White Plaza is a Stanford University space available for programs, speeches, rallies, information tables, banners and posters. It is considered a “free speech area” on campus. Students should follow the policy below to engage in student programmatic activity. Due to Stanford's non-profit status, for-profit commercial activity or corporate promotion of any kind is strictly regulated.
White Plaza is in the center of campus, so event planners should take particular care to avoid disruptive impact on classes, business, or events in the surrounding buildings. Events in White Plaza must be organized by University entities (student groups, departments, and programs) and require prior approval from Student Activities and Leadership (SAL).
Definition, Boundaries, and Map
White Plaza is the outdoor area stretching from outside the Barnum Family Center to the front of Dinkelspiel Auditorium. Other adjacent spaces not considered part of White Plaza are the Old Union Courtyard, the Tresidder Union patio, the front steps of the Bookstore, Canfield Court, and the turnabout at the Clock Tower.
How to Reserve White Plaza
White Plaza is scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
- 3 weeks minimum deadline for event request for major campus events that involve items such as University technical and custodial services, special deliveries, parking accommodations, displays and use of much of the White Plaza space. Examples include concerts and fairs.
- 2 days minimum deadline for event request for simple events that involve items such as rallies, protests, and speakers.
- No lead time is required for tabling in White Plaza by a University department or a registered student organization. Off-campus organizations and individuals are not permitted to table or post displays or banners in White Plaza, although general flyering, including posting in approved areas and handing out flyers in White Plaza is permitted. Commercial activity is not permitted in White Plaza.
- Step 1: Check 25Live for White Plaza availability (currently unavailable during transition to CardinalSync events registration)
- Step 2: Submit your event request:
- Step 3: Meet with a SAL advisor to review your event plan (if required)
- Step 4: Receive confirmation of your event request and space confirmation.
Large-scale events or activities outside the normal noon to 1 pm time slot may require additional lead-time in order to arrange logistics and consult with nearby departments regarding impact to their activities.
Costs for an event in White Plaza will vary greatly depending on the nature of the event. Get your equipment rental, technical services, and labor from Event Services, and be sure to file a Grounds work order if you will need electrical connections, sprinkler shutoff, or cleanup services. See our page on ordering equipment & services for more info.
Display and Promotional Guidelines
- A-Frames: A-frame advertising not directly related to White Plaza events is not permitted.
- Banners: Only registered student organizations and University departments, institutes or programs are eligible to display banners in White Plaza. Banners must be no larger than 3 feet tall by 8 feet wide and may only be displayed at the Speaker's Rostrum ("The Birdcage"), hung at least 7 feet high with a clear sponsor on the banner. Banners may be displayed in White Plaza up to a week in advance of the proposed activity and must be removed within 24 hours following the scheduled event. For activities without an end date, banners may remain in place for 5 working days. Banners do not require prior approval and are on a first come, first serve basis depending on space availability.
- Chalking: Blackboard chalking on the ground by Stanford community members is permitted in White Plaza only. Spray chalking is strictly prohibited and will incur a cleaning fee of $500 or more.
- Flyers: Posters, placards and flyers may be posted in the following areas: the outside walls of benches surrounding “The Claw,” on the side of the concrete blocks in front of the Birdcage and Main Stage, and designated posting boards/kiosks. Posters and flyers may not be posted in the following areas: on the ground or sidewalk (this presents an additional cleanup challenge), bollards, trees, lampposts, bushes, building walls, doors, and windows, campus signs, or trash cans. Groups taping to any of these locations will be charged a minimum of $100 for clean up.
- Posting: Only registered University organizations and University departments, institutes or programs are eligible to display posters in White Plaza. All publicity materials must clearly identify the sponsoring organizations and date of event. Organizations must not monopolize the available space. Violation of any of these policies is cause for automatic removal of any publicity, and the sponsoring organization may be held liable for costs incurred in removal.
- Tabling: If it does not conflict with a scheduled event, University entities (student groups, departments, and programs) may also set up informational tables, with no approval necessary. Non-Stanford organizations may not host events or set up informational tables in White Plaza. For student organizations that want to rent one table, they are available for free at the ASSU Office, first floor of Old Union. To rent multiple tables for an event, please rent them from Event Services: eventservices.stanford.edu.
- Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages in White Plaza are strictly prohibited.
- Amplified Sound: All events must comply with the policies for campus disruption and noise. Amplified sound is permitted between 12:00 and 1:00 pm, Monday through Friday with prior reservation through SAL. It is also permitted after 5 pm on weekdays and on weekends with prior registration and approval through SAL. Approval of staff from nearby University buildings is also required. Localized sound (e.g. low level and sound that does not require electricity) is permitted at other times provided it is not disruptive of other reserved White Plaza activities or nearby buildings and offices.
- Commercial and Retail Activity: Commercial activity, solicitation or other retail activities in White Plaza are governed by the university policy on unrelated business activity. Any retail activities must support the educational mission of the University and be organized by a University group. Acceptable examples include sales of tickets to University events and vendors at one-time cultural fairs or programs. Ongoing retail sales, most food sales and sales unrelated to an educational event are prohibited. All such activities in White Plaza must receive prior university approval through Student Activities and Leadership.
- Concerts: Major contemporary concerts in White Plaza must be sponsored by a registered student organization.
- Food and Beverage Sales and Distribution: All sales or distribution of food and beverage must comply with Santa Clara County health requirements and the State of California tax law (e.g. sales tax must be collected and remited to the State of California. Sale of food or beverage is only permitted in White Plaza as part of a larger student program, must meet all Santa Clara County Health Code Regulations and approved in advance by Student Activities and Leadership. Acceptable examples include Luau, Spring Fair and other large scale campus programs.
- Fountain Dying: None of the fountains on campus, including the Claw, may be dyed colors due to potential damage to the tile, grout, and plumbing systems. There is a once-annual exception for official Big Game Week campus decoration.
- Layout: Events or activities must not impede pedestrian or bicycle traffic and may not block fire lanes.
- Vehicles: Due to the high volume of pedestrian and bicycle traffic, White Plaza is a designated vehicle exclusion zone. Vehicles may only access the plaza if they are vital to the event, and only with approval of SAL. Vehicles used for event set-up or takedown must exit the plaza immediately after loading/unloading and find parking in another location. For more information, view the white plaza access protocol.
- Visual Displays: Artistic and other freestanding visual displays must be reserved in advance through SAL. We require you accompany the display with an information table explaining the purpose of the exhibit. Displays may be up for a maximum of 3 days. Given previous experiences with vandalism, overnight displays are discouraged. Overnight displays require a hired security personnel or student present during the duration of the display.