual events need to be submitted through this process as well
      • This includes drives, collections, etc.
    • The event staff in the Iowa Memorial Union is currently reviewing capacities and room designs that will allow for social distancing and adherence to health and safety protocols
    • Set-ups for meeting rooms and most large programming spaces have been re-designed to allow for six feet of social distancing
    • Additional information about these rooms designs and potential costs will be available during the planning in partnership with the IMU event staff

Program approvals

  • Due to anticipated space demands and limitations, the following criteria will be used to evaluate program approvals
  • Placing people first as our university is only as strong as our students, faculty, and staff
  • Preserving and building on our core values of excellence, learning, community, diversity, integrity, respect, and responsibility
  • Delivering world-class education, research, and health care o Engaging shared governance and campus leadership

Events with food catering 

  • Bake sales will not be permitted
  • Food cooked and/or served by students and staff members for others will not be
    allowed until further notice
  • Food must be provided by University Catering or another approved vendor, per
    university guidance
  • Individual grab and go options may be permitted
  • No buffets or shared food options will be permitted
  • Catering is reimagining menus and options to adjust for new guidelines

Travel and retreats

  • All travel and off-campus retreats must follow federal, state, and university
    guidance and restrictions
  • Must be approved through the Request for Travel Form
  • Travel and experience must adhere to health and safety guidelines including social distancing

Off-campus programs

  • Off-campus programs sponsored and/or led by University of Iowa are limited to 50 attendees and must abide by health, and safety guidelines. This includes social distancing and use of face covering
  • These off-campus events are subject to the same process, policies, and appropriate guidelines as any on-campus events/programs


  • All university meetings, to the greatest extent possible, will take place in an online format in order to maximize the amount of available classroom space. Using virtual options such as Skype, Zoom, or conference calls is recommended whenever possible.
  • Formal meetings must follow university guidance regarding meetings and protocols established by advisors, bylaws, or Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement or Student Engagement and Campus Programs
    ▪ This includes health, safety, and social distancing guidelines
  • There is limited availability for hybrid meeting spaces in the Iowa Memorial Union

Health and safety

The university has been developing and implementing new policies and procedures to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread (University COVID-19). The university will continue to follow the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) in consultation with UI experts.

To protect employee health and safety, students, faculty, and staff must:

  • Wear applicable face coverings (cloth covering, disposable or cloth mask, face shield) in
    all university buildings, including classrooms, unless alone in a private office. The university will provide each student, faculty, and staff member:
    • two cloth masks
    • two disposable masks
    • one face shield
  • Follow social distancing guidelines of maintaining at least 6 feet of separation from others on campus when feasible.
  • Stay home (and report) if you develop any symptom(s) consistent with COVID-19 (cough, difficulty breathing, fever or chills, sore throat, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, fatigue, headache, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea).

Cleaning and disinfecting

Facilities Management will continue to follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting, including the frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces. Hand sanitizing stations (distributed and restocked by Facilities Management) will be available at the entrances of each university building. See UI Facilities Management's COVID-19 response page for more information. In some cases, these additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols may result in longer than normal turnover windows between meetings and events.

What comes next

We will continue to monitor and evolve our policies, guidelines, and supports as things develop within and outside the university. This is a fluid and at times unpredictable situation where we are left with no easy answers. We encourage you to reach out with questions, to provide feedback, and I know we are committed to the success of your leadership experiences and student organizations. We are confident in your commitment in your investment in helping make this is a safe and successful fall semester.

Fall 2020 re-opening practices

The Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement staff will return to limited in-person staff presence beginning August 24, 2020. 

  • The Community Space opens August 24, 2020, with no desk staffing.
  • The Student Organization Office Suite (SOOS) opens on August 24, 2020.
  • The Student Activities Center (SAC) opens on August 24, 2020.

Contact Us

Phone: 319-335-3059


To find updated information about our offerings, events, workshops, and other future programming, please continue to check the Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement website and Campus Labs Engage.