Iowa State Memorial Union

Policies & Guidelines

Iowa State University Memorial Union Facility Use Policy

This policy: 

  • is intended to facilitate the most effective use of facilities within the Memorial Union (MU).

  • is intended to provide uniform and consistent administration of space usage in the MU facilities.

  • applies to the use of facilities and resources in the Memorial Union that are made available for meetings, conferences, activities, and events.

  • does not apply to those spaces permanently allocated to Staff, University Offices, University Departments, or Recognized Student Organizations. Other policies and procedures apply to those spaces (

Glossary of Event Management Terminology:

  • Recognized Organization: a student organization or campus organization officially recognized by Student Engagement, East Student Office Space, MU and recognized by the Student Organization Recognition Board.   There are three recognition tiers for student organizations (Sponsored, Affiliated and Registered). For more information about criteria for recognition tier, visit Student Organization classification may impact space privileges.

  • Department: Iowa State University academic colleges or administrative units including the ISU Foundation, and ISU Alumni Association

  • Non-University: any person or group requesting space independent of an Iowa State University department or recognized student organization.

  • Event: A one-time occurrence such as a speaker, dance, concert, workshop, table and booth reservation, or a series of such occurrences such as a multi-day conference that is open to the public unless specified by the reserving group.

  • Meeting: A business or committee meeting that is a one-time occurrence.  Meetings are closed to the public unless specified by the reserving group.

  • Facility Usage Charges: General fee for facility usage.  Recognized student organizations and campus departments are not charged a facility usage charge; however, other event related charges such as staffing, equipment, security, parking, catering, etc. may apply.

  • Special Event Staff: Special Event Staff may be required to assist with your event. They do not take the place of security personnel that may be required for the event by the MU Event Management Office, the Event Authorization Committee and/or Department of Public Safety. All additional staffing costs will be billed to the group hosting the event.

  • Shared Space: Space is reserved for more than one group. This status should be approved by the Memorial Union Event Manager and is only available for certain programming areas such as Central Campus.

  • Requested Diagram Draft: Change in event layout diagram that was requested by the customer

  • Booking Status: The terms used within the Iowa State Memorial Union Event Management Office to describe the status of a reservation.

    • Confirmed – All event details have been finalized and no significant changes can occur without Event Management approval. This status is required at least 3 business days prior to the event date for meeting space and 10 business days for ballroom space in order for the event to occur.

    • Tentative – The space has been reserved within the academic year, but the reservation still needs final details, including but not limited to, room set-up, event start time, arrival time, departure time, program agenda, audio/visual needs, payment and customer confirmation.

    • Pending EAC Approval - Student organization and departmental events may require authorization from the Event Authorization Committee prior to confirming the reservation.

    • Cancelled – A reservation that has been released by the reserving group. On a rare occasion, the Memorial Union or governing body may cancel space with immediate notice to reserving group.

1) General Guidelines

a) Memorial Union Event Management Office is responsible for reserving and coordinating the use of all MU facilities, and outdoor green spaces, including (but not limited to) the Campanile Lawns, Curtiss Lawns, South Libary Lawn, East Marston Lawn and Lagomarcino Courtyard. Reservations are made in the order in which the requests are submitted, with consideration being given to the size of the group, type of program, and space and services available.

b) An Iowa State Memorial Union (MU) event space reservation may be requested by any University Department, Recognized Student Organization or Non-University Group.

c) Normal Memorial Union building operation hours are 7:00am - 10:00pm on Monday-Saturday and are 11:00am - 10pm on Sundays. Space request beyond the current academic year may not be guaranteed.

d) The Iowa State Memorial Union is primarily dedicated to the mission of Iowa State University of teaching, research and service.  University-related activities, including university departments and recognized student organizations, will be given priority.

e) All groups using MU facilities shall obey all published University and MU policies, regulations, guidelines, as well as all local, state and federal laws. Violations by any group may result in the loss of scheduling privileges within the Memorial Union.

f) ISU Catering has an exclusive contract at the Memorial Union. Groups utilizing MU facilities are not permitted to bring their own food or beverage into the Memorial Union. Any exceptions need to be requested through the Event Management Office, 3630 MU (Click here for MU food policy).

g) The group scheduling MU facilities will be financially responsible for any charges or fees for services or personnel resulting from the meeting, event, or activity including (but not limited to) event services, AV services and personnel (special event staffing, security, etc).

h) Formal academic classes may request use of the Memorial Union on a temporary, emergency basis only. Written explanation needs to accompany request showing that space was not available through room scheduling. All exceptions must be approved by the Associate Director or the Director of the Memorial Union.

i) The Memorial Union is a smoke-free building on a smoke-free campus.

j) The Memorial Union is not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged property belonging to users of the facilities.

k) The Memorial Union reserves the right to cancel or suspend any event, when it is determined that an unreasonable risk to the security and/or safety of the facility and/or its patrons exists. Organizations sponsoring events are responsible for adequate supervision of their activities, and for the conduct of all individuals associated with the event in and around their events/activities. All security costs are the responsibility of the organization hosting the event.

l) The Memorial Union reserves the right to refuse space to any group or individual according to Iowa State University Policy.

m) MU Event Management reserves the right to assign and, if necessary, re-assign facilities to assure the maximum and most appropriate utilization of MU space.

n) The Memorial Union reserves the right to change policies without notice and grant exceptions upon appeal.

o) The Memorial Union will not ship, store or hold any items prior to, during or after an event held at the Memorial Union.

2) Reserving MU Meeting Rooms and Services

a) Room Reservations

  1. Room reservations for facilities in the Memorial Union may be made by filling out the online room request form. Room requests should be submitted at least three business days prior to the event date.

  2. Normal hours of operations for event and meeting space are 7:00am - 10:00pm on Monday - Saturday and are 11:00am - 10pm on Sundays during the academic year.  Requests before or after this time frame may be approved and will incur a fee if they are approved by the Event Management Office. Events occurring past 12:00am require security staff and an advisor to be onsite.

  3. Recognized Student Organizations may reserve meeting rooms in the MU at no charge.

  4. Recognized Organizations are limited to no more than two (2) meeting rooms per week with a four (4) hour time limit for routine weekly activities. Additional space can be requested one week in advance, pending availability and the approval of the Event Management Office. Ballroom and Terrace spaces are not eligible for reoccurring reservations.

  5. Full payment must be received prior to receiving a confirmed reservation. If payment is not received in a timely manner, the event will be cancelled unless special arrangements have been made. University departments and student groups must submit the department worktag or intramural to the Event Management Office prior to receiving a confirmed reservation.  Charges or fees for Recognized Student Organizations must be paid by an intramural.  Intramurals must be signed by the advisor and treasurer of the student group.  Failure to do so may result in cancellation of future reservations for the group.

  6. Reoccurring meetings are not allowed in the ballroom spaces.

  7. Memorial Union locations may not be scheduled as rain locations for Student Organization or University Department events planned elsewhere.

  8. Any university department events that charge participatory fees (any money exchanged between participants or vendors and the hosting department) will be charged a nominal room rental fee. The rental fee for each small meeting room utilized is $50, the rental fee for each large meeting room utilized is $100, and the rental fee for each ballroom utilized is $300. Any events found to charge fees that were not previously disclosed to the Event Management Office may incur the cost of public rental rates for all equipment and spaces.

b) Advance Reservations Procedures

  1. Iowa State University Departments may request space up to 1 years in advance. Registered Student Organizations may request for space up to 1 year in advance.

  2. Programs scheduled more than one year in advance may not be guaranteed set pricing for services including room rentals, equipment fees and staffing fees. The fee schedule is subject to change each fiscal year.

  3. Number of requests for space may be limited based on availability or discretion of the Event Management Office

  4. Space requests for more than 1 years in advance will require approval from the MU Director, Associate Director or designee.

3) Audio-Visual Equipment

a) The Memorial Union makes available a variety of media equipment for use in the Memorial Union facilities only. Use of this equipment may be arranged through the Event Management office. All equipment is to remain within its assigned space.

b) Payment for the equipment must be made prior to receiving a confirmed reservation.  An intramural or university fund account is required for payment. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of future reservations for the group.

c) The MU reserves the right to require an AV technician pending the audio-visual needs of the event or program.

d) Groups hosting events that utilize AV equipment in the Durham Great Hall, Oak Room, South Ballroom, and Sun Room sound system are required to use MU staff at the customer’s expense. The Memorial Union reserves the right to have a staff member in the event space at all times through the duration of the event. The Memorial Union reserves the right to require professional technical support staff depending on the level of AV equipment used within large meeting rooms.

e) Groups that request to use an outside sound company may be approved to do so as long as the company provides all necessary equipment including microphones, speakers, and soundboards. Outside vendors may receive approval to be allowed access to MU sound system with the hiring of a MU technician who will run the MU equipment.

f) The Memorial Union is not responsible for equipment provided by 3rd party vendors for use during an event in the MU. 

g) Mounted projectors are free for use by Student Organizations. If an alternative projector is requested, there will be charges equal to the University Department rental rates.

4) Catering and Food Service

a) ISU Catering has an exclusive catering contract to provide catering services within the Memorial Union. Groups utilizing MU facilities are not permitted to bring their own food or beverage into the Memorial Union. Any exceptions need to be requested through the Event Management Office, 3630 MU.

b) All organizations requiring catering must contact ISU Catering, 3630 MU, to set up the menu. Complete catering menus can be found online at

c) For internal meetings, ISU Student Organizations can apply for permission to bring in food from a select number of external vendors. See Recognized Student Organization Food Policy. (Request an approved food vendor)

d) Non-University, University Departments and ISU Student Organizations must use ISU Catering for their catering needs in the Memorial Union.

e) In accordance with state regulations and ISU Risk Management guidelines, clients may not take perishable food products from the premises. 

f) Alcoholic beverages will be served in accordance with the Code of the State of Iowa, Ames City Ordinance and social hosting guidelines of Iowa State University. All alcoholic beverages will be served by ISU Catering. The alcohol must stay within the space that is was served in.

g) Recognized undergrad student organizations sponsoring an event are not allowed to have alcohol as part of an event.

h) Non-University groups will be assessed the full room rental charges even if catering is ordered.

5) Cancellations

a) Cancellations of meeting room (900 square feet or fewer) reservations must be made at least 3 business days before an event. A cancellation fee will be assessed for cancellations received less than 3 business days before the event.  Please see the Memorial Union fee schedule for rates.

b) Cancellations of large meeting room (900 square feet or more) reservations must be made at least 10 business days prior to the event. A cancellation fee will be assessed for event space cancellations received less than 10 business days prior to the event. Please see the Memorial Union fee schedule for cancellation rates.

c) Cancellations of ballroom (Durham Great Hall, South Ballroom, Sun Room) reservations must be made at least 20 business days prior to the event. A cancellation fee will be assessed for event space cancellations received less than 20 business days prior to the event. Please see the Memorial Union fee schedule for cancellation rates.

6) No Show

a) Not showing up for a meeting without proper notice to the event management office will be considered a No Show for the space. University Departments and Recognized Student Organizations will be assessed a No Show fee for cancellations received less than 1 business day before the date of the event. 100% of room rate and all fees will be assessed to Non-University groups. Please see the Memorial Union fee schedule for rates.

b) Rooms are considered No show after 30 minutes have passed from the scheduled start of the reservation.

7) Cleaning and Maintenance

a) Excessive cleaning fees will be assessed to the reserving group if space requires non-routine cleaning after the usage.

b) Damage or loss to the Memorial Union facility or equipment, the group responsible for the reservation will be liable for any charges. Charges will be based on the repair and/or replacement costs of area or equipment.

8) Additional Event Services

a) Changes to space layout and room setup may be requested up to 3 business days prior to the reservation date for small meeting rooms (900 square feet or less). Changes to space layout and room setup may be requested up to 10 business days prior to the reservation date for large meeting rooms and ballrooms (900 square feet or more). Groups will be allotted a maximum of 3 requested diagram drafts at no charge.  Additional diagram revisions may result in fees to the reserving organization.

b) Meeting and event space usage outside of normal operating hours may be requested. Requests additional building hours access should be submitted no later than twenty (20) business days prior to the requested event date. Requests submitted within twenty (20) business days may not be accommodated. If approved, after hours operating fees will be assessed:

Recognized Student Organizations - $60.00/hour*

University Departments - $120.00/hour*

General Public Events – $200.00/hour 
*ALL approved reservation requests that extend between the hours of 12am-6am will be subject to $200/hour fee due to the need to extend building custodial services and security.

c) Events may require addition facility staffing to address additional service requests, security needs and/ or risk management concerns at the expense of the organization hosting the event. The related costs will be billed to the organization hosted the event.

9) Event Rehearsals

a) The Memorial Union Event Management Office reserves the right to require a dress rehearsal for any event; they deem it necessary.

10) Decorations and Demonstrations 

a) Decorations in the Memorial Union are limited to being setup within the meeting rooms and ballrooms.

b) Decorations must be free standing or mounted on an easel or pipe and draping.

c) Decorations, signs, postings, or other items may not in any way be attached to interior or exterior Memorial Union public area walls, fixtures, or property. Decorations cannot be taped, glued, puttied, stapled or attached in any way to painted surfaces, stages, floor, glass, walls or furniture.

d) The use of non-stick blue putty or tape is not permitted due to the stain left behind and damage to wall surface

e) All decorations must be removed by the sponsoring group or organization at the conclusion of the event. If MU staff has to dispose of any decorations remaining after the event, fees will be applied.

f) Glitter, confetti, sand, dry vegetative matter (hay, straw, alfalfa etc), open flames, and biohazardous materials are prohibited. The reserving group will be held responsible for any damage to the room(s) reserved.  A fee may be assessed if the room or surrounding facilities require excessive, non-routine cleaning after the event.

g) Decorations may not cover windows, doors, or fire routes.

h) Flying projectiles are not allowed in the Memorial Union. Unmanned Aircraft Systems including drones, model airplanes and flying toys are not allowed to be operated within the Memorial Union.

11) Political Activities

a) Recognized organizations and university departments may reserve MU space for political activities. Political activities are defined as those events which have as their purpose the endorsement, support, or advancement of a politically affiliated cause, organization, party, or candidate.

b) Political activities sponsored by Non-University groups are charged the full room rental.

c) All recognized organizations, departments, and Non-University groups are required to follow Memorial Union policies.

12) Solicitation

a) It is the policy of Iowa State University and the Iowa State Memorial Union to permit solicitation by recognized University organizations only. Solicitation shall be defined as any commercial, profit-making, or fund-raising activity as well as activities which involve petitioning, canvassing, campaigning, or distribution of literature. All approved solicitation activities in the Memorial Union are to be confined to reserved spaces such as the first floor booth and display table, or meeting rooms.

b) Solicitation outside the Memorial Union must take place at least 100 feet away from the building's entryway. There are two locations that information can be distributed while following University policies within that 100 foot range. Groups may use the grass area west of the fountain area under the trees and the terrace area west of the building near the revolving door. Groups using these two locations need to remain at least 25 feet away from the entryway and cannot block access to the sidewalks or the entryways.

c) Credit card application solicitation is prohibited on the Iowa State University campus and within the Memorial Union.

13) Fundraising

a) Any fund-raising efforts performed on campus must be planned, sponsored and coordinated by a registered University organization, not be sponsored by an individual or by a for-profit company outside the University. The organization sponsoring the fund-raising must obtain the product to be sold, advertise, deliver the product, and handle any complaints.

b) The Memorial Union reserves the right to refuse hosting fundraising activities which are in direct competition with the activities, programs, or services within the Memorial Union or the Student Union Board.

14) Additional Event Spaces in the MU

a) The Maintenance Shop

  1. The Maintenance Shop (M-Shop) must be reserved through the Entertainment Program Coordinator in Student Engagement, East Student Office Space.

  2. For specific policies and guidelines, refer to the Maintenance Shop's Website.

b) The Workspace

  1. The Workspace must be reserved through the Fine Arts Program Coordinator in Student Engagement, East Student Office Space.

  2. For specific policies and guidelines, refer to the Workspace's Website.

c) CyBowl & Billiards

  1. CyBowl  must be reserved through the Recreation Program Assistant in CyBowl & Billiards

  2. For specific policies and guidelines, refer to CyBowl & Billiard's Website.

d) The Gallery

  1. The Gallery must be reserved through the Fine Arts Program Coordinator in Student Engagement, East Student Office Space.

15) Signboards

a) Recognized student organizations can reserve signboards through the Event Management Office, 3630 MU. Boards are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. 

b) At time of reservation, a student organization can reserve up to two (2) boards per event. If more signboards are available within one week of the requested reservation, the organization will be able to reserve more. Boards can be reserved for a period of up to 7 days (including weekends). 

c) Signboards must be taken down and returned clean and in working order no later than 4:00pm on the final reservation date or the 7th day to the Event Management Office, 3630 MU. The use of duct tape to affix items to the signboards is prohibited. Packing tape is preferred but not supplied. Fees may be applied if they are returned dirty or damaged.

d) Future use of the signboards will be denied to groups that fail to return boards promptly after their reservation ends, or without removing promotional material. If the signboard is not returned, a $10 per day late fee will be charged to the group with a maximum of $100. 

e) The Event Management office reserves the right to deny usage of boards due to violation of any of these policies, and/or they were used to promote an unauthorized event.

16) Easels and Sign Standards

a) Memorial Union has easels and sign standards for use within the Memorial Union by those wishing to display items or provide directional signage to lead guests to their event location.

17) Tables and Booth

a) A table or booth can only be reserved by recognized student organizations. Reservations can be made in the Event Management Office, 3630 MU. 

b) Recognized student organizations may use a table or booth from 8am to 5pm on the day of their reservation. Groups not occupying their table or booth by 10:15 am the day of their reservation, without prior notification, must inform the Event Management Office of late occupation or they forfeit their reservation for that day. 

c) Recognized student organizations are limited to eight (8) reservations a semester, four (4) days consecutively. 

d) The solicitation policies apply to the use of first floor table locations near the bookstore and the oval staircase as well as the booth.

e) Selling or promotional activities of a group must remain within the confines of the table or booth. 

f) The table and booth must be occupied by a representative of the reserving organization at all times during a reservation, and it is recommended that no more than 2 people occupy the space at one time.

g) All materials must be cleared from the table or booth and it’s posting area at the end of the day. 

h) Memorial Union is not responsible for materials left on the table or in the booth.

i) During Summer Orientation, the table and the booth locations cannot be reserved.

j) Cancellation of a table or the booth must be made within three (3) days of the date of the reservation. Failure to do so will count toward the group’s allotted number of days.

18) Banners

a) Banner space is reserved in the Event Management Office, 3630 MU.

b) The name and/or logo of the sponsoring organization must be included on the banner.

c) Banners must be fabric or heavy vinyl and have eyelets along the top with which to hang the banner.

d) The dimensions must fall within the following parameters:

  1. Not to exceed 27 feet wide and 5 feet tall - west stairway

  2. Less than 10 feet wide and 3 feet tall - south atrium

e) Banners that advertise commercial products, non-university organizations, or political campaigns are not permitted.

f) Memorial Union is not responsible for damaged or stolen banners.

g) Banners must be picked up from the Event Management Office, 3630 MU, within 1 week after the reservation date or it will be discarded.

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