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Northwestern University Outdoor Events Form

Welcome to the Northwestern University Outdoor Event Request Form

Please read the following prior to submitting an outdoor event request. Contact the Norris University Center Event Management Office at 847-491-2330 with any questions you may have.

Only Northwestern University departments and recognized student organizations may make outdoor event requests. Although there is generally no fee associated with an outdoor event, each request must include a valid CUFS or SOFO number, which will be used should the space be damaged or improperly cleaned after your event.

Complete requests must be submitted before 5:00 PM on the fifth business day prior to the planned event. The five days will start from the time that the administrator has all of the information necessary to process the request, not five days from the initial submission.

Notice: If your event requires permits, certificates of insurance, security officers, or electricity, complete requests must be submitted two weeks before the event. Events with a bonfire, amplified sound, tent, or certain types of food service require a permit from City of Evanston, and events using an outside vendor require certificates of insurance.

Approval Process

Each event is reviewed for initial, secondary, and final approval before the event is approved and placed on the official event calendar.

Once an event is submitted, it is reviewed for initial approval to ensure the basic necessary information has been provided. Additional departments are then consulted before secondary approval is granted. You may be contacted for additional information.

The event will receive final approval and be placed on the event calendar only after all necessary information is collected and examined by all affected departments. The approval process, on average, takes at least 5 business days. Depending upon the conditions placed on your event, the approval process can take up to 2-3 weeks.

Throughout the review process, updates regarding the status of your request will be sent to the individual identified as the contact person in the request.

Request Form Changes

To change any part of your event request, including contact information, please cancel your previous submission and re-create the event. Norris recommends that you verify and confirm all of your event information before submitting your outdoor event request.

Food and Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages must be supplied and served by a licensed caterer. The name of the caterer must be entered on your request form.

Your organization may purchase and prepare (grill) food for your event except for events at the Norris Center, the Athletic Fields and the Beach. If your group is going to sell hot food, you must call Carla Bush (Director, Health and Human Services Department - City of Evanston) at 847-866-2948 and receive instructions on health standards.

Please indicate on your form whether you are providing your own food or having a caterer. All caterers must have a current Certificate of Insurance on file with the University.



Any outside vendor you contract to provide goods or services on campus must provide Northwestern with a certificate of insurance approved by the Northwestern Director of Risk Management. Outside vendors include—among others—caterers, tent companies, radio stations, large-scale toy rental companies, and others. Your event request must list all outside vendors serving your event.

Each certificate must show that the vendor has commercial general liability in the amount of at least $3 million per occurrence and must name Northwestern University as an additionally insured party.

When establishing their certificates, companies often add custom language for your event, so please allow two weeks in your process to obtain this certificate.

Copies of all certificates of insurance must be sent to Norris Event Management Office before your event may receive final approval. You may submit your permits to or fax them to 847-491-4333.


Events involving a bonfire, amplified sound, tent, or certain types of food service require a food permit from the City of Evanston. Most permits are free and available at

Copies of all permits must be sent to Norris Event Management Office before your event may receive final approval. You may submit your permits to or fax them to 847-491-4333.


Please indicate on your form whether you are providing your own food or hiring a caterer. All alcoholic beverages must be supplied and served by a licensed caterer.

Your organization may hire a caterer or purchase and prepare food for your event in any location except the Norris Center lawns, the athletic fields, and the North Beach, which require exclusive catering arrangements. Please see the policies for those locations for details.

If your event will include the sale of hot food, you must also call Carla Bush, Director of the Evanston Health and Human Services Department, at 847-866-2984, to receive instructions for health standards.


Bonfires are restricted to the Lakefill Fire Pit. Your organization must supply the wood and have a fire extinguisher on site at all times. All bonfires must end at 11:00 pm.

Bonfires require a bonfire permit, which may be obtained by visiting the the City of Evanston web site at A fee is associated with obtaining this permit. Allow at least two weeks for processing. Fire permits are not required for grilling food on a gas, electric, or charcoal grill.


Events with amplified sound are restricted to the east side of Sheridan Road and must end before 10:00 PM on Sunday through Thursday and before 11:00 PM on Friday or Saturday.

Events using amplified sound require a free loud speaker permit, which may be obtained at Allow at least two weeks for processing.


Tents are not permitted on the Athletic Recreational Fields.

Events with tents require a tent permit from the City of Evanston, which assesses a $30 fee. You or your tent vendor may apply for the permit by calling 847-866-2931. You or your vendor must also contact J.U.L.I.E., the Illinois locater service that identifies underground cables, at 800-892-0123 to obtain the “dig number” required for the permit.


Event sponsors must arrange for security, if required, at least two weeks in advance of the event. If you are unsure if security is required, please consult with Northwestern University Police Officers Ken Jones or David Schultz at 847-491-3456. University Police are the only personnel authorized to secure events on campus.

Event requests are reviewed by the Northwestern University Police who evaluate security needs. If necessary, the University Police will inform you of the number of officers required to secure your event and what specific duties they will perform.

To arrange for security to work your event, please visit All costs associated with hiring security are the responsibility of the sponsoring group. Officers are normally scheduled to arrive in advance of the event and will remain until the event is over and the venue is cleared.


Northwestern Facilities Management must receive all electrical requirements for outdoor events at least two weeks prior to the event. Facilities Management is not responsible for incomplete or late requests.

Contact Facilities Management at 847-491-5201 to discuss the electrical needs for your event.


Car washes may only be scheduled for weekends in the Garrett Parking Lot. Event sponsors must request hoses and valve control tools for car washes by contacting Northwestern Facilities Management at 847-491-5201 at least two weeks prior to the event. Although the equipment use is free, billing information must be submitted so that it is available in case of damage or lost equipment.

Location-Specific Information


To confirm availability prior to submitting your event request, please obtain a scheduling commitment for your location from the Director of Club Sports at 847-491-4603, since the Recreational Fields and Long Field primarily support Intramural and Club Sport activities. This system cannot accurately determine the availability of these locations when you submit your event.

To ensure the quickest response to your event request, include your agreement with the Director of Club Sports in the description of our event when completing your outdoor event request.

  • Tents are prohibited on the Recreational Fields.
  • Sodexo Sports and Leisure has exclusive catering rights on the Athletic Fields. Please contact Robert Ryder at or 7-7070 for more information.


No reservation is required to paint The Rock.

Promotional Events: To reserve The Rock for simple promotional events, such as passing out flyers and publicizing events, please contact the Norris Events Management Office directly at 847-491-2330.

Programming Events: To reserve The Rock for promotional events, such as fundraisers with food, rallies, speeches, concerts, or events with amplified sound, please complete an outdoor event request using this system. Please be aware that this system cannot accurately determine if The Rock is available if it has already been reserved for a promotional event.

  • If any type of food is part your event at The Rock, an outdoor event request must be submitted.
  • Amplified sound is only permitted after 5:00 PM on weekdays and all day on weekends.
  • Events may not disturb university business taking place in any adjacent buildings or surrounding areas. Event organizers must immediately comply with any university official’s request to adjust noise levels at the event. The Northwestern University Police may be called to resolve disputes. Furniture may not be removed from any adjacent facility and placed at the Rock.


Events at the North Beach require a beach manager and lifeguard. The fee for this service will be charged to the CUFS or SOFO number listed in your event request. Final arrangements for beach staff must be made with the Director of Aquatics and Waterfront Operations by calling 847-467-1470. Sodexo Sports and Leisure has exclusive catering rights on Athletic Fields, including North Beach. Please contact Robert Ryder at or 7-7070 for more information.

  • Alcohol is not permitted on the beach when it is open to the public, which is from 7AM-8PM between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
  • Fires are not permitted on the beach.


Deering Meadow is not currently a space which can be reserved by any organization.


The large lawn south of the Ford Building is managed by Garrett Seminary. Events requested for this area will require a $75 use fee paid to Garrett Seminary. Alcohol is not permitted for events at this venue.


Due to various air intake pumps around the building, grills are not allowed on the Tech Patio or Courtyard.


Requesting “Lakefill” will reserve the entire Lakefill, including Southpoint, the Fire Pit, and Northpoint. Combined, this will accommodate over 1,000 people.

For events with fewer people, please specifically request a particular location on the Lakefill - North Point, South Point, or Fire Pit.


For any race or 5k taking place on campus, waivers must be signed by all participants and returned to the Office of Risk Management after completion of the event. Waivers will be emailed to the organizer upon initial approval.

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Questions? Comments? Please contact:

Norris Events Planning