Special Events Unit

Image of the front entrance of Sproul Hall

Special Event Assessments

The UCPD Berkeley Special Events Unit (SEU) is responsible for working with campus partners to assess the needs of major campus events and other official or sanctioned activities that may pose unique safety and security concerns. There are hundreds of such events held on the UC Berkeley campus every year, including intercollegiate sports, high-profile visitors and speakers, international conferences, concerts and performances, campus ceremonies, dances or other social events, and many other one-time activities. UCPD SEU is also responsible for reviewing all requests to serve alcohol at campus events in compliance with California law and University policy.

Official and sanctioned campus events

Campus departments, registered student groups, the student government, recognized campus organizations, and members of the faculty and staff may reserve and use certain campus facilities for non-instructional and non-commercial purposes. They may also sponsor events involving non-University organizations, subject to specific requirements and approvals. Most such events do not require notification to or approval by UCPD.

For more information about how to reserve campus facilities for meetings and events, contact the UC Berkeley LEAD Center(link is external) or the specific campus department that manages the potential event location.

For additional campus policies that may apply, please review sections 210 – 225 of the Berkeley Campus Regulations Implementing University Policies

Major events

Non-departmental users of campus facilities are subject to the terms of the campus policy on Major Events. Private individuals, groups and businesses, non-profit organizations and unaffiliated public agencies or entities are all considered “non-departmental users.” Registered student organizations are also considered “non-departmental users” for purposes of this policy.

In general, a “major event” on campus is defined as one that 300 or more people are expected to attend, and also any event that requires extraordinary campus planning or management due to its complexity, any event likely to significantly affect campus safety & security or services, and/or any event likely to interfere with routine campus functions and activities. Dances, events involving requests for outdoor amplified sound and events involving the service of alcohol are also considered major events. Refer to the policy itself for details.

Non-departmental users planning Major Events must notify UCPD Berkeley at least six (6) weeks in advance, in addition to any other required notifications and approvals that might apply.

Submit Major Event notifications to UCPD Berkeley by submitting the UCPD Event Security Assessment form.

Event organizers may be required to pay for certain reasonable and necessary security expenses.

Other events with unique safety or security needs

Campus events which feature dignitaries, celebrities and other high-profile or at-risk persons may necessitate specific security measures and personnel. Similarly, special precautions may be needed for events or activities involving valuable property, equipment or artifacts. Some planned events may be anticipated to draw large crowds or interfere with routine campus activities in ways that require mitigation through public safety efforts.

For assistance with assessing events posing unique safety or security needs such as these, please contact the UCPD Berkeley Special Events Coordinator as soon as reasonably practicable, and no less than seven (7) days in advance, by visiting UCPD, or by email to ucpdspecialevents@berkeley.edu

Events involving alcohol

Any event on campus at which alcoholic beverages will be served or sold requires review and approval by UCPD Berkeley. California law and campus policy requires specific precautions for such events, including steps to ensure that no one under the age of 21 is served an alcoholic beverage. For a summary of campus policies pertaining to alcoholic beverages at campus events please contact the UC Berkeley Office of Risk Services (ORS) and review the information on their website.

Organizers of events involving the service of alcoholic beverages on the UC Berkeley campus are encouraged to notify UCPD as soon as reasonably practicable, and must notify UCPD Berkeley no less than seven (7) days in advance. Notification to UCPD Berkeley does not guarantee that alcohol service will be approved.

To notify UCPD, an Alcohol Permit Request Form must be fully completed and signed by:

  1.  Your departmental or unit chairperson who is authorizing your event.
  2.  A UC Berkeley employee who is required to be onsite during your event.
  3.  The venue/facility manager where the event will take place.

Once the form is submitted through Docusign, UCPD Berkeley will review the request and notify the event organizer whether the permit is denied or approved. In some situations, a permit from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) may also be required.

UCPD Berkeley will review the request and notify the event organizer whether the permit is denied or approved. In some situations, a permit from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) may also be required.

Non-departmental users planning events involving the service of alcoholic beverages must also complete and submit a UCPD Event Security Assessment form at least six (6) weeks in advance. Refer to the “Major Events” section, above.

Undergraduate student organizations are prohibited from obtaining alcohol permits. Graduate student organizations are considered “non-departmental users” for purposes of the campus Major Events policy.

For more information about alcohol at special events on the UC Berkeley campus, contact the UCPD Special Events Coordinator by visiting UCPD, or by email to ucpdspecialevents@berkeley.edu

Food service and fire safety permits

Some events might involve activities that require approval by the UC Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S). Food safety permits might be necessary for any activity open to the public at which food will be provided. Fire safety permits may be needed for events with an expected attendance of 50 or more persons, when tents or canopies over 400 sq. ft. are utilized, when flammable gas, generators, temporary lighting or pyrotechnics might be used and for locations that pose challenges for access or egress in an emergency.

Please contact EH&S directly, or visit their website for more information. Campus affiliates may be able to apply for permits online.

Special Events Parking

If your campus special event requires reserved parking or other specific parking and/or transportation arrangements, please contact the UC Office of Parking and Transportation (P&T).

Special Event Safety and Security Tips

If you are planning to attend a large or crowded event, or an event being held at a location with which you are not familiar, you might want to consider a few precautions that will help reduce risk of crime.

Plan your travel ahead of time, both to and from the event. Try to arrive early – hasty latecomers sometimes create opportunities for criminals. Be sure to review any security guidelines for the venue to avoid bringing prohibited items.

If you are driving, make parking arrangements in advance. Do not leave valuables in your car, especially where they are visible from the outside. Don’t forget to lock the car and remember where you parked.

When attending an event with a group, identify a place and time to meet in case anyone in the group becomes separated without means of contact.

In a crowd, small valuable items are easily lost or stolen. Keep your valuables close to your body and only carry items that you are certain you will need.

Excessive use of alcohol or other substances can increase your vulnerability to crime. Manage your own intake wisely and keep an eye on others in your group. Designate a sober person who can drive and/or make sure everyone gets home safely.