In-Person and Virtual Engagement Event Planning

All University events, regardless of location or sponsoring entity, must follow the guidelines and protocols outlined here. All space reservations in EMS are subject to the updated GVSU Reservation Protocol.

Non-academic campus events may be restricted based on local, state, or GVSU policy guidance.

Campus engagement is important to creating a sense of community and connection to GVSU.  For some students, engagement occurs within an academic college and is associated with curricular pursuits (e.g. academic organization, faculty research, tutoring peers), while for others it consists of non-academic interests (e.g. sorority leadership, intramural sports, Laker sports).  This guide provides faculty, staff, and student organizations with ideas, guidelines, and help considerations as they develop various out-of-class engagement opportunities.

Grand Valley State University has worked diligently to review public health guidelines and inform our plans for a vibrant student engagement experience. The resources on this website were developed to help faculty, staff, and student organizations create co-curricular and extra-curricular events with a focus on enhancing virtual and socially distant experiences. The goal of these guidelines is to enable event hosts to offer both in-person activities and virtual alternatives. These guidelines should be consulted prior to planning any campus engagement activity. All in-person campus events must comply with university policies, procedures, and health-informed guidelines and are subject to change or cancellation based on the parameters of the COVID-19 Continuum Event Matrix.

  • All University departments, faculty/staff committees, and student organizations must abide by all stated guidelines including the COVID-19 Continuum Event Matrix, Reservation Policy, and use of the LakerLink Event Pass for in-person events.
    • NOTE: Information collected via LakerLink is private. LakerLink data is visible only to administrators in the Office of Student Life and University Analysis. Event Pass attendance list are visible to Event Hosts and will be shared only if necessary in alignment with COVID-19 transmission contact tracing protocol.
  • Deviation from room capacity, personal protection, and social distancing guidelines may result in the immediate loss of space reservation privileges for the remainder of the semester.
  • University departments and registered student organizations are strongly encouraged to hold business meetings via virtual platform. Traditional meeting spaces have significantly reduced capacity to enable social distancing and many have will be used for academic needs. Thus, meeting and event space will be significantly limited, with academic obligations as the first priority. After academic needs, co-curricular and extra-curricular event space requests will take priority over general meeting requests.
  • Tabling in Kirkhof Center lobby is permitted with adherence to reservation protocols and strict social distancing. Outdoor locations are also available as indicated in the Grounds and Facility Use Policy. On the Allendale Campus there are two designated outdoor locations. Organizations may use the area surrounding the Cook Carillon Tower or the plaza surrounding the Transformational Link. Use of these areas may be scheduled as an event space through Event Services. Drop-in use will not be permitted. Reservations for Kirkhof Center lobby tabling or use of outdoor spaces must be made with Event Services.

In-Person Event Planning

Event Planning Considerations

Event space is significantly limited and requests for event space usage are not guaranteed. Departments and student organizations have the opportunity to engage students both in-person and virtually. Organizers should familiarize themselves with the CDC Considerations for Events and Gatherings and must abide by the GVSU Face Covering PolicyCOVID-19 Continuum Event Matrix, and the GVSU Reservation Protocol. The following considerations may help inform event planning decisions. 

  • Can you assure the health and safety of organizers and participants and compliance with university expectations?
  • Who is the intended audience? How wide is the network you are marketing to? How many people typically attend this event? Are the attendees already connected (i.e. members of the same student organization)?
  • What is the goal of this event? Are there specific learning outcomes associated with this event? What do you intend participants to gain or learn from participation?
  • Are the goals/learning outcomes still relevant? Do the goals of the event meet the needs of the intended audience?
  • What are the alternative delivery methods? Brainstorm a list of all the various ways those same goals/learning outcomes can be reached in a virtual environment.
  • Is the timing right? If the content must be delivered in the Fall semester, virtual platforms are recommended whenever possible.
  • What space is available? Is there a space on campus available for the event? Does the hosting department or student organization have the capability to adhere to the requirements of the Space Use Agreement (see below)?
  • (For student organizations) Have you consulted with your organization advisors on the planning and facilitation of this event?

Event Space Reservation Policy & Required Protocols

  • The University reserves the right to reassign or cancel space reservations.
  • Priority will be given to events designed for student engagement vs. business meetings and gatherings in which faculty/staff are the primary intended audience.
  • Attendance must be taken at all in-person events using the Event Pass function of LakerLink. To log into LakerLink, use your GVSU-provided credentials.
    • NOTE: Information collected via Laker Link is private. Laker Link data is visible only to administrators in the Office of Student Life and University Analysis. Event Pass attendance list are visible to Event Hosts and will be shared only if necessary in alignment with COVID-19 transmission contact tracing protocol.
  • Upon entry, all event attendees must show proof of self-assessment (dated screenshot of green check mark) and their Laker Link Event Pass QR code for scanning.
  • Capacity of the room, including all event hosts and attendees, may not at any time exceed the maximum capacity of the reserved space.
  • Host department/individual/student organization required to sanitize space upon conclusion of the event using posted protocols.

Event hosts are encouraged to review the full GVSU Reservation Protocol prior to requesting space reservations.

Event Host Toolkit


  1. Review event planning considerations
  2. Review parameters of GVSU Reservation Protocol
  3. Submit reservation request via Event Services or directly in EMS (authorized users only)



  1. Set up event in LakerLink - ensure Event Pass capacity is set to match the capacity of the reserved space, less any event hosts
  2. Ensure event hosts  have admin access to the Event Pass in order to scan attendees upon entrance
  3. Identify an entrance plan - secure volunteers or assign event co-hosts to check self-assessment screenings and scan Event Passes at the entrance to the event

During Event

  1. Check self-assessment for each attendee as they enter (screenshot of green check mark, with date)
  2. Scan the Event Pass QR code for each attendee as they enter
  3. Ensure event attendees wear face coverings at all times while not eating or drinking
  4. Ensure event attendees maintain a distance of at least six feet apart during duration of event (tables and chairs are set to these standards and should remain distanced appropriately)

Virtual Event Planning

Before the Event

  • Select an accessible medium and review related University accessibility requirements. Event hosts must provide captioning for all live streamed events that are open to any user or require advanced registration. Hosts should request notice of accommodations in event registration forms. GVSU recommends Zoom for Business or Blackboard technologies.
  • Review virtual platform options and identify which work the best for your event. Laker Link allows events to be posted directly to the GVSU Events Calendar and offers ticketing options which can be used to solicit RSVPs and limit the number of participants.
  • Get creative with the marketing of your event.
  • Consider privacy and security measures - is the event open to everyone, is there a password required, is advanced RSVP required? Will participants see each other or will the event be more similar to a webinar? If the event will be attended by minors, the event must abide by the associated Minors on Campus policy.
  • Consider the appropriate timing - some events may work well synchronously (where all participants log onto the platform at same date and time and participate in real time) whereas others may work better over a longer timeframe asynchronously (i.e. week-long social media campaign or competition). Some synchronous events may be held multiple times over a weeklong period to increase student access.
  • Consider the appropriate duration of the event - keep virtual events to a maximum of 90 minutes to maintain participant interest and avoid screen fatigue; for events longer than 90 minutes consider breaking the event down into multiple sessions throughout the same day or week.
  • Prepare a detailed facilitation plan. Identify how the event will be managed, how much time will be spent on each aspect or feature of the program.
  • Expect the unexpected. Prepare contingency plans for technology glitches, higher or lower than expected attendance, or items taking more or less time than expected.

During the Event

  • Stick to the facilitation plan. Keep an eye on time and make adjustments accordingly to ensure the event is engaging.
  • Utilize breakout room features, polls, and other interactive elements to maintain participant engagement.

After the Event

  • Build relationships. Connect with the participants to thank them, get feedback, market your next event.
  • If the event was recorded, consider sharing it on social media or website to allow for additional students to access the information even if they didn’t attend.
  • Assess. Identify strengths and opportunities for improvement for future virtual events.

Social Media Event Ideas

  • Instagram quizzes/polls/contests
  • Competition: Closeup Picture
  • Picture Scavenger Hunt
  • Photo campaigns
  • Live events/concerts (YouTube as well)
  • Spotlight/Showcase
  • Live Q&A’s
  • Tik Tok Competitions
  • Movie Watch Party (Netflix, Hulu, or any platform)
  • Alumni/Student Take Over

Zoom Event Ideas

  • Virtual Field Trip
  • Trivia Contest
  • Lunch & Learn
  • Kahoot Game
  • Virtual fitness classes
  • Virtual Board Games
  • Virtual Panel Webinar
  • Virtual Career Day
  • Virtual cooking classes
  • Virtual Bingo

Page last modified March 14, 2024