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Students groups are encouraged to hold events at venues outside Columbia University. 

Planning Events

Contracts and Agreements

  • Students groups are encouraged to hold events at venues outside Columbia University. Refer to the list of preferred off-campus spaces and venues to host events.  However, the following procedure must be followed when using an outside vendor that requires a signed contract or agreement.

    • Once you have chosen an outside venue that requires a signed contract/agreement, you must forward the contract to email the SIPA Business Office  for review. All hotel and event contracts should be submitted to Purchasing for review, in accordance with these guidelines:
    • For unplanned gatherings of under 20 individuals and for gatherings that only consist of Columbia faculty, staff or students where a formal event contract is not required by the venue (if nothing requiring a signature is involced), payment can be processed without Purchasing's review.
    • For events covering only drink tickets and/or passed appetizers, Purchasing will need to review the contract and likely be able to sign without creating an amendment. Folowing an executed agreement, payment can be processed through accounts payable. 
    • If the contract/agreement is acceptable, you will receive approval to move forward.
    • If any changes are required, the Purchasing Office or General Counsel will work with the vendor to make the changes and finalize the contract/agreement. The contract/agreement will be signed by the appropriate person and forwarded to the vendor.

    Students may NEVER sign a contract on behalf of the University.

  • All events held on campus in which the vendor is providing staff (caterers, bartenders, waiters, etc.) require a requisition/purchase order. For on-campus food delivery/drop off, with no set up or catered services, Purchasing's review will not be required and payment can be processed through accounts payable directly. 

    Please note that the processing time for service contracts to be vetted and approved can take up to a month.  To accommodate this time frame, the documents listed below should be sent to the SIPA Business Office for review and forwarding to the Procurement Office no less than 4 weeks in advance.

    1. Vendor contract/agreement
    2. Certification of Insurance (COI)
    3. NYS liquor license (if liquor/wine is being served)
    4. If over $2,500 competitive bids are required

    When all of the documentation has been received in the SIPA Business Office, it will be forwarded to the Columbia Purchasing Office for review.  They may request that the vendor’s contract/agreement be edited or amended.  After these changes have been completed by the Purchasing Office, the contract will return to the SIPA Business Office for further processing.  Please note that the SIPA Business Office has no control over how quickly the contract is reviewed by Purchasing. 

    The steps that follow the return of the reviewed contract to the SIPA Business Office are as follows:

    1. The SIPA Business Office sends the amended contract to the vendor for their signature 
    2. The vendor returns the signed contract and amendment to the SIPA Business Office which forwards it to the Office of the Executive Director of Purchasing
    3. Purchasing returns the approved contract to SIPA
    4. The fully signed contract goes to A/P with the voucher for payment
    5. A fully signed copy is sent to the vendor

Co-Sponsoring Events

Payment methods differ depending on whether your group wishes to support a SIPA group or a non-SIPA group.

  • For a group wishing to support another SIPA student group’s event or contribute to an activity, the method of payment is a direct charge. To process your request, please download the PDF and email the SIPA Business Office

  • For a group wishing to support non-SIPA Columbia student group's event or contirbute to an activity, the method of payment is fund transfer. To process your request, please download the PDF and email the SIPA Business Office

    For both forms, please indicate:

    • A description of your request,
    • The chart string (account info) for your dept./group and the dept./group you want to make the transfer to,
    • Along with supporting documentation (i.e. flyer, email, invoice, etc.).
    • The name of a contact person from the group (The contact person should be copied on the e-mail, so they can verify and authorize the transaction).

    The Business Office will process your request, not to exceed the amount your dept. /group has agreed to contribute/transfer.

    Please note: The transfer of funds between University accounts via any indirect means is strongly discouraged. Accepted accounting practice mandates direct charging whenever possible so that the flow of revenue and expenses can be traced.