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Getting Back Together

In-person student activities for spring 2021

In-person activities are central to the Penn State student experience. Therefore, we are working hard to restore Penn State's robust in-person student experience while following evolving public health guidelines and government mandates. We have designed a four-phase approach that will allow us to: 

  • Provide a process and guidelines for limited in-person activities on campus
  • Offer more substantial hybrid and remote offerings
  • Incrementally expand in-person opportunities through the semester as the virus and the government mandates allow
We are currently in Phase One. Please reference this phase below for current guidance.
Phase 1 Image

The Four Phases

We have outlined the four phases that will provide guidance for activities as we move through the spring semester. It's important to note that while we hope to incrementally move through these phases toward greater in-person engagement, we can also move backward based on government mandates, virus progression as well as the level of compliance on campus. 

During all phases, the following will apply:

Phase 1

The first phase will allow for some in-person activities but will also focus on expanding remote and hybrid activities for students who are studying remotely this semester or are not comfortable attending in-person activities.

All in-person activities will be required to follow masking, distancing, and occupancy mandates. Activities will be subject to time limits and groups must keep track of participants. No food will be allowed in phase one. ​All meetings and events must be approved by the vice president for Student Affairs. Student Affairs staff will monitor activities and student organization advisors are strongly encouraged to participate.  

  • Student organizations can hold small group, in-person meetings/events with prior approval.

  • The HUB-Robeson Center, the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, and Schwab Auditorium​ will have rooms available for small group, in-person meetings/events.

  • Groups can reserve one room per week for up to one hour for a meeting or event. 

  • Outdoor activities will be strongly encouraged and the University will work to make equipment and other resources available. 

  • Campus Recreation facilities will reopen with reduced occupancy, a reservation process, and appropriate programming limitations.

  • Residence halls will expand small group activities. ​ ​

Phase 2

The second phase will allow for additional in-person activities but will still emphasize remote and hybrid activities.

All in-person activities will be required to follow masking, distancing, and occupancy mandates. Groups must keep track of participants. No food will be allowed in phase two. ​All activities must be approved by designated staff and will be monitored by Public Health Ambassadors and Student Affairs staff. Student organization advisors are still strongly encouraged to participate.  

  • Student organizations can hold small group, in-person meetings/events with prior approval.

  • In-person activities will be limited to 90 minutes. 

  • Performing arts groups will be able to practice within limits.

  • More facilities will be available to student organizations, including classrooms in the Forum and Willard Buildings. 

  • Rooms in classroom buildings can only be reserved one time per day and can only be reserved up until 10:00 p.m. 

  • Indoor tabling will be permitted with some restrictions. Organizations can reserve a table for up to 90 minutes. 

  • Outdoor activities will be strongly encouraged and the University will work to make equipment and other resources available. 

Phase 3

The third phase will allow for additional in-person activities with an emphasis on outdoor activities as the weather improves.

All in-person activities will be required to follow masking, distancing, and occupancy mandates. Groups must keep track of participants. ​Activities must be approved by designated staff and spot-checking will occur to ensure compliance. 

  • Student organizations can hold small group, in-person meetings/events with prior approval.

  • Musical and other performing arts groups can perform before limited in-person audiences in a manner consistent with public health requirements. ​

  • Student organizations will be allowed to offer prepackaged food during meetings/events.

  • Additional spaces will begin to open for student organization activities. ​ 

  • The University will erect tents at key locations to encourage outdoor activities as the weather improves.

  • Campus Recreation will offer more opportunities for group fitness and other activities will continue to expand, including limited competition and more outdoor events.​

  • There will be increased opportunities for modified student retreats on campus​.

Phase 4

The fourth phase will focus on the continued expansion of in-person activities with a strong emphasis on outdoor activities.

All in-person activities will be required to follow masking, distancing, and occupancy mandates. Groups must keep track of participants. ​Meetings and events must be approved by designated staff and spot-checking will occur to ensure compliance. 

  • The University will expand in-person activities​ and take advantage of improving weather for additional outdoor activities. 
  • The University will simplify the approval and reporting processes for activities to allow students to better focus on and take part in the experiences. 

How can I request an in-person meeting or event for my organization? 

Student Organizations must take the following steps to request a meeting/event:

  • Reserve a space in 25Live, noting the new occupancy limits for rooms 
  • Identify a mechanism for tracking attendance (OrgCentral)
  • Submit a form for approval by Student Affairs; this form must be submitted at least 7 days prior to your activity in order to be approved on time
  • Follow the program registration process as required

When planning for an in-person meeting or event, you must consider:

  • Appropriate distance requirements based on your activity (Note: some performing arts and physical activities require greater distancing)
  • Room occupancy limits 
  • Masking for all attendees
  • Tracking attendees for contact tracing purpose

    Tracking meeting/event attendees

    Students should use OrgCentral to require RSVPs for your event as well as for tracking participants. For more information on how to use OrgCentral, visit our OrgCentral Management page under OrgCentral Event/Meeting Assistance. 

    Assistance with meeting/event costs

    In order to assist student organizations in planning in-person meetings and events the University and the University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC) are removing costs for some services:

    • Student organizations can book larger spaces in the HUB for organization meetings within two weeks of the reservation date at no cost (this includes Flex Theater, Heritage Hall, Alumni Hall, Freeman Auditorium, and Room 302). Note: fees still apply for event bookings.
    • UPAC is waiving the requirement that organizations contribute 10 percent of the total cost of a program for the spring 2021 semester.
    • Some audiovisual equipment will be available at no cost to assist in hosting hybrid meetings and events in the HUB-Robeson Center. contact the HUB Event Management Office with questions. 
      • HUB Laptop (includes internal mic and camera)
      • HUB Conference Phone
      • HUB Speakerphone
      • HUB Webcam

    What happens if students do not follow these guidelines for in-person events? 

    Please keep in mind the commitment you made to follow the basic public health mandates outlined in Penn State's Coronavirus Compact

    During each phase, in-person events on campus will be monitored - first by staff and student organization advisors, then in later phases by Public Health Ambassadors. 

    We strongly encourage student organizations to take the following actions with all in-person activities. 

    • Include a University statement of event requirements in all advertisements, written communication, and social media posts for your event. 
    • Orally review event requirements at the beginning of the event.

    If an attendee or student organization fails to adhere to the requirements during an event, the following steps should be taken: 

    • Remind the participant or organization of the requirement and the reason for it: safety. 
    • Provide a University mask to the participant, if available.  
    • Remind the participant that their non-compliance is a violation of event requirements and of the Student Code of Conduct.  
    • Ask the participant to either comply or to leave the event immediately.  
    • If the participant fails to comply, student organization leadership and/or advisor/faculty/staff may cancel the event and refer the individuals to the Office of Student Conduct. 

    Should an emergency situation develop that you feel cannot be resolved by cancelling the event, please call University Police and Public Safety (911) for assistance.   

    Once the immediate situation is resolved, a referral should be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct