Skip to content
Catering setup for a reception on the WCC 2nd Floor Terrace
Catering setup for a reception on the WCC 2nd Floor Terrace

Whether you’re new to event planning or an experienced event organizer, the Office of Event Scheduling and Support (OES) is here to help! Review our step-by-step guide to event planning with helpful tips and tricks to make your next event a success.

EMS Update

The event management system (EMS) is now open for Summer bookings on campus. Study rooms and small conference rooms may also be reserved through express reservations.

Book a Space in EMS

Event Planning Checklists

Use our checklists along with the detailed step-by-step guide below to help plan your next event of any size:

3-6 Months Before Event

2 Months Before Event

4 Weeks Before Event

  • Schedule an OES Meeting

    Your OES coordinator will reach out to you to answer questions and help with the event planning process. For large events, feel free to reach out to us early to schedule a meeting with your OES event coordinator. They can help create room setup diagrams, plan event logistics, and answer any event-related questions.

    Registration Setups

    Depending on the space you have booked, lobby spaces may be available for a registration table setup. Reach out to OES to discuss your options.

    Linens for tables can be ordered from HUDS.

    Sign Holders, Easels, & White Boards

    OES can provide indoor sign holders or easels for your event signage. White board easels with hooks for flip charts are also available on request. We do not provide signage, flip chart paper, or flip chart markers.

    Our indoor sign holders can fit 11″x17″ paper signage in the vertical direction. Our easels can hold regular poster boards.

    Work Orders

    While rare, some events require additional support from Harvard University Trades (e.g., electrical work, banner installation, or after-hours support). Reach out to your OES event coordinator to arrange work orders for these special requests.

  • Request Classrooms & Seminar Room Setups

    Classrooms and seminar rooms have fixed setups, but in some cases, we can add additional furniture for panel setups and catering. Review the room details in the EMS WebApp for more information about the additional furniture that can be added to each room.

  • Order Catering (for fewer than 200 attendees)

    If you haven’t already, start your catering order with HUDS or your outside caterer. Remember, HUDS catering is required in the Milstein Conference Center and Caspersen Student Center.

  • Plan, Design & Order Program Materials

    Identify any printed materials or collateral needed for your event and make a plan to meet any graphic design or printing deadlines. If ordering conference swag (e.g., pens, tote bags, etc.), identify your vendor and place an order.

    Visit the Office of Communications graphic design page for more information about their event-related services.

    Visit the HLS Copy Center page for more information about their on-site printing services.

  • Request a HUPD Detail

    While HUPD details are not required for most events, they must be requested if you plan to serve alcohol to more than 100 people or if you will have a speaker or guest in attendance with their own security.

    Request a HUPD detail and forward the automatic response you receive to

  • Review Protest & Dissent Guidelines

    For events with controversial speakers or subject matter, please review the HLS Protest and Dissent Guidelines.

    If you anticipate protest or dissent at your event, notify OES at We will work with you and any other relevant offices to ensure your event runs as smoothly as possible.

  • Submit License Applications to the City of Cambridge

    While rare, certain event activities may require an event license from the City of Cambridge. License applications can take up to three weeks to process. Learn more about the application process and license requirements.

3 Weeks Before Event

2 Weeks Before Event

  • Finalize Catering & Linens

    If ordering from HUDS, review your catering confirmation and confirm the order numbers.

    Common catering needs include:

    • Food for guests
    • Linens for panel tables, registration tables, catering tables, or guest tables
    • Beverages for speakers
  • Finalize Room Setups

    Review your EMS room confirmation and communicate any additional setup needs to your OES event coordinator by requesting services in the EMS WebApp.

    Common setup needs include:

    • Speaker chairs and panel tables
    • Registration tables
    • Catering tables
    • Sign holders, easels or whiteboard/flip chart easels
    • Coat racks in the Milstein Conference Center
  • Arrange Vendor Deliveries

    If using an outside vendor, coordinate delivery logistics with the vendor and your OES event coordinator.

  • Arrange Nursing Room Access

    Access to the WCC Nursing Room can be arranged for event attendees. There are two options for access available to event organizers:

    1. Before the event, the HLS event organizer may request nursing room access for the duration of the event on their HUID and ferry event attendees to the room. Email to receive the request form.
    2. Before or during the event, an event attendee may request a temporary nursing room access card through the Office of Event Scheduling and Support. The form can be requested from in advance, and the key card may be collected on the event date from Holmes Hall 1, 18 Everett St, Cambridge, MA 02138.
  • Submit City of Cambridge Licenses to OES

    If your event requires a City of Cambridge license, send a copy to the Office of Event Scheduling and Support at

  • Submit Crowd Manager Certificates to OES

    If your event requires crowd managers, send a copy of their certificates to the Office of Event Scheduling and Support at You will also need to arrange a check-in with OES two hours before the event to complete the Fire and Building Safety Checklist.

1 Week Before Event

  • Finalize Participant Numbers & Close Registration

    As your event date approaches, lock in your expected attendance and finalize all of your service orders to match that number.

    For large events in rooms nearing their capacity limit, close registration to help ensure you will not need to turn away participants at the door.

  • Prepare Event Materials

    Collect everything you will need for the event day, so that’s ready to go.

    Common event materials include:

    • Directional signage (sign holders can be requested from OES)
    • Name tags
    • Registration lists
    • Program agendas, guides, or info packs
    • Branded collateral for attendees
    • Pens and any other office materials you may need
  • Schedule an OES Event Check-In

    The Office of Event Scheduling and Support is happy to check in at the start of an event to answer any questions and make sure you have everything you need. Arrange a check-in through your OES event coordinator, or email

  • Plan Your Rain Call

    If you are holding an outdoor event, consult the rain plan policy and schedule a time on the day before your event to check the weather and communicate your preference to OES at 617-495-3129 or

Day of the Event

  • Complete Fire and Building Safety Checklist

    If your event needs a crowd manager, meet OES two hours prior to the event to complete the Fire and Building Safety Checklist.

  • Set Up Materials

    All room and service setups arranged with OES, HUDS, and ITS will be executed according to the instructions on your confirmations and room diagrams.

    Once the room setup is complete, event organizers are welcome to set up their own materials. Please do not move any furniture in the room.

    • Classroom spaces are available for the event organizer to set up 15 minutes prior to the event time. If you need more setup time, please arrange this with OES in advance.
    • Milstein Conference Center spaces are available for the event organizer to set up 45 minutes prior to the event time.
  • Questions or Concerns?

    For security, call 911 or HUPD at 617-495-1212.

    For setup or general questions, call OES at 617-495-3129.

    For AV, call Information Technology Services at 617-495-0722.

    For HUDS catering, call HUDS at 617-495-5538.

After the Event

  • Load Out Materials

    Congratulations on your completed event!

    At the end of the event, please make sure to remove all of your materials from the room in a timely manner to help prepare the room for the next class or event.

    If you brought your own catering, please dispose of any food waste. Leftovers you would like to share with the community can be brought to the Student Org Workroom on the 2nd floor of WCC. Visit the DOS website for more information about the Freefood Listserv.

  • Return Nursing Room Access Cards

    If a nursing room access card was signed out for one of your event attendees, please make sure it is returned to the Office of Event Scheduling and Support in Langdell 162.

  • Lost & Found

    The HLS Lost & Found is located in the Facilities Management Office in 4 Holmes Hall. Any belongings found in a room after an event will be turned in to the Lost & Found.

  • Debrief with Your OES Event Coordinator

    Tell us how it went! We love to hear when things went well, but if something unexpected came up, let us know so that we can help plan for it in the future.

    We look forward to working with you on your next event!