Event planning resources

Included in this section are best practice processes, resources and contact information available across campus for elements involved in the planning and delivering an event.

In addition to the resources outlined below, the Community Relations and Events team has many years of collective experience planning and implementing events and may be able to act as a consultation resource and support offering advice, information and guidance in your planning process.


It is necessary to ensure that events on campus are accessible to all individuals present for an event, including those with disabilities.

The Council of Ontario Universities’ Accessible Campus has resources to reference regarding accessibility for in-person meetings and events. 

Instructional Technologies and Multimedia Services (ITMS) has created a resource that discusses options for captioning virtual events.

Audio/visual equipment and multimedia services

Instructional Technologies and Multimedia Services (ITMS) offers a range of multi-disciplined resources, state-of-the-art technology, and support services to the campus community. The ITMS department takes client orders, co-ordinates equipment availability, arranges delivery, and initiates operator requests and technical assistance to aid in special event executions of various sizes and scopes.

To request services email waterloostudio@uwaterloo.ca or call the mainline ext. 46784 and provide the following information:

Your name:
Service Request:
Special Instructions:

The pricing of this is usually no cost, but it depends on project needs.

Branding, gifts and wearables

Print + Retail Solutions is the University of Waterloo’s official source for products essential to enhancing the overall event experience incorporating the university’s new identity.

Print + Retail Solutions engages with the university’s brand and community through personalized service, innovative and diversified offerings, and support of the university's mission and goals through various unique, branded event gifts and wearable items.

Check out the W Store; they may also have branded gifts that could support your event.

For special event orders, contact Buyer, Apparel and Custom Order, Erin Pritchard at epritchard@uwaterloo.ca or ext. 35439. 

Catering and hospitality

Exceptional catering is critical to the success of events. Catering & Event Services serves the University of Waterloo and the Kitchener-Waterloo community as a premier choice for both on and off-campus special event catering.

When planning an upcoming event, engage Catering & Events Services and their dedicated team by contacting catering@uwaterloo.ca or ordering online.

Finance, procurement and insurance

When engaging an external supplier or vendor for an event service, it is the university’s goal to ensure any acquisitions and contracts are executed professionally, ethically, efficiently, and transparently.

Procurement and Contract Services can advise, review, and finalize relationships with vendors to ensure institutional standards are met. Get more information by contacting procure@uwaterloo.ca.

When planning an event that involves the general public, it is important to follow university insurance policies to protect against any accidental loss, damage, injury or third-party liability. Please refer to the Procurement and Contract Services webpage for more information about insurance forms, grant reviews, etc.

Health and safety

Ensuring that event guests, staff and volunteers are safe throughout an event is an essential responsibility of the organizing team.

The Safety Office serves as a Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) resource to assist members of the university community in meeting their obligations to provide a safe, healthy work and event environment. 

For health and safety procedures and protocols that apply to on-campus events, please visit the Safety Office Procedures.

There are also other resources that campus event planners can use as emergency resources; these include the following:

  • Developed in partnership between UW Special Constable Services and the Safety Office, the WatSAFE app for mobile devices was created to keep you connected to campus and informed of major campus emergency events. To learn more about the app, please visit WatSAFE.
  • For information regarding the University's policies for how to respond in the event of an emergency on-campus, please reference the University's Emergency Response Plan.
  • First Aid training is provided to the University's staff by the Safety Office a couple of times throughout each term. The training takes one day to complete. Dates for the course can be found through Workday (Learning > Browse learning > Search "First Aid" > Enroll and Submit). Contact the Safety Office for additional enrolment support. 
  • Campus fire evacuation procedures can be found on the Safety Office's emergency procedures. To obtain a campus map outlining fire routes, please visit the Fire Safety website.

Marketing and communications

The University of Waterloo's brand and reputation are valuable strategic resources, with the potential to impact every element of an event. Responsibility for articulating and delivering the institution’s central messages in a clear, consistent, engaging and strategic manner is shared across five functional units under University Relations.

When preparing to integrate messaging and content into an event that touches on the university’s brand and impacts its reputation, consult the appropriate unit:

Parking Services

Parking Services recognizes that all students, faculty,  staff and community members are welcome to park in designated lots across campus. Considering the parking needs for an event as they relate to date, time, capacity, and directional signage is important to the overall success of an event experience and the ever-increasing demands of our growing community.

For special event parking requests or more information regarding on-campus parking policies, contact uparking@uwaterloo.ca.

Photography and multimedia

The original instant message – more powerful than a thousand words, a photograph can impact an event by drawing in the viewer and illuminating event material and distilling an event theme into a single image.

To arrange a consultation, book a photography session for an event, or to take an event story beyond the ordinary told through the power of video, contact Creative Services at creative@uwaterloo.ca or call at 519-888-4567, ext. 31759.

If you plan to feature external event participants and attendees prominently in photography and video footage promoting your event, with the option of utilizing the resources for promotional purposes at a later date, participants are required to authorize the use of their image by signing a model release form. Likewise, if you plan to incorporate generic event photography and videography without prominently featuring individual attendees or involving a video interview, you can visibly display an un-signed notice of photography (PDF) waiver on-site. 

Plant Operations and Central Stores

Events require manpower, and as the University of Waterloo’s largest support department, Plant Operations provides a number of services to deliver the resources to assist with event execution.

Work Requests are required for requested building alterations, grounds and custodial work, parking and directional signage placement, etc. Completed Work Request forms can be sent to Plant Operations by emailing pltops.workrequests@uwaterloo.ca or mailing to Work Requests, Plant Operations, GSC.

Central Stores provides a variety of logistical support services to students, faculty and staff across campus. Submit a Work Request online for furniture and heavy equipment moving, storage, bulk mailing, shipping, receiving, etc.  

For more information on bulk mailing, contact Antonio Chaves at achaves@uwaterloo.ca or ext. 32034.

For more information on storage options, furniture and heavy equipment moving, contact Tony Bairos at tbairos@uwaterloo.ca or ext. 36305, or submit a Move Request Form online.

Tents: Process and permits

A building permit is required for tents on campus that are:

  • more than 60 sq.m (646 sq.ft) in area (single tent), or

  • more than 60 sq.m (646 sq.ft) in combined area (tents in a group), or

  • attached to a building, or

  • assembled less than 3m (9’-10”) from other buildings/structures

To obtain a building permit from the City a work request must be submitted to Plant Operations a minimum of 6 weeks before event date (initiate a “Billable Work Request”). The building permit fee must be paid by the work request originator as the fee is not covered by Plant Operations. The current building permit fee is listed on the City of Waterloo website.

After submitting the Work Request for the building permit, please email Safety Office (safety@uwaterloo.ca) to initiate the creation of a Fire Safety Plan for the tent. This process also requires 6 weeks for approval from Waterloo Fire Rescue.

Special Constable Service

University of Waterloo Special Constable Services is committed to promoting and upholding the university's policies and practices while working in partnership with the campus community to provide safe and secure event environments.

UW Special Constable Services can be engaged for various event services, including providing security expertise for visiting VIPs or dignitaries, working with the RCMP and/or Waterloo Region Police Service to ensure security measures are met, volunteer Criminal Check assessment, and on-site event presence. To arrange these services and other interactions from UW Special Constable Services, contact uwpolice@uwaterloo.ca or call at 519-888-4911 ext. 22222

In an event emergency, contact the UW Special Constable Services dispatch line by calling 519-888-4911 or ext. 22222, or by e-mailing uwpolice@uwaterloo.ca.  

The Campus Response Team (CRT) is also available for on-site event presence to ensure the supervision and safety of guests. Submit a CRT Coverage Request Form at least 14 days in advance of an event to request CRT presence.

Registration and invitations

Be it physical or online, an event invitation sets a powerful platform for an event's overall success.

The University of Waterloo strives to engage its campus and community through the power of customized event communications and invitations. Enhance an event and support the university’s brand and identity with specific imagery and messaging by engaging Creative Services design team to template a custom event invitation, formatted as a PDF, HTML or print-ready file. 

For more information, contact Creative Services at creative@uwaterloo.ca or call at 519-888-4567, ext. 31759.

As important as the invitation itself is the corresponding registration system that captures attendance for an event. The university’s Digital Communications team can support in the creation of customized online event registration pages in the WCMS that will capture, track and save all detailed event attendee information. A WCMS course will need to be taken to gain access to edit and create the WCMS webform.


On-campus signage can get lost or become merely a maze of information without form, direction or impact. The design of event signs for drivers, pedestrians and general guests adds the focus that directs and emphasizes the event message and creates a cohesive look-and-feel across all event locations.

To print on-campus directional signage placed around campus or Ring Rd. by Plant Operations, contact Creative Services at creative@uwaterloo.ca or call at 519-888-4567, ext. 31759.

For signage within a building to print yourself, please find a sample template in Planning tools.

Staffing and volunteers

When planning an event, it is important to consider the appropriate number of volunteers and staff needed to manage implementation effectively.  

Each year the Visitors Centre hires enthusiastic students as Student Ambassadors, providing paid event support to enhance an event experience. For more information on staffing Student Ambassadors, contact the Visitors Centre vcinfo@uwaterloo.ca.

For more information and opportunities to connect with student volunteers across campus, contact the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) at 226 243-6643 or recept@wusa.ca.

Venues and floor plans

The University of Waterloo boasts a variety of unique event venues set within an esteemed academic environment.

Refer to the Plant Operations building floor plans for venue schematics

Visiting dignitary protocol

Visiting dignitaries to the University of Waterloo campus can present an excellent opportunity for students, faculty and staff to engage in intellectual exchange with important local, national, or international figures. It also demands heightened attention to security and/or protocol and requires coordination with government offices and agencies and the university office of Government Relations.

Contact Kerri Behling, Senior Manager of Government Relations, to act as the designated campus point of contact for all events involving a local, national or international dignitary.

Events involving international dignitaries and heads of state are also coordinated through Waterloo International. For information on the university’s connections and international relationships related to visiting dignitaries contact International at waterloo.international@uwaterloo.ca.