Policies for trainee groups

Student organizations wishing to operate in the name of Stanford, use Stanford space or receive funds from the university, ASSU or from off-campus sources must be recognized by the university through Student Activities and Leadership, annually. All student groups must first be registered through the Office of Student Activities and Leadership (SAL) before working with external entities in Stanford’s interest.  These policies are in place to ensure Stanford’s nonprofit status as well as to protect the interests of our trainees.

1. Sponsorship and Fundraising Protocol

Individual trainees and trainee/student organizations are expected to follow certain guidelines where event/group sponsorship and fundraising are concerned. These policies effect nonprofit and corporate partners as well. Please review these policies if you are approached by trainees or if you have an idea for sponsoring or funding a group or event. BioSci Careers welcomes the opportunity to discuss these ideas with you as well: Stevie Eberle, seberle@stanford.edu

Sponsorship: Planning an event on campus can be an involved process. Please review these requirements and contact the Office of Special Events & Protocol with questions. Before confirming whether an event can be held on the University campus, it is important to appropriately identify a Stanford sponsor. Various tax-exempt, financial, insurance, liability, public safety, and other risk management issues for the University may need to be reviewed. Prior approval is required before any solicitation.

Definition of “Sponsor”

A University sponsor IS:

  • Stanford academic departments, schools and institutes
  • Administrative offices within and operating on behalf of the University
  • Registered and approved student groups within the University as approved by Student Activities & Leadership (SAL)
  • Non-academic departments recognized by the President’s Office, such as Athletics
  • The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU)


A University “sponsor” is NOT:

  • Any individual member of the Stanford faculty, staff or student body providing his/her name to a group simply so that they can plan an event using campus facilities
  • Any individual who does not currently work or attend Stanford
  • Any non-profit or corporate entity that is not affiliated with Stanford and does not otherwise have an approved University sponsor, must hold their event off campus



Fundraising: University policy governs all fundraising activities for cash, goods or services done by departments and student groups targeting off-campus entities including local businesses, corporations, foundations or individuals. Off-campus fundraising activities by any Stanford entity including student organizations are restricted and require prior university approval from the Office of Development, with preliminary approval from Student Activities and Leadership. The university has such policies in order to coordinate fundraising efforts and to ensure good stewardship. Prior approval is required before any solicitation.

Before seeking off-campus funding, you are expected to first exhaust on-campus sources. On-campus fundraising is easier, faster, and engages the university community. For those who also wish to fundraise off-campus, the following guidelines apply.

Crowd sourcing activities do not meet university policy and are not permitted.


2. Student Organization and Nonprofit/Corporate Interactions: Fronting Policy and Recruiting Policy

Fronting: Stanford student organizations, individuals or departments may not serve as “fronts” for off-campus organizations in order to gain use of meeting space or information tables that is for the primary use of the outside entity.  Instead, student organizations wishing to receive partial funding from an off-campus entity must apply for off-campus fundraising approval.


Recruiting: Student organizations can bring representatives from off-campus companies and non-profit organizations provided that the events are planned as educational activities and not recruiting sessions.  This distinction is important to protecting the University’s tax-exempt status.

Educational programs are those events directly planned by the student organization and designed for students to learn about a particular industry as opposed to a particular company or organization. Ideally, representatives are invited from two or more organizations.  The event title cannot include the organization name although the speakers and their affiliations can be promoted.  It is encouraged that student groups work in collaboration with BEAM/BioSci Careers given their expertise and resources.

Info Sessions:  Student organizations can partner or co-sponsor an organization’s “info session” provided that 1) the sessions are open to all students, 2) they are held in Tresidder Union, the LKSC (School of Medicine), the Faculty Club or off-campus only (important for tax purposes) and no student org or University endorsement is implied.  In these cases, the off-campus organization must pay the full cost of the event directly.

3. Use of the Stanford name and brand

Registered student organizations in good standing are permitted to use the Stanford name for activities that are related Stanford as long as this use is related to Stanford’s mission. Groups are not permitted to give outside entities the right to use the Stanford name. The name “Stanford” and symbols associated with Stanford University, including the University seal and the Block “S,” are trademarks protected by federal and state laws from unauthorized use.

General Use.  University recognized student organizations may use the Stanford name in association with their university-sanctioned activities.

Domain Names. No faculty, staff, alumnus, other volunteer or student may register a domain name that incorporates the word “Stanford” or “cardinal” except in accordance with the policies described above concerning use of the name and marks.

Stanford Mark or Logo on T-shirts or Similar Items. Items acquired by a student organization solely for internal University use generally do not require a license.  Groups producing merchandise for sale that incorporates Stanford’s name or marks must comply obtain prior licensing approval from the Office of Business Affairs.


Policies affecting employers

Nonprofit and corporate partners are expected to follow all university guidelines regarding outreach to, support of, and collaboration with individual trainees as well as student organizations. Please review these policies below when working with employers and other representatives from organizations.

BioSci Careers welcomes the opportunity to discuss these more in depth with you: Stevie Eberle, seberle@stanford.edu

1. Stanford Industry Interactions Policy

It is the policy of the Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital and Clinics and the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital that interactions with Industry should be conducted so as to avoid or minimize conflicts of interest. When conflicts of interest do arise they must be addressed appropriately, as described herein.


2. Commercial Activity with Student Organizations

Stanford’s resources support the university’s mission of creating, preserving and disseminating knowledge. The university’s assets must be used for these purposes, and not for the personal gain of individuals’ or outside parties’ that do not further Stanford’s academic objectives. The university receives frequent requests for access to its resources by outside entities, typically in exchange for some form of compensation to Stanford. Many of these, if granted, would constitute unrelated business activities. Therefore, permission to engage in unrelated business activities at Stanford may be granted only by the provost.


Process for Setting up a trainee group through Stanford Student Activities and Leadership

The Office of Stanford Student Activities and Leadership (SAL) has created guidelines for starting a new student organization. Information can be found on their website here: https://sal.stanford.edu/get-involved/start-new-student-organization