Policies + Disclosures

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RISD Auditorium and Facility Use and Rental Policy

This policy describes the uses and rental of RISD academic facilities, with particular emphasis on the RISD Auditorium. Tillinghast Farm use and rental does not fall under this policy, nor do Museum facilities.

RISD facilities have the primary purpose of supporting the educational mission of the College and its curricular and co-curricular programs. Academic departments, administrative offices, and officially recognized student, faculty, and staff organizations may usually use the facilities at no charge. The Auditorium on Canal Walk (capacity:575) and select other facilities of the Rhode Island School of Design are also available for rental by non-RISD groups for meetings, cultural presentations, entertainment programs, educational programs and other uses which promote a stimulating artistic or intellectual environment.

In general, requests for community use of RISD facilities will be reviewed subject to (a) the specific priorities and policies established for the requested facility; (b) the prior commitments of that facility for regular educational program use; (c) the suitability of the requested space for the particular type of program proposed;  (d) the event’s impact on the College’s status as a tax-exempt educational institution; (e) RISD resources required to support the proposed use.

Requests for use of College facilities, particularly the RISD Auditorium, will be considered for the following types of activities, subject to the limitations stated elsewhere in these guidelines. 

  • Activities of a broad educational or informational nature sponsored by professional societies and other nonprofit organizations, and educational and training programs of the tax-exempt educational components of profit-making organizations whose principal business is not education.
  • Programs with artistic, cultural, or entertainment content, which may appeal to the College community.
  • Charitable events on a limited basis.
  • Student-initiated events approved by the Center for Student Involvement.

The following types of activities ordinarily will NOT have access to College facilities. 

  • Activities sponsored by off-campus organizations for political purposes or for fundraising for political goals or for influencing public policy or for religious events.
  • Other fundraising activities (except for a limited number for charitable purposes).
  • Activities conducted primarily for the purpose of making a profit for the sponsoring organization which are not of general interest to the College community.
  • Activities which could be construed by the public to be educational courses or other activities sponsored by the College when, in fact, they are not so sponsored.
  • Activities conducted by individuals for personal events.
  • Activities that fall outside the guidelines.

The following additional considerations will be taken into account in considering requests for the use of College facilities. 

  • The activity should not interfere with the schedule of normal activities of the College.
  • The sponsoring organization must make a deposit, provide a certificate of insurance liability naming RISD as an “additional insured” and demonstrate administrative capacity to organize and manage the event in a manner consistent with College traditions, standards, and requirements.
  • The content of the activity should be reasonably compatible with the primary activities and the mission of the College as an educational institution and should be carried out with the decorum appropriate to the academic environment.

Groups wishing to rent or use the RISD Auditorium should send an email to reserveclassroom@risd.edu and provide basic information about the event: 

  • Dates and times the room is needed
  • Name of event
  • Purpose of event
  • Approximate number of attendees
  • Audio-visual needs
  • Food needs
  • Any other information about the event which will help to make it run smoothly and to determine whether a Public Safety detail is needed
  • Contact name, email and phone

Event Sponsorship

Student organizations
Student organizations may not serve as proxy organizations for outside entities to operate on campus. Student organizations that wish to co-sponsor campus events with outside organizations or entities must seek the advice and consent of the Center for Student Involvement.  While we recognize the benefits of partnerships and collaborations with non-College entities, the logistical and financial responsibilities of student sponsored events must reside with a recognized student organization and its leadership corps.

RISD co-sponsorship
When an academic or administrative department agrees to co-sponsor an event organized primarily by or for an outside group, several requirements are important to note:

  • It becomes the responsibility of the department to work directly with the organization to plan, coordinate and participate with all aspects of the event. 
  • A RISD department or organization that proposes to co-sponsor an event must apply for approval to do so. RISD academic departments must receive approval from the Provost. RISD student groups must receive approval from the Center for Student Involvement (CSI). The CSI must receive approval from the Dean of Students. Administrative units must receive approval from the Executive VP for Finance and Administration
  • Depending on the nature of the event, the usual rental fee may be waived at the discretion of the Provost or designee for events co-sponsored by a RISD academic departments. Similarly, the usual rental fee may be waived at the discretion of the Dean of Students for events co-sponsored by CSI. For administrative units, the waiver decision will be made by the Executive VP for Finance and Administration.
  • Direct costs for Public Safety, custodial, and audio/visual services will be charged to the account number of the departmental co-sponsor. It will be up to the RISD department to get reimbursed by the outside group if they wish to do so.
  • A Certificate of Liability insurance from the off-campus sponsor naming RISD as an additional insured is required for co-sponsored events; requests for waivers and exceptions will be the decision of the RISD Office of Risk Management and made on a case-by-case basis.
  • The off-campus sponsor of the event must provide rental payment in full by 30 days prior to the date of the event. If payment is not received, then the RISD co-sponsor will be charged the rental fee by a debit to their RISD general ledger account.

Facility Usage Fees
Rate for the Auditorium generally includes private use of the lobby and the ticket booth, if desired, as well as use of the RISD podium and basic audio-visual, including house/stage lighting and podium sound equipment. Additional charges apply for direct expenses that are beyond the rental fee, including additional a/v equipment; services of an Audio-Visual technician or the hiring of an approved outside audio/visual firm, if needed; a public safety detail, which may be required; and custodial services.  RISD also offers a smaller auditorium venue (seating capacity: 212). For information, contact Pam Kimel at pkimel@risd.edu

Download the rental fee schedule »

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that when planning conferences, events, and activities, the sponsoring office or department handle requests for accommodations. In registration brochures, invitations, or flyers, the following statement should be used: To request disability accommodation, please contact [your name, department, address and telephone number needed here].

Additional Guidelines for Review of Applications for Use of Facilities 

  • Tickets may be sold at a reasonable fee to cover costs.
  • All events are subject to availability.
  • RISD reserves the right to reject the application of any group at its sole discretion.
  • Sale of retail items is prohibited. The exception to this is sales of items directly related to the programming such as CDs of a performing musical group or books by a visiting lecturer or tee shirts. Also allowed in the lobby are sales events organized by risd|works. 
  • RISD Caters is the initial food service contact point for anyone organizing an event on campus. Light food and drink is permitted in the Auditorium lobby, but NOT in the auditorium itself, not even water. If RISD Caters does not cater your event, then the caterer must provide their own Certificate of Insurance Liability in the amount of $2 million with RISD named as an additional insured.   Cash bars are allowed with prior approval of RISD Caters which is the sole provider of alcohol on campus.
  • Refunds of rental fees are available if the event is cancelled at least 72 hours prior, less an administrative service fee of $100.00. In addition, other direct costs, if any, incurred by the College in preparation for the event must be paid.
  • The RISD name and address may be used to indicate event location and for directions. No other use of RISD’s name or logo in advertising is permitted without the express approval of RISD’s Media Office or General Counsel.
  • In conducting an event, each organization or student group must comply with city, state, and federal laws, as well as applicable RISD rules and regulations. In addition each organization will accept responsibility for conducting its event in accordance with standards of orderly conduct generally acceptable to the RISD community.
The Providence River and cityscape as seen from the southern edge of campus, behind the Industrial Design and
Architecture buildings.