Organizing an event

From CACWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Tips on organizing an event at Caltech. See also lots of good advice at Caltech Clubs handbook and the GSC's recently (2010) redesigned and updated technique.

Red Tape

You may need to register with Student Affairs. You need to register if any of the following are true:

  1. Alcohol will be served and underage students will be in attendance.
  2. Institute funds (e.g. GSC dues) are used to fund the event and where the attendance will exceed 20 people.
  3. The event will be publicized to non-Caltech people.
  4. There may be circumstances when the Catalina Recreation Room is utilized for a private party, in which case the event does not need to be registered. If you are unclear as to whether your event needs to be registered, please contact the Senior Director of Campus Life to discuss.
  5. For after-hours access (i.e. doors being kept open), contact security at x4701 and/or email Kathy Carpenter

Common Venues

  • Ramo Auditorium. 381 people. We hold the Banff Film Festival here. You need to reserve this at least several months in advance, and you must secure funding for it.
    • Cost of Ramo: these numbers are taken from the Reel Rock 2010 screening for Feb 2011. Dimitris Sakellariou from Student Affairs agreed to our request for Student Affairs to cover the cost of Ramo. The Ramo use fee is $300. However, the club has to pay on its own for the cost of lighting/ushers/ticketing, and Dimitris estimated this will cost $589.64 in 2010 and $483.35 for the 2011 Reel Rock.
    • A good alternative to Ramo is Baxter Lecture Hall, which is located in the same building. It seats about 300 people, and it's probably cheaper and easier to reserve. It is suitable for lectures and movies.
  • Caltech Y. NO LONGER AS OF SEPTEMBER 2011 We often hold meetings here, e.g. winter mountaineering trips organizational meetings. There is no charge. We've also held movie nights here, and we had our 2009 BBQ in the Caltech Y courtyard.
    • Lounge (20 chairs), with 2 couches and big screen TV.
    • Multipurpose room, with tables, chairs, and overhead projector.
    • We held our Slideshow 2010 in the courtyard here.
  • Beckman Institute Auditorium (not Beckman Auditorium which is the giant round auditorium). We used this for Floris' presentation in spring 2010. Holds about 200 people. Contact Rick Jackson (rickj@...) to reserve.
    • Cost: free. But you probably need to pay about $40 to rent a microphone and get the A/V setup.
    • We hosted Floris' Art in Nature talk 2010 here in fall 2010 (as well as his talk earlier in the spring).
  • Catalina Rec Rooms. We often hold our movie nights here. They have nice TVs, but can be difficult to setup. You can show up at a rec room, but it's recommended to reserve them in advance. Any current catalina resident can reserve them at Free. For the location, see this wiki page: Central Catalina Rec Room.
  • SFL Courtyard. We would like to start having events here more often! Kadoma for instance was a great success. As of 2012, contact Marie Noren to reserve this.
  • Dabney Courtyard. We had our Annual Slideshow here in 2011, great place for an outdoor slideshow/film event!
  • Center for Student Services, 2nd floor area. Contact Women's Center or International Student Servies. 18 chairs. Contact Portia Harris ( pbharris @ ... ), as of December 2010. Free.
  • Winnett Student Center. We used this once in 2006. As of 2006, I was told to contact catering: x3388.

Venues that we haven't used in recent years

  • Brennan Conference Room. See Dean's office.
  • Avery Library. Contact catering.
  • Dabney (lounge and gardens).
  • Health Center Room in CSS building, contact Jane.
  • SFL library, meeting rooms.
  • 147 and 153 Noyes
  • See the list at the clubs handbook venue site


Overall, see Jordan Romero advertsing campaign for pointers. Specifically:

At Caltech

Outside of Caltech

Many more groups are listed at Links

Providing food for your event

We also suggest that participants bring their own plate and cup, to help cut down on the trash from our events. We usually have extra disposable plates and cups that the club leaders keep around; email us if you need these.


  • Pizza. We've been patronizing Fredo's pizza the past few years, since they are local, they deliver, the offer 2-for-1 deals on XL, and they have a 10% or 15% Caltech discount. Their basic XL pizza is $21, and we usually plan on 1/3 pizza per person. This is a little over $3/person on average.

We've also used Papa John's and Big Mama's pizza in the past few years. Big Mama's giant pizzas are a bit pricey.

  • Thai. Thai food from PresidentTwo is relatively cheap, but there are lots of Thai restaurants to chose from.
  • BBQ. We've had two major BBQs in the past few years, for the Slideshow 2009 and Slideshow 2010 that were in the Caltech Y courtyard. The Y can provide large charcoal grills.


  • Alcohol: we discourage alcohol use. All alcohol use on campus must follow the Caltech alcohol policy.
  • Soda: 2 liter bottles are cheapest and generate less trash than aluminum cans.


  • The club now has its own projector! Contact Patrick.
  • Speakers for outdoor shows can be rented from the Caltech Y. Soon, they will also have a huge screen for rent, so this is a great "one stop" place to get everything for your slideshow/film event.
  • Screens of various sizes and other audio/visual equipment (e.g. microphones) can be rented from Caltech "Academic Media Technologies" (behind the Caltech ticket office). Prices are reasonable. A microphone is not needed for most events though.
  • If you are planning to use Beckman Institute Auditorium, schedule a visit ahead of your presentation with Rick (rickj@ ...) to go through the set up etc. He can show you where the switches are etc. Light switches are below the screen, which is a little awkward....know which one does what. There's also a switch to bring down the screen. For other auditoriums, contact respective contacts.
  • Tables can be rented for $3 per day (free if you request) from Caltech Y. They can also give you plastic table-cloths for free. For big events (i.e. in Ramo for example) Caltech Events will provide you with tables.
  • Ice-chests can be got from the Caltech Y for $1 a day. They also have a huge barbecue (you need to supply the charcoal briquettes) on wheels!
  • You can get ice for the ice-chests for free either from the undergrad dining halls or from Red Door (the little room right to the west of main Red Door). Both places have ice-machines.


Please pay for expenses out of your own pocket, and then seek reimbursement. The club does not have a credit card or debit card for this purpose.

  • Moore-Hufstedler Funds (MHF). They fully funded our Wilderness First Aid 2006 and Avalanche Course 2007, for a total of about $10,000 in grants. These are the big guns! They have about 4 deadlines every year. Their board changes periodically so rules change. In general, they do not like to fund several instances of the same event. They also prefer to fund events / purchases that benefit a large number of Caltech students.
  • GSC (Graduate Student Counsel). Due to our healthy finances, we've never had an approved application for yearly club funding. However, it is still possible to get small amounts of funding on short notice for social events.
    • GSC quick funding for up to $300
    • club GUSH (I think this no longer happens)
    • For event proposals and quick-funding, you can submit online, but some on the GSC board prefer proposals in person at the GSC meetings, so you might want to do this to raise the odds in your favor.
  • ASCIT. We received $100 to $300 in general purpose club funding every year from 2006 to 2009.
  • SIF (Student Investment Fund). For capital expenditures. They have been very generous to us for the past three years, giving us about $300 or so each year for gear purchases.
  • Alumni Association. They can sometimes help out, e.g. they added about $100 to our Avalanche Course 2009.
  • Caltech Y. Usually can't provide money, but can offer advice, and co-write MHF grants. We also split the cost of a full set of Tom Harrison maps with them in 2007. They also helped with Wilderness First Aid 2008. The Y is often very happy to co-write large grants to MHF, and their participation in the application almost certainly improves the odds of being accepted.
  • Athletic Department. As of 2010, they provide up to $1000 per club, but only for certain things (i.e. they will not fund invited speakers, or gear purchases, but they may reimburse "registration fees", some travel expenses, and "class tuition"). They are also happy to co-sponsor MHF grants.
  • Tournament of Roses. Haven't provided us funding, but the Y says they once helped them out. From their website: "The Foundation makes annual grants to activities which enhance the traditions of the Tournament of Roses and to worthwhile programs which contribute to the civic, cultural and educational advancement of the Pasadena area. Grants are awarded under the following three categories: Performing & Visual Arts, Sports & Recreation and Volunteer Motivation & Leadership Development."

Bringing speakers to campus

For funding, try the above mentioned general resources. There are some special things to note though:

The MHF no longer funds speakers directly. Instead, interested parties need to contact Tom Mannion (, Assistant VP of Student Affairs) and Dimitrios (Dimitris) Sakellarious (, CFO of Student Affairs) directly to discuss their idea. A sub-committee of MHF then votes on the proposal before it goes to MHF for final verification.


  • We seek to minimize our impact on the environment at events. Consider not providing disposable plates (for pizza, burgers, etc) or cups (get cans and bottles) or better yet, get larger quantity beverages and ask people to bring cups. Always clean up after the events and ensure that cans and bottles end up in the right place.

A letter from the GSC: "The Graduate Student Council is committed to promoting sustainability and reducing environmental impacts of events we sponsor. Therefore, we request that clubs cooperate with our aims by:

  1. Using biodegradable disposables, not plastic. Please contact Jelena at, preferably 1 week before your event, to obtain discounted biodegradable plates/cups/utensils through Caltech Dining.
  2. Print flyers/posters on the back of used paper, and flyer effectively but not excessively. Try to advertise with electronic media as much as possible (e.g. Grad Student News).
  3. Purchase local or organic food products whenever possible.
  4. Remember to reduce/reuse/recycle! Please recycle appropriately (either with Caltech recycling center or recycling bins on campus) after event clean up.

Please keep in mind that subsequent funding for your club will be contingent upon your support of sustainability endeavors.

For a complete description of the GSC’s commitment to sustainability, please refer to: