Plan an event

Plan an event

There are many things to keep in mind when planning events — even small meetings or get-togethers require considering the content-driven needs and comfort of participants. Although all items in this reminder checklist will not apply to each event you organize, it is helpful to review them regularly and to update your arrangements should the scope of your event change. Be sure to register your event if required.

Also, please see the helpful information provided to MIT event planners through AdminConnect and Atlas (comprising the event registration interface).

Event checklist

  • Date
  • Title
  • Venue
  • Time
  • Host
  • Primary contact(s)

Date considerations

  • Religious holidays/observances/Institute and student holidays
  • Implications for greater Institute/groups
  • Class locations re: noise
  • Availability of leadership and primary audience served

Logistics and operations reminders

  • Account number(s)
  • Budget
  • Space reservations
  • Event registration required? (via Atlas; MIT certificates needed)
  • Facilities
  • Media
    • Members of press expected?
    • Advise/engage MIT News?
    • AV
    • Photography
    • Video
    • Webcast
  • Lighting and stage
    • Décor
    • Lectern
    • MIT logo sign or seal
    • Stage set
    • Flags if government official
  • Catering
    • Allergies and special needs
    • China or compostables (see also sustainability)
    • Linen
    • Décor
    • Layout
  • Security and jurisdiction
    • Have MIT Police advised you that other entities will be engaged (e.g., State Department, Secret Service, MA State Police)?
    • ID/special access/badges for staff needed during event?
  • Audience management
    • General admission or ticketed event?
    • Badges
    • Invitation only, rsvp needed?
    • How to process?
    • Reserved seating needed?
    • Onsite staffing
  • Accessibility considerations
    • American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation
    • Captioning
    • Stream text
    • Assistive listening
    • Doors and seating
  • Run of show provided to participants and vendors (i.e., timing, staging, cues)

Protocol issues

  • Engagement with other Institute colleagues and DLCs?
  • Invitation and thank you
  • Greeting, departure, introductions
  • Formal photographs
  • Gift: when presented and by whom?
  • Follow-up needed and by whom?

More information on protocol

Communications and publicity

  • Invitations
    • Audiences served?
    • Lists coming from/approved by whom?
    • Sending paper or electronic invitations?
    • Rsvp or registration needed? How handling?
  • Save the date to leadership and assistants? Others?
  • Promotion
  • Instructions to stage assembly or speakers (near to date)
  • Advise speakers of webcast, obtain permission/releases as needed
  • Reminder/final details (parking, seating, check-in, directions) to attendees
  • Give-away?

Onsite needs

  • Speakers registration/senior officers
    • Backstage/green room
  • Coat check
  • Seating
  • Water for speakers
  • Guest book
  • Staffing
  • Music
  • Photography facilitation
  • Changes in seating re no/shows or additional guests
  • MIT News, media management
  • Signs and directions
  • Transportation

MIT Conference Services a one-stop, fee-for-service event management resource available to Institute and outside conference organizers. More


Safety and preparedness

The Environment, Health and Safety Office (EHS) provides a few guidelines regarding events for which formal safety plans are necessary. Please note that safety plans may be required for installations of art or other exhibits, as well as for events. Questions about safety procedures may be directed to EHS at


Use of MIT space

MIT Policies & Procedures govern the use of Institute facilities


Policies regarding serving of alcohol

The CAC Event Planning Guide offers a clear explanation of the Institute regulations regarding the serving of alcohol at events. Please note that these include the need to register your event through Atlas (MIT certificates required)



Do you have a tip or reminder for MIT event planners? Please share with us! These new resources are in development and we welcome community input.



Do your attendees know how to find you? Download printable maps



The Office of Sustainability offers certification for events and a checklist of things planners can keep in mind when making arrangements. In addition to recommendations on communications, energy and transit, catering, and materials and waste, downloads are available through the sustainable event certification page. Contact

The UA Committee on Sustainability offers two resources to the community: a PDF of local restaurants who engage in sustainable practices, including catering; and access to special pricing on compostable foodware in small quantities (packs of 50) and large (case of 1000). Please note that administrative units are welcome to use these order forms. Contact the UA team


Buffet display

Refreshments served at Winterfest, a community social hosted by President and Mrs. Reif

Photo: Dominick Reuter


Event planners group

An MIT Event Planners group, administered by Institute Events, meets periodically to discuss topics relevant to our work and community. The group’s mailing list also serves as a resource to members—if you would like to join, please contact Lee Corbett.


Did you know?

MIT Communications Initiatives offers counsel on all kinds of communications activities, including project planning, printing, photography, social media, and graphic design. They’ll also help you prepare a Request for Proposals and evaluate the bids. Contact