Booking of Outdoor Space: Branion Plaza Policy

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1.  Preamble

Branion Plaza is located at the heart of campus, surrounded by the McLaughlin Library, academic buildings such as Zavitz Hall and the MacKinnon Building, the University Centre and Raithby House. The plaza is common space and, for many years, two designated areas have been available for booking through Conference Services. Its recent renovation, with the installation of fixed seating, electrical outlets and a stage area, offers new booking opportunities within this mixed use space. However, given its proximity to classrooms, studios, designated study spaces, the patio and casual seating areas, challenges stemming from sound 2 levels and congestion have been encountered since its refurbishment. As a result, this policy was developed to:

  1. Establish consistent practices for the booking of Branion Plaza by members of the university community;
  2. Ensure that the academic mission of the institution is not impeded by noise levels associated with outdoor events and activities; and
  3. Ensure that approved outdoor events and activities are conducted safely, in accordance with university policies and procedures.

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2.  Definitions

Amplification includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Professional or novice sound equipment;
  2. Stereos, bullhorns, megaphones and speaker systems; and
  3. Any instrument connected to an amplifier.

Student Group refers to a student-led group, organization, club, service or campaign that is accredited by the University of Guelph through the Student Organization Policy (SOP) or recognized by the Office of Student Affairs (e.g. Special Status Groups, First Response Team, and The Ontarion).

Unit refers to administrative, academic or certified bargaining units at the university, including but not limited to: divisions, departments, faculties, schools, centres, libraries and union locals.

Student Staff refers to students in paraprofessional roles, interns and/or volunteers formally appointed by a unit who book Branion Plaza on behalf of that unit.

External Parties refers to those individuals not formally affiliated with the University of Guelph who wishes to book Branion Plaza.

Event refers to any booking undertaken by a student group or unit that requires use of the stage area.

University-sanctioned refers to any official event or activity of the University of Guelph designed to enhance its mission and public service (i.e. campaigns, vigils, memorial services).

Activity refers to any booking undertaken by a student group or unit in the two designated Branion Plaza bookable spaces.

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3.  Scope

This policy applies to the booking of Branion Plaza on the University of Guelph campus by student groups or units in the spaces outlined in Appendix 1. External parties are not permitted to book Branion Plaza unless holding conferences on campus or special permission has been granted.

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4.  Policy

The booking and use of Branion Plaza shall be in accordance with applicable legislation, municipal bylaws and university policies and procedures.
 Branion Plaza space booking must be approved in advance to ensure:

  1. The general safety and wellbeing of the university community;
  2. That university activities are not interrupted;
  3. The protection of property and equipment;
  4. That appropriate consultation occurs between decision-making bodies as required; and
  5. There are no scheduling conflicts.

The following general conditions are related to the booking and use of Branion Plaza:

  1. The purpose of the booking should be related to the mandate, purpose or constitution of the student group or unit.
  2. If the purpose of the booking is related to fundraising the organizers will ensure:
  1. The purpose of the fundraising is clearly stated on all signage and related materials on the day of the booking;
  2. The organizers and any individuals affiliated with the fundraising effort will remain on the grass and not wander beyond the designated space they have been assigned to solicit funds from people passing by;
  3. The organizers and any individuals affiliated with the fundraising effort will not approach people in an aggressive manner; and
  4. The organizers will ensure that funds collected are deposited in clearly marked containers and not in pockets, purses or personal belongings.
  1. Each year Branion Plaza will not be available for booking on certain dates due to university-sanctioned events, during exam periods or convocation.
  2. Typically, each individual student group or unit may book Branion Plaza no greater than two times each semester.
  3. All food served must be prepared and delivered by Hospitality Services, unless approved through the University’s official Sales and Solicitations request form. For further details refer to the Sales and Solicitation Policy.
  4. Signage, advertising or promotional materials related to the Branion Plaza booking shall be in accordance with applicable university policies including but not limited to:
  1. On Campus Advertising Promotion, Sales and Solicitations
  2. Policy on Non-Academic Misconduct
  3. Student Organization Policy
  4. Human Rights Policy
  5. Student Risk Management Policies and Procedures
  6. Alcoholic Beverages Policy
  1. If a Sales and Solicitations form is required, the organizers must have a copy of the approved Sales and Solicitations Request Form on site for the duration of their Branion Plaza booking as evidence of approval of their request.
  2. At the conclusion of the event or activity, organizers must ensure the Branion Plaza space is free and clear of garbage, recyclables, material and equipment.
  3. Normally, amplification will not be permitted unless central to the stated purpose of the event or activity (e.g. the reading of the names during Holocaust Awareness Week; the playing of “The Last Post” on Remembrance Day).
  4. Usage of Branion Plaza that contravenes this or the policies listed under “f” will result in the booking being terminated immediately.
  5. The organizers are responsible for arranging all additional university services (e.g. procurement of tables and chairs) for the Branion Plaza booking, and payment of any applicable fees.
  6. Only furniture designated for outdoor use by the University may be used during Branion Plaza bookings.
  7. Commercial vendors or materials advertising commercial services or businesses are not permitted unless authorized through the Sales and Solicitation process.
  8. The organizer will identify a primary contact for the booking and provide complete contact information to ensure that the individual can be reached if necessary. It is preferred that the primary contact be present at the event throughout the duration of the booking.

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5.  Submission, Evaluation and Approval of Branion Plaza Booking Requests

Branion Plaza is booked in person at Conference Services (room 432, University Centre) or by sending an email to in keeping with the following guidelines:

  1. Typically, bookings will be accepted up to ten (10) working days prior to a proposed event. Bookings with less than ten (10) working days advance notice will be accepted to the fullest extent possible but at the discretion of Conference Services.
  2. Conference Services will consult other university offices prior to approving a booking request for an individual event or activity if the nature of the booking:
  1. Requires a risk assessment;
  2. Requires the attendance of Campus Community Police;
  3. Requires additional university resources; or
  4. Substantially impacts the operations of another university unit, facility or space.
  1. Depending upon the nature of the booking and any risks or safety concerns involved the University may apply additional conditions or restrictions outside of those set in this policy (i.e. ensuring that skilled workers such as an Audio-Visual Technician or Electrician are involved) or deny the booking request.
  2. Branion Plaza bookings may be declined, cancelled or modified due to factors that include the following:
  1. Associated activities:
  • Are not in accordance with legislation, municipal bylaws, or the University’s policies, mission, vision, values and guidelines (i.e. Student Rights and Responsibilities; Human Rights Policy; Sales and Solicitations);
  • Present a likelihood of danger to people, property, space or university equipment;
  • May be disruptive or involve excess noise;
  • Are not suited to the requested space; or
  • Not all information was provided at the time of booking.
  1. The organizer:
  • Has misrepresented their intentions for the use of the space;
  • Intends to provide a service or sell goods without approval or qualification;
  • Does not comply with any additional conditions or restrictions set out by the University.
  1. In the case of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances (e.g. the space must be repaired, construction is occurring in the vicinity, university closure, weather alert).
  1. Organizers who have received approval to use a designated Branion Plaza space are permitted to use only that space for the purposes stated when booking on the assigned date(s) and times only.
  2. Branion Plaza space may only be used by the organizer approved to use the space and cannot be transferred to another group without advanced written approval from Conference Services.
  3. Organizers who violate this or other policies may be subject to loss of booking privileges or other sanctions as set out in applicable university policies.

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6.  Appeals

In the event that a Branion Plaza booking request is denied, cancelled or modified and the Organizer is not satisfied with the explanations provided, the Organizer may issue an appeal in writing within five (5) business days to the Associate Vice-President (Student Affairs).

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Appendix 1: Branion Plaza Space Reservations Map

Map of Branion Plaza and Space available to Reserve

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Approving Authority: Conference Services Policy
Effective: May 2014
Revised: February 2014
Editorial Changes: N/A
Next Review: May 2015