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Protocol Involving High Profile Guests

HLS regularly hosts distinguished visitors on campus. In order to facilitate the necessary official courtesies for distinguished visitors, DOS must be notified in advance and then attain appropriate approval before invitations to guests can be issued by a student organization or journal.

The University Marshal’s Office is the point of contact for all Harvard schools and can offer advice and assistance on matters of protocol and appropriate procedures for issuing invitations to heads of state and other high-level dignitaries and officials. All members of the Harvard community pursuing high-level invitations to speaking engagements on campus should read the following Visitor Guidelines.

Head of state, head of government, or Other Official

For student organizations: If your organization would like to extend an invitation to a head of state, head of government, cabinet minister, or high profile official or leader, contact Samantha Parker in the Dean of Students Office first before reaching out. For student journals, please contact Sheena Prosper. DOS will work with you and the University Marshal’s Office to:

  • See if another group has an invitation out to the same person
  • Ensure there are no competing invitations
  • Determine whether the President of Harvard or the Dean of Harvard Law School should send a personal invite to the individual

Controversial Speakers

If you are interested in inviting a controversial speaker to campus, student orgs should contact Samantha Parker in the Dean of Students Office first before reaching out. Student journals should contact Sheena Prosper.

Political Candidates

If you are interested in inviting a political candidate to campus, student organizationss should contact Samantha Parker in the Dean of Students Office first before reaching out. Student Journals should contact Sheena Prosper.

  • IMPORTANT: As a 501(c)(3), Harvard Law School is absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Please review the Policy on Campaign and Political Activity.

Invitations

Once you have gotten approval, extend an invitation to the individual(s) you would like to host on campus via email or phone call.

  • Log outreach efforts in a shared spreadsheet
  • Some helpful resources:
    • Leadership Connect: Background and contact information on leaders in business, government, nonprofits, and news media in the United States.
    • Mailtester: Enter an e-mail address to verify if it exists of if there are problems with it.
    • HLS Amicus: Harvard Law School directory, community-building platform, and advising network.

Standard Event Email Template

Dear [Name],

I hope this note finds you doing well. I am a [____-year student] at Harvard Law School and [Board Position] of [Org Name or Journal Name]. [Any relevant background that interests/connects you to the speaker].

On behalf of [Org Name or Journal Name], I am writing to invite you to speak at Harvard Law School this academic year. [Provide a brief overview of your org or journal]. We bring prominent members of the legal community to speak with students about their careers, their areas of expertise and current events. In years past, we have hosted several prominent speakers such as [name], [name], and [name].

We would be thrilled if you could join us this year. Please let me know if you have any questions about [Org/Journal] or the event we have in mind.

Thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

[First & Last Name]

SYMPOSIUM Email Template 

Dear [Name],

I hope this note finds you doing well. I am a [____-year student] at Harvard Law School and [Board Position] of [Org /Journal Name]. [Any relevant background that interests/connects you to the speaker].

On behalf of [Org/ Journal Name], I am writing to invite you to be the Keynote Speaker at this year’s [Name of Symposium/Conference]. This event [description of event]. In past years, our [Symposium/Conference] featured [Name], [Name], and [Name], among others.

As [something specific and flattering], you have much to share and we would be thrilled if you could join us. The tentative date of the [Symposium/Conference] is [Date]. If you are unavailable on this day, we would be more than happy to find an alternative date for you to address the Harvard community.

Please let me know if you have any questions about [Org/Journal Name] or the [Symposium/Conference].

Thank you in advance for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

[First & Last Name]

Co-Sponsorship

Involve other student organizations in outreach when speakers have a connection to that group.

Accessibility Services

If your speaker/guest needs accommodations for a disability, email Student Support Services.

Guest Support

Make arrangements for your guest ahead of time.

  • Travel Expenses: You may use your org’s HUECU debit card for travel expenses including airfare, lodging, and cab fare. You may also reimburse your guest speaker(s) via check for travel expenses once receipts are uploaded to your org’s Receipt Submission Google Form.
  • Wireless access: Visitors and attendees can access the Harvard Guest Wireless Network. This network has limited access and Harvard ID holders should use the main Harvard University Wireless Network.
  • Parking: To get a parking permit for your guest, visit the Daily Visitor Parking Permits Online Purchase System. Sign in as a student. You will want to select the 10 Everett St. parking garage. You will need your guest’s license plate number and state for the permit. Use your org’s HUECU debit card to pay for the permit.
  • Campus Map & Directions: A map of and directions to HLS are available online.
  • Preparation: Schedule a call with your speaker(s) to review the lecture topic and/or questions for a panel/fireside chat. For Q&A, prepare a list of questions and send it over to the speaker ahead of time so they can get a sense of the conversation topics.
  • Send a Thank You Card: After the event, it is common to thank speaker(s) with a small gift, meal, and/or card.