Office of Student Life

Student Activities

COVID-19 Information

Below is general information and frequently asked questions for our student organization community related to operations in 2020-2021. This content will continue to be updated as new information is available. Please refer to the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website for additional details.

Please contact csls@osu.edu with any additional questions or for more detailed information. Our staff is available to consult with your student organization about specific questions and needs.

The following information was last updated September 14, 2021.

Can my student org hold in-person gatherings and events?

From an email update to student organizations on May 7, 2021, student organizations may hold in-person events with more than 10 people in accordance with all federal, state, local, university and venue guidance. This applies on-campus and off-campus, indoors and outdoors.

The number of in-person attendees will be determined by the capacity of the venue. As of June 2, on-campus venues may operate at full capacity. Check with venue staff for the most updated information about specific venue and room capacities.

For on-campus events, your event planner will work with you to confirm risk mitigation plans including securing necessary approval from the Events Review Committee. Advisor approval is no longer required for on-campus events.

All in-person activities should continue to follow all health and safety guidelines for mask wearing, physical distancing and hand hygiene. As of August 2, masks are required for all individuals in on-campus indoor spaces. Mask wearing for all individuals is encouraged in off-campus indoor spaces as well as for outdoor spaces with large crowds.

As of September 10, Columbus is under an executive order requiring all individuals to wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Additional details are available online. This means you must wear masks indoors for events on- and off-campus.

Visit the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes events webpage for additional details about group size/capacity limits, eating/dining, contact tracing and other essential event elements.

Can we have food at our meetings and programs?

Yes, food may be served at student organization meetings and programs with the following considerations:

  • Food may be served individually packaged, buffet, or family style (for example, pizza). For buffet or family style, we encourage you to have the people serving wearing masks and gloves. We encourage you to have hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations available. We encourage you to regularly sanitize shared surfaces.
  • Work with your event planner to follow any catering guidelines for that specific venue. For example, University Catering is the exclusive caterer for the Ohio Union, but there is no preferred caterer for the Hale Center or outdoor spaces.
  • Food may not be served in classroom buildings. This is not a COVID-related restriction, but rather due to the need to keep those spaces clean for use by academic classes.
  • When not actively eating or drinking, attendees must wear masks indoors.

Is meeting, programming and tabling space available on campus?

Requests are now being accepted for on-campus space for autumn semester. Information about requesting space in Student Life facilities, including a link to the space request tool, can be found at ohiounion.osu.edu/meetings_events/space_requests/

Student organizations must have a signed Space Use Agreement on-file in order to use the online Space Request Tool. The president, treasurer and advisor must review and sign the document via DocuSign. With questions or for assistance, please contact ohiounionevents@osu.edu or 614-292-5200.

All in-person activities - whether in a meeting room or at a reserved tabling space - must follow the health and safety guidelines outlined. Please consult with your venue's event planner for specific guidance on your plans.

How can we hold in-person events with vaccinated and unvaccinated attendees?

In accordance with public health guidance, as of August 2 masking is required for all individuals in on-campus indoor spaces and for non-vaccinated individuals in outdoor spaces. Student organizations should not ask meeting and event attendees to disclose their vaccination status as a condition of membership or attendance. Instead, using the honor system, remind attendees about masking requirements and affirm that anyone may choose to wear a mask for their own personal comfort.

Student organization leaders are encouraged to consider different strategies at meetings and events to accommodate broad access, varying levels of comfort, and varying vaccination statuses. For example, offering hybrid meeting options, allowing for physical distancing at events, affirming that masks are welcome in any space and required in on-campus indoor spaces.

This can be a sensitive topic. Student organization leaders are encouraged to consult with their advisor and/or the student organization team for assistance.

What resources are available to hold virtual meetings and programs?

Student organizations may use university resources - CarmenZoom and Microsoft Teams - or may choose to use non-university resources to hold virtual meetings and programs. 

Check out the Student Org Essentials recorded workshops for additional guidance on virtual operations and meetings including socially distant service, meaningful virtual meetings and virtual member recruitment.

Review Security Considerations for Virtual Activities for additional resources to prevent and address disruptions or "zoombombing" in virtual activities.

Do student orgs have to provide live-captioning for virtual events?

Accessibility, including live-captioning, should be a key consideration for all virtual events. Review the Student Org Caption Guidelines for full details. Student organizations do not need to provide live-captioning and may use automated captioning, as long as communication standards are met.

If an attendee requests an accommodation, student organizations may work directly with the ADA Coordinator's Office (ada-osu@osu.edu) to make those arrangements. The staff will help organize and fund those services.

How can we distribute materials to our members or program participants?

Distribution of materials, or tabling, may happen on campus only in reserved spaces. Tabling may not take place in non-reservable spaces like open lounges, dining seating areas or library study spaces.

It is recommended to provide hand sanitizer when distributing materials or arrange for contactless pick-up/ delivery.

Can we purchase PPE as give-aways?

Student organizations are able to purchase PPE items from university approved vendors. They must follow university branding and purchasing guidelines and seek art approval from University Marketing and Trademark and Licensing. If a group is specifically interested in purchasing masks, the two approved vendors are The Flag Lady (300 minimum, 2 color logo) and Mask Essential (100 minimum, 2 color logo). Organizations are welcome to work with Student Life Marketing to help design and procure the items. 

What resources are available for student org leaders who are feeling stressed?

It is normal for student organization leaders to be feeling higher levels of stress right now. Here are some resources that are available immediately and by appointment:

How do we manage gatherings with strenuous exercise?

According to the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes webpage on Recreation, there is an exception for mask wearing when engaging in strenuous exercise. In these cases, continue to practice physical distancing and hand hygiene, limiting in-person events and gatherings to 10 or fewer. Participants should also have their masks available to wear after the strenuous exercise is finished.

How will annual registration work?

The requirements and timeline for annual student organization registration - for renewing and for brand new organizations - will be the same as in past years. Visit the Registration webpage for full details.

Registration extensions will expire in autumn 2021. If your student organization needs additional registration support as you resume operations and programming, please contact csls@osu.edu to discuss options.

In March 2021, the Council on Student Affairs approved a temporary suspension of membership size through spring semseter 2022. In recognition of the difficulties with membership recruitment and retention due to the pandemic, student organizations eligible to achieve or maintain Active-Established status will be required to have a minimum of 5 members, instead of 15. Contact csls@osu.edu with questions or for additional information about this.

Can we apply for Operating and Programming Funds?

Yes, all student organizations can apply for Operating and Programming Funds on the regular application deadlines. Visit the Funding webpage for full details. You may apply with any status, but only Active organizations will receive funding.

Programming Funds can be used to support in-person, hybrid, and virtual programs.

Additional guidance is available for virtual and in-person programs. Please refer to the Student Org Guidance document for additional considerations.

Can we still use the Resource Room?

Yes, the Resource Room is open for service. Visit the Resource Room webpage for the current hours of operation and available services.

Beginning in autumn 2021, shared items like games, popcorn machines, and snocone machines will be available to check-out.

Can we travel for a conference or competition?

As of July 1, 2021 the university will allow travel in line with updated health and safety requirements as well as a continued focus on fiscal responsibility. When using university funds for travel (e.g., CSA operating funds, sponsorship from a university department), student organizations must follow all university guidelines for travel related to health and safety. This includes following CDC guidelines for mask wearing and physical distancing, avoiding travel to destinations experiencing a surge in cases, and overall carefully considering the need for travel as opposed to virtual participation options. Additional details are available on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website at safeandhealthy.osu.edu/travel.

For travel activities not using university funds, we recommend student organizations still follow university guidelines for travel related to health and safety. Student organizations should consult with their organization advisor and/or student org team staff at csls@osu.edu with questions or for guidance related to travel. Given the variability in the types of student organization travel – location, duration and purpose of trip – we are happy to consult with you on plans for your specific activity.

Sororities and fraternities affiliated with one of the four governing councils (IFC, MCGC, MPHC or PHA) and sport clubs have additional requirements and processes related to travel. Please contact your SFL staff liaison or sfl@osu.edu, or contact Rec Sports staff at sportclubstaff@osu.edu for additional guidance.

What are the potential consequences if we don't follow university guidance for safety protocols?

Health orders, directives and advisories apply to all student organization activities and gatherings, whether on- or off-campus. Failure to abide by those directives, orders and advisories can - just like failing to follow all applicable local, state and federal laws - subject students and student organizations to disciplinary action under the Code of Student Conduct.

Although each situation is approached on a case-by-case basis, possible consequences could include the loss of access to university resources (e.g., funding, Resource Room line-of-credit, discounted space reservations) or loss of Active status. Individual student consequences could include suspension.