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Farm Fest (AKA Farm Days), 2022. Credit: Micaela Go

White Plaza Policies and Protocol

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Learn about the policies and protocols regarding White Plaza, including what is prohibited. Reminder that all events and activities in White Plaza must follow the policies outlined and are for registered Stanford student organizations and recognized University departments, schools, and institutes. 

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Events and Activities Prohibited in White Plaza

Due to Stanford's non-profit and educational trust status, the following events and activities are prohibited in White Plaza:

  • For-profit commercial activity or corporate promotions.
  • Events and activities in support of or for opposition to political candidates or campaigns, except for those limited activities specifically provided for in this policy. White Plaza is one of the academic centers of campus, so those planning to hold events there should take particular care to avoid disruptive impact on classes, university business or events in the surrounding buildings, especially during the typical work day, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Events in White Plaza must be organized by University recognized departments or student organizations and require prior approval from Office of Student Engagement (OSE).
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Policies and Protocol

Definition, Boundaries, and Map

White Plaza is the outdoor area stretching from the Barnum Family Center to the front of Dinkelspiel Auditorium. Adjacent spaces not considered part of White Plaza are the Old Union Courtyard, the Tresidder Union patio, the front steps of the Bookstore, Canfield Court, and the turnabout at the Clock Tower. 

  • Due to the importance of access and public safety, events or activities must not impede pedestrian or bicycle traffic and may not block fire lanes.

Access a Map of White Plaza

How to Reserve White Plaza

White Plaza is scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis for registered Stanford student organizations and recognized University departments, schools, and institutes only.

White Plaza is managed by Student Affairs Meeting Services (SAMC). Connect with SAMC via email or telephone at 650.723.4314.

Planning Lead Times for Student Events and Activities

Event TypeLead Time
Major campus events that involve support services such as University technical and custodial services, security, special deliveries, parking accommodations, displays and use of much of the White Plaza space. Examples include concerts and fairs.3 Week Minimum
Events that do not require support services described above.2 Week Minimum
Tabling in White Plaza by a recognized University department or a registered student organization.Prior to tabling

Note: Large-scale events or activities outside the normal 12:00 p.m. (noon) to 1:00 p.m. time slot may require additional lead-time in order to arrange logistics and consult with nearby departments regarding impact to their activities.


Costs for an event in White Plaza will vary greatly depending on the nature of the event. Get your equipment rental, technical services, and labor from Event Services, and be sure to file a Grounds work order if you will need electrical connections, sprinkler shutoff, or cleanup services. See our page on Submit Work Orders for more info.

Policies and Usage Guidelines

A-Frames/Sandwich BoardsA-frame advertising not directly related to White Plaza events is prohibited.
AlcoholAlcoholic beverages in White Plaza are strictly prohibited.
Amplified Sound & Other Noise

All activity must comply with campus disruption and noise policies. ​

  • Amplified sound and other loud noise (above 50 decibels) is only permitted between 12:00 p.m. -1:00 p.m. (Monday  Friday) and must be done with prior reservation and approval. With such reservation and approval, it may also be permitted after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends.
  • Localized sound (e.g. low level) is permitted at other times provided it does not disrupt other reserved White Plaza activities or nearby buildings and offices.
  • Intermitent use of megaphones is permitted provided it does not distrupt nearby activities or offices. 
BannersOnly registered student organizations and university departments are eligible to display banners in White Plaza.  Banners must be no larger than 3 feet tall by 8 feet wide and may only be displayed at the  "The Birdcage" hung at least 7 feet high with a clear sponsor on the banner. Banners may be displayed in White Plaza up to a week in advance of the proposed activity and must be removed within 24 hours following the scheduled event. Banners left beyond the timeframe will be removed and thrown away. For activities without an end date, banners may remain in place for 5 working days. Banners do not require prior approval and are on a first come, first serve basis depending on space availability.
ChalkingBlackboard chalking on the ground by Stanford community members is permitted in White Plaza only. Spray chalk is strictly prohibited and will incur a cleaning fee of $250 or more.  White Plaza is one of the few places where chalking is allowed on campus. 
Commercial ActivityCommercial activity, solicitation or other retail activities in White Plaza are governed by the University policy on unrelated business activity. Such activities must directly support the educational mission of the university and be organized by a recognized university entity. Acceptable examples include sales of tickets to university events, organization t-shirts and vendors at cultural fairs or programs. Ongoing retail sales, most food sales and sales unrelated to an educational event are prohibited. All such activities must receive prior university approval through Office of Student Engagement.
ConcertsLarge high impact concerts are generally not allowed in White Plaza. Requests for smaller concert usage must be made with the OSE.
FlyersPosters, placards and flyers may be posted in the following areas: the outside walls of benches surrounding “The Claw,” on the side of the concrete blocks in front of the Birdcage and Main Stage, and designated posting boards and kiosks. Posters and flyers are prohibited: on the ground or sidewalk, bollards, trees, lampposts, bushes, building walls, doors, windows, campus signs or trash cans. Organizations violating this policy will be charged for clean-up,  a minimum of $100.​​
Fountain DyingNone of the fountains on campus, including the Claw, may have liquid dyes of various colors poured into them. These dyes have the potential to damage to the tile, grout and plumbing systems. There is a once-annual exception for official Big Game Week campus decoration, and this process is managed by the OSE.
Food and Beverage Sales and DistributionAll sales or distribution of food and beverage must comply with Santa Clara County health requirements and the State of California tax law (e.g. sales tax must be collected and remitted). Sale of food or beverage is only permitted in White Plaza as part of a larger student program, must meet all Santa Clara County Health Code Regulations and approved in advance by Office of Student Engagement. Please see Events with Food Guidelines.
Free SpeechWhite Plaza is a designated free speech area reservable by Stanford recognized student organizations and designed for a wide range of activities, in essence a spot for a "marketplace of ideas". The university welcomes vigorous debate and dialogue in White Plaza but encourages all to approach programs, displays and interactions with a fundamental respect for others. For a more comprehensive overview of Stanford's approach to free speech, please see Free Speech at Stanford.
Political ActivityStanford University supports and encourages the expression and discussion of ideas and opinions and encourages the University community to be informed and engaged citizens. At the same time, however, Stanford is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding political activities such as campaign activities, lobbying, and the giving of gifts to public officials.  This results in part because of the University’s status as a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity.  Any political activities in White Plaza must conform with Administrative Guide Memo 1.5.1. See also OSEP Political Activites Policy; and OSE Political Activities.
PostingOnly registered University organizations and departments are eligible to display posters in White Plaza. All publicity materials must clearly identify the sponsoring organization and the date of event. Organizations must not monopolize the available space. Violation of any of these policies is cause for automatic removal of any publicity, and the sponsoring organization may be held responsible for costs incurred in removal. Only public kiosks are open for anyone to post.
TablingPlease review the Tabling in White Plaza FAQ here for more details. To rent multiple tables for an event, please see Event Services.
VehiclesDue to the high volume of pedestrian and bicycle traffic, White Plaza is a designated vehicle exclusion zone. Vehicles may only access the plaza if they are necessary for the event and only with prior approval of OSE. Vehicles used for event set-up or takedown must exit the plaza immediately after loading/unloading and find parking in another location. For more information, view the White Plaza Access Protocol.
Visual DisplaysFreestanding educational or artistic displays must be reserved in advance through OSE. Proposals for the display of specific public arts projects must first be reviewed by the Office of the Vice President of the Arts. An explanation of the display should be located nearby and often volunteers should also be onsite. Displays are allowed for a maximum of 3 days. Given previous experiences with vandalism, overnight displays are discouraged although security personnel may be hired to mitigate this problem.
Farm Fest (AKA Farm Days), 2022. Credit: Micaela Go