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Event Planning

Event Reservations

Reservations Overview

The majority of spaces on campus must be reserved for use through a centralized process. The Registrar, Event & Classroom Management, and Wilson Commons Student Activities work together to coordinate the reservation process. Through the centralized process, the Registrar assigns rooms for courses; departments and student organizations request space utilizing Virtual EMS. Reservations will be granted to departments and recognized student organizations, not individual student. Please click here for information on how to form a recognized student organization. Student Organizations can request rooms, within building hours, which are available in Virtual EMS for regular or weekly meetings. Should a student organization need a room outside of building hours, for a one-time special event, the organization would need to discuss the need with their advisor. If found appropriate, the advisor would submit the request through the appropriate department reservation procedure.

Through the centralized process, reservations can be requested in the following locations:

  • Classrooms in academic buildings, including computer classrooms
  • The Campus Center – Wilson Commons and Douglass Commons
  • Spurrier
  • O’Brien Hall
  • Genesee Hall
  • Rettner Atrium
  • Strong Auditorium
  • Some outdoor locations

Contacts for other locations on campus including the library, athletic center, and chapel are available here. (

Reservation Contacts

All CRN related course reservations should go through the Registrar’s Office. All departments and non-UR groups should contact Event and Classroom Management.

Wilson Commons Student Activities manages requests for student organizations. Student organizations submit requests through Virtual EMS. Questions about account set-up and reservation processes for student organizations should be directed to the Reservation Coordinator.

Reservation Timeline

November – February
  • Reservation requests for summer programs are submitted and confirmed based on priorities set by The College.
  • Key dates determined for following academic year. 
  • Reservation requests submitted via Virtual EMS for events for the academic year are submitted.
  • Reservation requests for large events reviewed and confirmed. 
  • Reservation requests submitted by Burgett Intercultural Center and Language Center for 3rd and 4th floor Douglass Commons rooms.
  • Courses for the fall semester are scheduled.
  • Burgett Intercultural Center and Language Center reservation requests are confirmed for the 3rd and 4th floor Douglass Commons rooms.
  • Reservations requests for meetings/rehearsals/information sessions are submitted for the following academic year. Spring semester requests in locations that are used for courses or performances will not be processed until after spring courses have been scheduled.
  • Confirmations are made for meetings/rehearsals/information sessions for the Fall semester.
  • Courses for the following summer are scheduled.
  • Courses for the following spring semester are scheduled.
  • CETL will place requests and receive confirmations for Genesee Hall rooms (308, 309, 321, and 323).
  • Spring semester events that were not previously submitted should be submitted for processing before the end of the month.
  • Spring semester requests for meetings/rehearsals/information sessions in locations that are used for courses or performances will be confirmed.

No non-UR groups will be permitted to reserve space through the centralized system between Spring Break through Commencement or during the month of July each year.

  • Departments and non-UR groups may book space further in advance if the requested time is during an academic break.

Reservation Priorities and Policies

Academic courses, University events, and Community Weekends receive priority through the centralized reservation system. Individual spaces on campus might have other priorities or policies assigned to that particular space. Different activities must have particular guidelines also. Click here to view building and activity specific policies.

Frederick Douglass Commons

Meeting Rooms - These rooms are located on the 3rd and 4th floor of Douglass Commons – 302, 307, 308, 404, 419, 420, 403, and 401. Language and CAS courses may be placed in all rooms except for 401. No academic courses will be scheduled in 403 after 4:40pm. During the advance reservation request process, the Burgett Intercultural Center and Language Center will receive first preference regarding these rooms. When there are no reservations for these meeting rooms, they can be utilized by anyone with a valid UR ID.

Community Kitchen - During the advance reservation request process, the Burgett Intercultural Center and Language Center will receive first preference for kitchen utilization. An individual who has successfully completed the kitchen training must be present if the reservation involves using the kitchen as a cooking space. The room may also be reserved for meetings.

Community Room - During the advance reservation request process, the Burgett Intercultural Center and Language Center will receive first preference for this space. An event or meeting might be relocated to a similar location, if there is an urgent community concern that arises and a space for a dialogue hosted by the Burgett Intercultural Center is needed.

Computer Room – Students enrolled in language classes must sign in at the Language Center in order to access the space and sign out any needed materials or keyboards specific to the language they are studying.

Meditation Room – Monday through Friday from 7:30am-7:00pm, the Meditation Room is open for individual prayer and meditation use. Outside of these hours, reservations may be placed for activities appropriate for a Meditation Room. Shoes are not allowed in this room and the shoe cubbies should be used for storage. This room should not be used as a study room and food/drink is prohibited.

Green Room – If this space is needed in conjunction with an event in the Douglass Ballroom, meetings may be relocated to another appropriate space.

Ballroom – Priority is given to events hosted by student organizations or whom the primary audience is students.

3rd Floor Public Lounge – This space features comfortable, moveable seating as well as an electric fireplace. This is for general use and is not available for reserving.

Wilson Commons

After University events and Community Weekends, student organizations receive first priority in Wilson Commons. Ongoing courses will not be scheduled in Wilson Commons. A course can request a single date or two in Wilson Commons, if the course activity would be better suited in Wilson Commons than a traditional classroom setting.

Meeting Rooms – These rooms are located on the first, second, fourth, and fifth floor of the building – 104, 121, 122, Stackel, 407, 503, 504, and 507. Rooms are not available for use without a reservation. Room 104 is not available on Sundays during the academic year as it is reserved for the Campus Times.

Gowen Room – This room is located on the second floor of Wilson Commons. This room has fixed stadium seating, built in A/V, a podium, a chalkboard, and a piano for your use. Two tables are located at the front of the room in order to place food or handouts on.

Havens Lounge – This room is located on the third floor of Wilson Commons across the foot bridge by Starbucks. This space is equipped with moveable, comfortable chairs. There is built in A/V and tables available for use. This space is not suitable for events involving animals.

Hirst Lounge – This space has comfortable couches and chairs along one side with round tables and dining chairs throughout the space. The chairs and tables can be removed by a member from Event and Classroom Management if prior arrangements have been made. Those individuals using the Information Tables at the front of the space can be “bumped” to the tables on the first floor if there is a large event in the space.

May Room – This is a performance venue located on the fourth floor of Wilson Commons. Regular rehearsals can occur in this space but are subject to the rehearsals policy below.

Ruth Merrill Lounge – This is on the first floor of Wilson Commons. This space features comfortable couches and small end tables. At this time, Audio/Visual equipment is not standard, but is available upon request.

Starbucks – This space features comfortable couches and is inside of Starbucks dining center. It is not available for reservation, but events do take place in the space.

Starbucks Lounge – This space is on the third floor. It features comfortable couches and small tables, as well as tall tables with dining chairs. The lounge is not available for reservation.


Dance Studio - First priority in the O’Brien Dance Studio during business hours (9:00am-5:00pm) goes to Music Department and Dance Program CRN-tied courses. First priority for evening hours is reservations for SA-recognized groups. All other requests are addressed in order of receipt. Walk-up reservations are welcome when the spaces are not previously reserved.

Music Room – This room is prioritized on first come first served basis. Features include: Flat Panel Display (A/V equipment), Upright Piano, Whiteboard, moveable tables and chairs.

Conference Room – This room is prioritized on first come first served basis. Features include: Flat Panel Display (A/V equipment), Whiteboard, moveable tables and chairs.

Jackson Court Fireplace – This space is an outdoor location outside of O’Brien Hall. In order to use the fireplace, organizations must have a fire trained individual who is present for the entire duration of the reservation. Supplies can be picked up from the O’Brien Front Desk when an appropriate reservation is made.

Genesee Hall

  • Registrar can schedule workshops and CAS courses in Genesee Hall 308, 309, 321, and 323.
  • These activities will be confirmed in Genesee Hall spaces by November 15th and June 15th, respectively, for the upcoming semester.
  • For two weeks after courses are confirmed, CETL will have the ability to place requests for study groups.
  • Other requests for these 4 rooms will be confirmed after workshops and CETL activities.
  • Workshops and study groups will not be regularly scheduled in Genesee 325.
  • 3rd floor public lounge

Rettner Attrium

Rettner Attrium is connected to Rettner 307. Noise bleed is something to consider when booking Rettner Attrium or 307. To use the video wall in the atrium, contact Event Support.

Goergen Attrium

Goergen Attrium is an open space; noise bleed is considered when booking. Event Support should be contacted to move or re-arrange the furniture.

Strong Auditorium

Upper - The Music Department has priority all day Monday and Tuesday and until 7:30pm on Wednesday each week, for CRN-tied large ensemble rehearsals. Wednesday evening (starting 7:30pm) through Sunday, priority is given to event programming. These events include Music Department programs (given priority as CRN-tied ensembles), Student Group performances, and programming for the River Campus and Rochester communities. Performance dates for Upper Strong Auditorium are determined each spring for the following school year by the Music Department and WCSA. The Wilson Commons Reservation Coordinator and the Registrar’s Office schedulers coordinate closely regarding the Strong Auditorium schedule, for example, there is a class that meets weekly on Sunday afternoons in Upper Strong.

Lower - This is a classroom location and therefore priority is given to CRN-tied classes and ensembles. However, due to noise transfer from the upper auditorium, it must be scheduled in tandem with Upper Strong to prevent disruption of and from classes and programmed events.


Dance Studio - Priority is for the Program of Dance and Movement at all times. This includes CRN-tied Dance classes, performances, and workshops. Fridays and Saturdays, the next priority is for performance events with approval from the Program of Dance and Movement. Finally, all other requests are addressed in order of receipt. All use of Spurrier Dance Studio must adhere to regulations set forth by the Program of Dance and Movement, and access is only permitted with a signed contract on file indicating agreement to these regulations. The contract can be found here.

Gym - Varsity Athletics reservations have top priority; second is Club Sports; third is all other requests in the order they are received. The Gym is only available for University community use. Reservations from outside entities will not be accepted.

Den – During the advance reservation process, first preference is given to Greek organizations (fraternities and sororities); second is the Program of Dance and Movement; and third is all other requests. Following the advance reservation period, requests will be processed in the order with which they are received.

Music Room – This is based on the order of receipt of requests. This is a newly developed location. In the event that difficulties arise due to high demand for the space, priority may be revisited.

Outdoor Locations

Dandelion Square – This space features the clock tower and a brick laid area. Reservations can be made for this space.

Eastman Quadrangle - This location is only reserved for Commencement and Orientation. The Eastman Quadrangle can be reserved by express permission of the Office of the President along with coordination with University Facilities Horticulture and Grounds.

Graham Smith Plaza – This space is an outdoor location between Wilson and Douglass Commons. The space features picnic tables and can be reserved.

The Grove – This space features a swing set, picnic tables, and an outdoor charcoal grill. Reservations can be made for this space.

Wilson Front Porch – This space is on the front of Wilson Commons. It features a brick floor with stairs leading up to it. Reservations can be made in this space.

Wilson Quadrangle – This space is a large grassy field outside of Wilson Commons. It can be reserved for large outdoor events.


Many organizations schedule weekly recurring rehearsals in Wilson Commons. WCSA has a policy of six hours per organization per week for rehearsal time. This is to ensure all dace organizations have equal opportunity to submit reservations in the limited number of rehearsal space. An email will be sent out to all dance organizations and committees outlining a 2 week period when Virtual EMS is open for the primary 6 hour reservation period. After that 2 week period has ended, and each organization has received a confirmation email for their primary 6 hour reservation submission, Virtual EMS will open for dance organizations and committees to submit requests for additional rehearsal reservations. Rehearsal reservation requests over 10 hours per week must be approved by the organization’s advisor.

Recurring rehearsal reservations scheduled in performance venues may be “bumped” for a special event or performance. WCSA attempts to avoid this circumstance, and when possible an alternate location will be scheduled. The contact person for the rehearsal reservation will be notified via email. Rehearsal reservations will not be “bumped” if the reservation is within two weeks of the organization’s show

For shows in Strong Auditorium, organizations may schedule a dress rehearsal and tech meeting with ECM prior to the show.

Study Hours

For a course-related student request, the student must bring the request to their instructor/academic department. If the department wishes to grant the request, the department will then place the request through Virtual EMS. Student Organizations are able to submit reservation requests for Study Hours. A member of the organization, acting as the responsible party, must be present for the entire duration of your reservation. There is to be no more than eight hours of study hours per week and no more than four hours at a time per day (please see below for building specific policies). You are responsible for the space during your reservation and any damage incurred during your reservation is your organization’s responsibility. Study hours can be moved or canceled for special events and the contact person will be notified via email. Study hours will not be processed until after the first full week of classes.

Frederick Douglass Commons and Genesee Hall – Weekly study reservations sponsored by a student organization may be scheduled for up to three hours per week. There are no extended study hour blocks during reading period and final exams. Rooms are available for studying for individuals or unaffiliated groups when there are no reservations in the room during open building hours. However, individuals must leave the room for any reservation scheduled in that room. All general study hour guideline listed above must be followed.

Wilson Commons – There are no study hours permitted in Wilson Commons.

Weekly Religious Services

For any weekly meetings, Chapel-advised organizations are encouraged to first seek meeting space in the Chapel. In order to request recurring meeting space in The Campus Center, Chapel-advised organizations must show that the Chapel does not have availability for that meeting time. All organizations are welcome to schedule meetings in classroom locations.

Non-University Entities

If an organization is making a reservation for, or co-sponsoring an event with, a non-University entity, the organization must be present for the duration of the reservation. Standard student organization/department pricing may not apply. For any student organization in this situation, please consult with the organization’s advisor.

If you represent a non-University entity, or do not have sponsorship from a University entity, you must follow standard rental procedures. Rental includes a Facility Use Agreement (contract) between the client and the University of Rochester. Client is required to provide Proof of Insurance documentation with the University of Rochester listed as “additional insured” in the amount commensurate with the event type as set forth by University Risk Management. Room rental charges apply in addition to any charges incurred for Facilities Support, Event Support labor, and equipment rental.

Credit card vendors are not permitted to table in Wilson Commons. All vendor contracts are made at the discretion of Wilson Commons Student Activities.

Wilson Commons is supportive of Girl and Boy Scouts. Scouting organizations may reserve information table space in Wilson Commons at no charge for one table date per troop per year. The troop must adhere to all Wilson Commons tabling policies. Any additional reservations may be made at the standard Vendor rate of $30 per table location per day.