Policies & RSO Conduct

Follow the link for policies related to alcohol for student organizations: Alcohol Policies

Check out this brief overview of what to consider if hosting events with alcohol.

Registered Student Organizations are able to utilize University Car Fleet Vehicles. The Office of Risk Management has updated their policy on Fleet Vehicle use for Registered Student Organizations. Follow this LINK to learn more about the pertinent policies, forms, and links.


Goods and Services

  • Examples of contracts are:
    • A University Purchase Order
    • A contract offered by the supplier
    • A vendor quotation that has a signature line
    • A University Rider used to modify a Supplier’s Agreement
    • A University Standard Service Agreement
    • A Memorial Union or ASM “Entertainer Agreement”
    • Various other template agreements
  • Signing contracts and purchasing goods and services are important parts of program planning.
  • You must be cautionary because this involves a financial commitment for your RSO.
  • Phone messages, verbal agreements, memorandums, and emails can all create contractual commitments.
    • Organizations or Individuals can be held liable for these contracts, both oral and written.
  • The University is not party to any contract made unless it involves university funds or significant sponsorship by the University.  If this occurs:
    • The contract must be referred to the departmental staff person to ensure compliance with the University’s contract requirements for signatures, etc. (see below for more details).
  • All contracts should be done in advance of any work to be performed or products to be shipped.
  • If it is a University contract, it cannot be signed by a student org.
  • All vendors must be approved, see the Risk Management website, and the instructions attached, to find an approved vendor.  Risk Management will also work with you if the vendor is not approved.

University or ASM funds

Non-University Funds

  • Contact the provider to secure needed information
  • Make sure your facility is reserved for the relevant date and that that facility meets the provider’s needs/specifications
  • Make sure all contracts contain all necessary information about the activity including
    • Date, Time, Place, Topic, Fee, Travel Arrangements, Security Arrangements, Cost, etc.
  • Keep written records of all contacts, contracts, riders and amendments, as well as a list of all verbal communication and any agreements made
  • Read all documents carefully and note any disclaimers, provisions, or language that shifts liability from the contractor to your group.
  • Make sure that the details are correct and the document doesn’t contain any blank spaces
  • If you want to make a correction to a contract:
    • Cross out and insert your changes if space allows
    • OR use a rider that specifically amends the original
    • Make sure both parties sign the amendment
  • Prepare 2 originals of the contract when possible so both parties each have a signed copy
  • Returned the signed contract and any riders to the provider and keep a copy of the agreement after it has been signed by both parties, retain copies for the event plus five years.
  • RSOs are responsible for their financial commitments
  • Contact the university office involved with your program with any questions before agreeing to anything
  • Contracts often contain insurance and indemnification clauses which may place an obligation on your organization either to provide insurance, or to waive all responsibility against the other party. The University does not provide insurance for student organizations so make sure you understand these sections of the contract and make sure you can fulfill your obligation before you sign

Dances, Musical Events, Speakers

  • Make sure the facility you want is available AND reserved for the day you want
  • RSOs holding an event on university property may not invite non-university general public to these events unless sponsored by a university department
  • If the event is scheduled in the Wisconsin Union, additional policies apply
  • See RSO Large Events for more information or contact Campus Event Services
  • Get a contract in writing from the entertainer(s) before starting publicity
  • Remember there are charges for using a university facility for revenue producing events
  • If tickets are sold ahead of time, they must be printed
  • Sales tax will be due on tickets sold


  • University Liability Insurance
    • The University is insured through the State of Wisconsin’s self-insurance program
    • Coverage is limited to liability caused by the negligence of University employees and agents of the University while in the course and scope of conducting official university (state) business
    • RSOs are NOT normally covered by this insurance program
    • Students negligent actions may be covered if the activity is supervised by departmental staff and the activities are consistent with the department’s mission – do not count on this unless you have discussed this with the department or Risk Management beforehand
  • Special Events Insurance—For events not covered by the University’s liability protection
    • If there is potential risk for injury or property damage to others (not participants), the Office of Risk Management can assist RSOs in obtaining liability insurance for the event only
      • This will protect your org and members from the financial risk of claims being made against them
      • Examples of events where this may be relevant: Animal events, dances, or concerts, pyrotechnics, juggling, chain saws, generally any activity that has the potential to seriously injure people physically or emotionally.
    • There is a charge based on the type of event being held,  the number of days and the anticipated attendance
  • Corporate Sponsor Insurance coverage


  • A Professional agency contract is a standard contract used by speakers or performers who use the services of a professional agent for the purpose of scheduling and collecting fees and stating the terms of service.
    • Confirmation letters, contracts or other documents will need to be generated by your organization if you are seeking to employ the services of speakers or performers who do not use a professional agent.
      • The documents you send should specify all necessary information: date, time, topic, travel arrangements, fees, liabilities, security arrangements, time and type of payment, and any other information you deem necessary.
      • It is better to err on the side of having too much information rather than too little.
      • Be specific as to exactly what you ARE and ARE NOT paying for.
  • A contractor is the entity providing the goods or services under a contract.
  • A contractee is the party receiving the goods or services from the contractor.
  • A rider is an attachment to a contract that contains various terms and conditions, spelling out the necessary details of the purchase or service. We may use a rider in a variety of ways such as to amend a contract and to expand the terms of a contract initiated by a professional agency

Other Valuable Reference Websites

Business Services “How To” Library – http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/howto/HowMain.html
How to Purchase Goods @ UW-Madison – https://businessservices.wisc.edu/managing-risk/liability/
Purchasing Policies and Procedures – https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-3043

The University of Wisconsin–Madison requires faculty, staff, students, contractors, and affiliates seeking to use autonomous vehicles, including unmanned aircraft systems (drones), for UW-related education, research, and non-academic purposes to submit pilot and flight approval applications in ARROW.

ARROW is a research oversight platform that allows researchers to submit and track research related applications and protocols across oversight authorities. All applications are reviewed by the Research Vehicle Safety Oversight (RVSO) Committee. Committee membership includes representation from across stakeholder areas including faculty, pilots, risk management, UWPD, teach and learning, research, marketing, and facilities.

Approved pilot applications are valid for one year and must be resubmitted annually. Flight applications should be submitted two weeks in advance of any proposed flights.

Prohibited activities include flying for recreational or hobbyist uses on campus. In addition, the campus adheres to FAA guidelines and prohibits the following without waivers:

  • Flight(s) over people
  • Flight(s) beyond the line of sight
  • Flight(s) at night
  • Flight(s) above 400′
  • Flight(s) in controlled airspace (requires authorization)

Registered student organizations and students in connection with UW–Madison course work are eligible to apply for instructional use.

UW–Madison is a challenging environment for drone use of any kind or for any purpose given its location in an urban environment, located just miles from the Dane County Regional Airport and Middleton Municipal Airport, and in close proximity to UW Health’s Med Flight base.

Policy UW-6010: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drone) Hobbyist & Policy UW-4005: Research Vehicle Safety Oversight further outline policy details.

If you have questions about drone use compliance on campus, please contact Heather McFadden, heather.mcfadden@wisc.edu.

Policies regarding food can be found in numerous places in the Student Organization Resource & Policy Guide, based on a couple of factors.


Different buildings on campus have different policies regarding food, so your best bet is first to determine where your event will be held and then to research that location. Here are a few resources to help with that.

Some event locations restrict use of outside food vendors. Generally, the Wisconsin Union and University Housing require that events held in their facilities must purchase food from the Wisconsin Union or University Housing, respectively, with the exception of pizza which may be purchased from an off campus vendor. For any exceptions, including specific cultural foods, contact the Wisconsin Union and University Housing directly. Please check the Space Reservations Policies section for more information on specific regulations based on location.

If the event is held in a university facility that allows the purchase of food from an off-campus food vendor, the vendor must hold a restaurant or retail license from WI DATCP and have an Insurance Certificate on file with the University’s Risk Management Office. Check if off-campus food vendors have an Insurance Certificate on file on the Risk Management website. Inquires about approved WI DATCP licenses can be emailed to eoh@fpm.wisc.edu.


Authorization prior to serving or selling food is required from the Environmental and Occupational Health Department and UW-Madison Risk Management. To obtain authorization, fill out an application, read the temporary food event policy and read the safety requirements. The application and supporting documents can be found online by visiting https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-2014.

If you are selling the food:

There is helpful information under “Fundraising Opportunities” panel within the Finances page of this guide about selling food. Specifically, read this section to find out about sales of homemade goods (bake sales) which are not allowed on campus.

Funding for food:

There are several sources of campus funding for Student Organization events. Most of these sources do not fund food, however. You may want to prioritize using your organization’s funds or donated funds for this part of your event budget. On the link above, check out the AIS, Wisconsin Experience Grant, and the WUD grants for funding of food.

Naming Requirements for Student Organizations

Below is a detailed list of university naming requirements. Please see the “How to Use Bucky” document for a brief overview of this information.

You may NOT use any form of UW-Madison as the BEGINNING WORD(S) of the name of your student organization, e.g., UW–Madison, University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin. Instead, list the UW-Madison affiliation at the end of the name of your organization, followed by a comma or parentheses, i.e., Checkers Club, UW or Checkers Club (UW-Madison). Make sure ALL REFERENCES to your organization (official name, acronym, website, etc) adhere to this requirement.

You are required to disclose any community, state, national, or international affiliations of your student organization by listing them on the registration application form. Note that the name of your student organization cannot be the same name as the affiliated group. For example, if your group is affiliated with United Way and you wish to use the words United Way as part of your name, then you may name your student organization, e.g., United Way, UW Student Chapter; Friends of United Way; United Way, UW; United Way Student Programming Board.

While an affiliated student organization may adopt the goals of the broader organization, the student organization itself must also relate to student life on the Madison campus, be composed primarily of UW-Madison students, and must be controlled and directed by UW-Madison students. For example, the United Way, UW Student Chapter purpose might be to support the work of United Way, to inform students about working in the nonprofit sector, and for student members to encourage other students to volunteer in United Way agencies.

Special Characters

No Registered Student Organization name may start with an article or a special character. This includes, but is not limited to: the, a, an, “, #, @, *, any number (other than written out), or any non-Latin alphabet text.

University Logos and Trademarks

Adhere to the following requirements if your organization intends on using university trademarks or logos on products or letterhead.  Visit the UW-Madison brand and visual identity guidelines (https://brand.wisc.edu/) for additional information.

University Indicia

  • The university asserts ownership and all rights, title, and interest in and to its indicia, which includes trademarks, service marks, mascots, slogans and any other indicia that is associated with or refers to the university. Licensed indicia are the names, symbols, designs, and colors of the university, including the trademarks, service marks, designs, team names, nicknames, abbreviations, city/state names in the appropriate context, slogans, logographics, mascots, seals, and other symbols associated with or referring to the university.
  • To protect the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s trademarks and promote a consistent visual identity, UW logos, symbols and marks may vary in size, but cannot otherwise be altered, tampered with, modified, incorporated into other marks, or overprinted with other words or design elements (https://brand.wisc.edu/).
  • The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System owns and supervises use of university indicia.
  • Examples of university indicia include any graphic representation relating to the following (Motion W logo is only approved for use by Varsity and Rec Sports club teams).

The following words, phrases, and logos in the box below can only be used if documentation providing approval of use form the Office of Trademark Licensing is provided.

University Indicia
University of Wisconsin ®
Wisconsin ®
University of Wisconsin-Madison ™
University of Wisconsin Badgers ™
Badger ™
Badgers ™
Wisco ™
Fifth Quarter ™
UW ™
UW-Madison ®™
Logo of Bucky Badger head ®
Football helmet logo ™
Crest W ®
Wisconsin Badgers ®
W ™
The Motion W logo ®
Bucky Badger logo ®
Bucky Badger ™
Bucky ™
Kohl Center ™
Camp Randall Stadium ™


About Collegiate Trademark Licensing

  • Countless third parties wish to associate themselves commercially with a school’s tremendous prestige and spirit
  • Trademark licensing has been developed to become an important means for universities to maintain and promote their prestigious images through licensed products and promotions
  • To ensure consistency in the use of the university’s name and logos, all products must be produced by manufacturers licensed through the university’s licensing agent, Fermata Partners
  • In return for the right to use the university name and marks on products, a university license requires a company (called a licensee) to sign a license agreement, which sets forth the specific rights and responsibilities of the school (the licensor) and the licensee
    • The UW currently receives a 12% royalty.
      • The royalty is based on the wholesale cost of the goods, and is in essence considered the “rental fee” for the use of the university’s trademarks on the product(s)
      • Royalties collected support the university’s “Bucky Grants,” scholarships for need-based students, and the Athletic Department.

Who Can Use University Indicia?

  • Only companies that are officially licensed by the university are permitted to produce items using university trademarks
    • Approximately 370  companies are licensed with the University of Wisconsin
  • Purchases must be made from licensed vendors to ensure quality, consistency and appropriateness of design on the goods
  • In addition, licensees have signed a Labor Code of Conduct agreeing to conduct their businesses in a socially responsible and ethical manner
    • This includes meeting employment standards and practices deemed acceptable by the University of Wisconsin
    • The Office of Trademark Licensing can assist you in providing information on licensed companies licensing@athletics.wisc.edu

To Use University Indicia for your Campus Organization

  • Receive approval from the Office of Trademark Licensing
    • Following are some design and layout guidelines for using the indicia upon approval:
      • The name of the recognized/registered student organization must be listed in close proximity to the university indicia you’re using.
      • For example, a university logo may appear at the top of a flier or letter or on the front side of a T-shirt with the name of the recognized student organization listed underneath or to the side of it.
      • A second line for University of Wisconsin–Madison or UW–Madison identifies your registered student organization as a part of the UW.
      • The logo of a non-university business or nonprofit organization which is co-sponsoring or contributing to a student organization event or activity may NOT be placed in close proximity to university indicia. However, you may list any mention of a sponsor in much smaller print at the bottom of the letter or flier as a thank you for their contributions in making the event possible.
      • On a T-shirt, the university indicia with your registered student organization name and affiliation with UW–Madison may appear on the front of the shirt.
      • Any acknowledgements of non-university sponsors should be listed on the back of the T-Shirt.
      • You may include a list of sponsor names and/or their logos on the back of the T-Shirt.
      • Any university departmental or other registered student organizations that are co-sponsoring an event or activity can be listed on the letter, flier, T-shirt, or other products by their name or logo (see cobranding under the following link: https://brand.wisc.edu/print/logos/).
    • Submit your request via e-mail (licensing@athletics.wisc.edu)
      • Explain how you intend to use the indicia on promotional material
      • Include an actual design/layout of how the indicia will be used
      • Copy of promotional flier or T-shirt design
      • Take your artwork to a licensed company and ask the licensee to assist you in designing the look you desire
    • Please direct your request to:
      • Address: Office of Trademark Licensing, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 711 State Street, Suite 200, Madison, WI 53703
      • Phone: (608) 263-7776
      • Fax: (608) 262-9065
    • Contact licensing@athletics.wisc.edu for more information.
    • Additional information is available at www.licensing.wisc.edu.

When are royalties required?

  • Royalties are required when:
    • Item is intended for resale, either to the public or to individual members of a student organization.
    • Item includes a commercial message, sponsor, or endorsement (regardless of size).
    • Item is used as a promotional marketing device for a particular event.
      (Note: the royalty will be built into the final cost of the product and paid to the university by the licensee).
  • Royalties are exempt when:
    • The item (generally clothing) is used as a “uniform.”
    • Distribution of the item (generally non-apparel items) is for internal use by a department or an organization.


For student organizations planning on participating in political campaign support and/or potentially inviting political candidates to campus, there are a number of university policies and procedures that must be followed. Additional details about these policies can be found on the Political Campaigning page.

Registered Student Organizations use a variety of ways to get the word out about organization meetings and events.  If your organization would like to put up posters on campus, chalk announcements on campus, or hand out leaflets to students, please check out the Posting, Chalking, and Leafletting page for details.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison strongly values free speech both in the statement of an idea and in the response to that idea. Generating and exploring innovative ideas and realities requires us to permit multiple perspectives and dynamic discourse. We are committed to freedom of expression and the right to assemble for the purpose of expressing differing opinions or to request certain actions from the University.

For detailed information about protest guidelines, preparations and response, please refer to the UW-Madison Protest Guidelines.

Follow the link for policies related to reserving and utilizing space on campus: Reserving Space

The UW-1045 Youth Protection Policy establishes minimum standards for the protection of youth participants in youth activities offered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on and off campus, and in third-party youth activities.

Youth activities, events, operations, or endeavors intended for the participation by minors that are operated by UW-Madison on, or off campus are subject to the UW-1045 Youth Protection Policy. RSOs who seek to host youth activities on UW-Madison property should contact the Office of Youth Protection at least 90 days in advance. RSO youth activities are considered third-party youth activities and must adhere to Addendum A of the UW-1045 Youth Protection Policy. All youth activities must be authorized by a school/college/divisions Youth Protection Designee before entering a facility use contract with UW-Madison. For more information contact youthprotection@wisc.edu or visit the Office of Youth Protection online.