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Events

Updated 5/4/20

Northwestern schools, units and groups hosting events can find answers to common questions about holding events at this time. 

1. Is Northwestern canceling events as a result of COVID-19?

On March 20, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a "stay-at-home" order to limit the spread of the coronavirus. On April 24, he announced its extension. The order will run through Sunday, May 31. Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. See Northwestern's Illinois Stay-at-Home Order FAQs for more information. 

On April 23, Northwestern announced that all in-person summer programs and activities scheduled to begin on or before July 12 will be offered remotely.

(Updated 4/28/20)

2. What is social distancing?

The CDC defines social distancing as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.”

In general, it means limiting the number of people in close proximity to each other at any given time.

3. What do you mean by a University event?

Events mean any extracurricular programming, such as speakers, seminars, symposiums, admissions or recruitment days, or similar occurrences.

University events do not extend to core academic courses or programs that are requirements of the academic curricula, or directly support ongoing research projects.

There are a variety of types of events, and we ask that schools and units use their best judgment on the level of importance and how essential the event is.  

4. What about athletic events?

All varsity competition has been canceled for the remainder of the academic year. All organized team activities, including practice, training, and recruiting, have been suspended until at least June 1. All Northwestern camps and clinics have been cancelled through Sept. 13. Recreation facilities have been closed until further notice. (Updated 5/4/20)

5. What about events planned to occur later in the summer?

On March 20, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a "stay-at-home" order to limit the spread of the coronavirus. On April 24, he announced its extension. The order will run through Sunday, May 31. Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. See Northwestern's Illinois Stay-at-Home Order FAQs for more information.

On April 23, Northwestern announced that all in-person summer programs and activities scheduled to begin on or before July 12 will be offered remotely. The University will announce at a later date if summer activities scheduled to begin on or after July 13 may be conducted in-person or if they will need to be delivered remotely. Activities that cannot be delivered remotely will be postponed or canceled. Northwestern community members planning events for late summer should be in contact with school and unit leadership and should carefully monitor University policies and state and local rules. Event organizers also should consider the implications and timing when making the decision to cancel or postpone. 

(Updated 4/28/20)

6. What should we do when canceling our event?

If you cancel an event, immediately notify all event participants, registrants, vendors, venues, presenters and others who will impacted, and tell them that the event has been canceled.

Update the event listing in PlanIt Purple, Northwestern’s event calendar, to mark it as canceled.  If you did not previously add your event to PlanIt Purple, please do so and mark it as canceled.  See instructions for adding an event and flagging it as canceled. Follow the guidance below to manage the financial and contractual implications of canceled events.

7. What should I do to manage the financial and contractual implications of canceled events, including events I was going to attend but didn’t plan?

For all canceled events, reach out to applicable vendors as soon as possible to cancel, postpone or arrange alternative accommodations for any impacted Northwestern contracts. This includes your arrangements with airlines, hotels, travel agencies, event spaces, caterers, paid speakers and the like.

Request a refund or credit of amounts you have already paid under canceled or terminated contracts.  You might be entitled to this under your contract, or the vendor might be offering refunds or credits, particularly for customers who wish to reschedule events later in the year.

Review the terms of your contract before paying any amounts to, or submitting invoices for, canceled vendors.  Early termination / cancellation or force majeure clauses in your vendor contracts may reduce or completely excuse your obligation to pay given the current circumstances.

If you still have questions, or encounter issues or requests from event vendors or participants, please contact your dean’s office or the vice president of your unit/department. 

8. What should we include in new contracts?

For new vendor contracts under negotiation, we recommend that you include flexible termination language such as the following: “Northwestern may immediately terminate this agreement at any time upon written notice to vendor without any further liability or obligation.”