Outdoor Event Request Information

Welcome to the Northwestern University Outdoor Event Request Portal

Northwestern University departments and recognized student organizations may make outdoor event requests. Although there is generally no fee associated with an outdoor event, each request must include include a valid Chartstring number, which will be used should the space be damaged or improperly cleaned after your event.

Please read through each section for specific information that may impact your event. Events taking place without meeting proper permit, insurance, or university requirements will not be approved, or may risk cancellation. 

Please Note

Your event request is not approved until it has been "activated." You may receive "approval" emails, but that is only an approval from an individual outdoor event administrator. Until you receive a confirmation email from the Norris Event Planning Office, and the schedule is "activated," the event has NOT been approved. Event Requests can take between 5 and 10 business days for activation & confirmation.

Location Specific Information

Some locations on campus require special permission, fees, or additional steps in order to reserve. See below for specific information.

Athletic Fields

  • To confirm availability prior to submitting your event request, please obtain a scheduling commitment for your location from the Director of Club Sports at 847-491-4603, since the Recreational Fields and Long Field primarily support Intramural and Club Sport activities.
  • To ensure the quickest response to your event request, include your agreement with the Director of Club Sports in the description of our event when completing your outdoor event request.

Tech Courtyards/Ford Lawn

  • No fundraising allowed in either area.
  • No use of grills (gas or charcoal) in the Tech Courtyards.
  • Due to events taking place within Tech and Ford, we reserve the right to deny or limit amplified sound levels in the courtyards or lawn, regardless of whether a permit has been secured.

North Beach

  • Events at the North Beach require a beach manager and lifeguard. The fee for this service will be charged to the Chartstring number listed in your event request.
  • Final arrangements for beach staff must be made with the Director of Aquatics and Waterfront Operations by calling 847-467-1470
  • Northwestern Catering has exclusive catering rights on Athletic Fields, including North Beach.
  • Alcohol is not permitted on the beach when it is open to the public, which is from 7AM-8PM between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
  • Bonfires are not permitted on the beach.

Garrett Lawn

  • The lawn south of the Ford Building is managed by Garrett Seminary. Events requested for this area will require a $100 use fee.
  • Alcohol is not permitted for events at this venue.

Campus Race Route

  • For any race or 5k taking place on campus, waivers must be signed by all participants and returned to the Office of Risk Management after completion of the event
  • Waivers will be emailed to the organizer upon submission of your request
  • Please be sure to select a specific location (eg. Norris East Lawn) as your start and end point along with the Campus Race Route in your request
  • Requestors are responsible for determining the race route. For examples, see here:

Norris Lawns

  • Northwestern Catering has exclusive catering rights on the Norris East & South Lawns
  • Due to events taking place within Norris, we reserve the right to deny or limit amplified sound levels on the lawns, regardless of whether a permit has been secured.
Map of Outdoor Event Locations

View Map (PDF)

Required Permits

Event requestors and organizations are responsible for securing any required permit, or for guaranteeing that off campus vendors secure permits where required. The university will not submit permit applications on your behalf. In general, allow at least 10 business days for permit request approval.

Food Permit

Bonfire Permit

Bonfires are restricted to the Lakefill Fire Pit. Your organization must supply the wood and have a fire extinguisher on site at all times. All bonfires must end at 11:00 pm.

Tent Permit

Tent permits are required for all temporary structures which are staked or water barreled to the ground. Tent provider is responsible for coordinating all university and municipal underground utility locates (JULIE), and for adhering to all codes or requirements for temporary structures. Tents are not permitted on Athletic fields

Loudspeaker Permit

Loudspeakers are restricted by city ordinance to the east side of Sheridan Road and must end before 10:00 PM on Sunday through Thursday and before 11:00 PM on Friday or Saturday. Allow at least two weeks for permit processing.

University Insurance Requirements

Any outside vendor you contract with to provide goods or services on campus must provide Northwestern with a certificate of insurance approved by the Northwestern Office of Risk Management. Any off campus vendor providing service for an event must provide a valid COI for approval prior to the work being done.

Certificates of insurance are also required for outside organizations holding university sponsored activities on campus.

University Disruption and Demonstration Policy

This policy addresses the parameters for free expression and peaceful demonstration by members of the Northwestern community. For purposes of the policy, disruption and demonstration refers to engaging in assemblies, demonstrations, picketing, protests, counter-protests, sit-ins, or any other exercise of free expression on or near the University campus


Please see the detailed University Disruption and Demonstration Policy for specific details.

Bake Sale Fundraisers

More details coming soon!

Catering, Food & Alcohol

Your organization may hire a caterer or purchase and prepare food for your event in any location except the Norris Center lawns, the athletic fields, and the North Beach, which require exclusive catering arrangements through Northwestern Catering. Please see the policies for those locations for details.

Alcoholic beverages must be supplied and served by a licensed caterer and bartender. Organizations are prohibited from providing their own non-licensed catering or bartending services.

Event Security

University Police can be hired to provide security, for a fee, at special programs including concerts, invited speakers, athletic events and 5K races. Some campus venues may require security services in order to hold an event at their site. Please request security services at least 10 business days in advance.

Electricity, Waste Collection & Facilities

Northwestern Facilities Management must coordinate electrical, waste management, or other service requirements where necessary. Allow at least 10 business days for service coordination. Facilities Management cannot guarantee service due to incomplete or late requests.

Submit Your Request

Please Note: Event Requests can take between 5 and 10 business days for approval.


Clicking the link below will direct you to the SchoolDude landing page for the Northwestern University outdoor event request system. Please submit all required information. You will receive an email confirming your request. Please note that submitting a request does not guarantee approval of the event activities until all specific criteria are met.


You will need a submittal password in order to submit your outdoor request.

The submittal password for this system is: password