Conference Operations and Events Services
If you're wondering what's happening on campus, the Calendar is the best place to look. The Grinnell College Calendar catalogues all campus events, as submitted by event coordinators. An up-to-the-minute guide, the Calendar displays all current, future, and past Grinnell College events. The Calendar is built from space reservations, based on the information provided at the time of reservation. Everybody who's anybody is on the Calendar! If your event is more complicated than a simple meeting request, there are other things to consider as you plan. These include funding your event, signing a contract with Student Affairs (if needed), publicity, selling tickets, arranging security, and more. Need advice? Read more about planning a major campus event below.
In order to use a space on campus, you must submit a reservation request. This policy applies to all public and private activities. Conference Operations and Events staff will notify you to confirm space availability, and will add your event to the Calendar. Scheduling is regulated to prevent activities from competing with one another. The best method for submitting a reservation request is through the online request form.
- Event Reservation Request -- Log in to this system to submit your event to Conference Operations.
All activities must be scheduled on the College Calendar before they can be finalized and publicized. Upon request, scheduled events will not display on the Calendar. If you have questions, complications, or an urgent request, you may contact Conference Operations and Events. For more information on the College's event-scheduling policies, please read the calendar guide.
Reserving space is only the first step! Remember to follow up with Conference Operations about AV needs, layout and equipment requests, cancellations and changes.
Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Should you need accommodation to attend an event on campus, please contact the sponsoring department, following the guidelines to make a request.
Many historic buildings at Grinnell College have special entrances for wheelchair accessibility. Please check this campus accessibility map to determine accessibility of the building you may be visiting.
How to request a needed accommodation
Accommodations are available for persons with disabilities as guests of the College. If you need an accommodation to attend an event that is open to the public, contact either the department sponsoring the event or the Office of Safety and Security (641-269-4600), and they will assist you with the accommodation that you need.
Examples of requests include:
- location of the accessible entrance
- wheelchair seating availability
- closer parking for mobility limitations
- Listen Technology hearing boosters
- sign language interpreters - This service needs at least two weeks lead time.
- real-time captioning - This service needs at least one week lead time.
- text in alternative format
For many of these accommodations, the College is utilizing the services of outside contractors and therefore requests must be submitted at least 5 business days prior to the event. Please submit any requests as soon as possible to ensure that they can be carried out as needed. If the request is not submitted in enough time to fulfill the request, you will be notified that the accommodation cannot be made.
Event Planner's Accessibility Checklist
Accommodations are available for persons with disabilities who are guests of the College and/or at events that are open to the public.
If a guest needs an accommodation to attend an event, they will contact the department sponsoring the event and the sponsoring department is responsible to help them arrange the accommodation that is needed. The Accessibility Committee is available for consultations with departments. Call Conference Operations for more information.
When hosting a College event, workshop, public presentation or departmental meeting that is open to the public and a participant or employee is requesting accommodations:
Grinnell College provides equal opportunities and reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities to enable full participation in and enjoyment of the available benefits, services, programs and activities. The Accessibility Committee will assist departments in providing accommodations for program participants. As a department, to ensure equal participation for individuals with disabilities please complete the following steps:
Registration materials and program announcements, which include bulletins, flyers, brochures, letters, public service announcements, or other materials used to inform the public of the event or program must include the appropriate accessibility statement(s): If you need a special accommodation to fully participate in this program/event, please contact (sponsoring department name and phone number). Please allow sufficient time to arrange the accommodation.
In addition, you may choose to pro-actively announce certain accommodations that are available before inviting people to make their request, for example, "There will be real-time captioning for the hearing impaired at the presentation. If you need any other kind of accommodation ..."
Designate a contact person within your department to answer questions or accept accommodation requests for your event. Place that contact number on all materials concerning your event.
When you receive a request for an accommodation please consult the list below for assistance in fulfilling that accommodation. Examples of typical kinds of requests are: location of handicapped parking places or closer parking for mobility limitations, location of the accessible entrance, wheelchair seating availability, sign language interpreters, real-time captioning, or text in alternative format. For many of these accommodations, requests must be submitted at least 5 business days prior to the event so please be thoughtful of this both when asking for an accommodation but also when working with the person making the request. If the request is not submitted in enough time to provide the accommodation, you must let the requestor know that the College is unable to guarantee that the accommodation can be made.
- Location of the accessible entrance -
- Wheelchair seating availability
- Call Conference Operations and Events for locations in each space, 641-269-3235.
- Wheelchairs - The College does not own any wheelchairs.
- Wheelchairs can be borrowed free of charge (if available) from the Light Center at the Grinnell Regional Medical Center - 236-2385.
- Iowa Home Health Care - 211 West St, 236-0202
- Wheelchairs can also be rented from Hammer Medical in Newton (they deliver and pick-up) - 641-792-9339
- Closer parking for mobility limitations
- Listen Technology Hearing Devices
- available in the Joe Rosenfield Center, Room 101; Herrick Chapel; Fieldhouse; and Darby Gymnasium by request
- Contact Conference Operations and Events, 641-269-3235, to set this up. Need at least 3 days set-up time to prepare equipment.
- Sign language interpreters
- Contact Deaf Services Unlimited, 515-243-4455.
- Need at least 2 weeks lead time to set this up.
- There is a cost for this service.
- Contact Conference Operations and Events to set up stand for interpreter.
- Real-time captioning
- Contact Conference Operations and Events at 641-269-3235 for information.
- Need at least one week to set this up.
- There is a cost for this service.
- Contact Conference Operations and Events to set up equipment for captioner.
- Text in alternative format
- Large print programs, etc - can be arranged through Communications, 641-269-3400. Need at least two weeks to set this up.
- Service dogs are allowed at all campus events and locations.
- Golf Carts
- The College rents Golf Carts for special occasions from Wade's Golf & Mow in Williamsburg.
- Each Department is responsible for rental fee of golf carts.
- Contact information for Wade's Golf & Mow is: 319-330-3731.
- Golf Carts should be delivered to security and left in the security parking area over night. Please alert security if you are renting golf carts.
- Please request gasoline carts, not electric, as we have no location to store or charge electric carts.
- Dining or Catering Assistance
- Contact Dining Services in advance of the event for accommodations required due to allergies.
Grinnell House offers room accommodations primarily to guests of the campus community visiting on College business. The House is also available for guests of the campus community when available. All guests are required to have campus sponsorship or affiliation. Grinnell House is for short-term housing and is not available for extended stay by guests or visiting faculty or staff. Generally guest stays do not exceed 4 days. Grinnell House is also used for dining and informal meetings and may be scheduled for these events by calling Conference Operations and Events at 641-269-3235.
Grinnell House History
Grinnell House was opened in 1917 as the home of President and Mrs. John H. T. Main, and served as home to each president of Grinnell College until 1961. Designed by William H. Brainerd, Class of 1883, this structure is considered to be almost a pure example of the Georgian style. It is elegantly appointed in every room, and provides many forms of college hospitality. Distinguished guests who have stayed in the house include Presidents Harry S Truman and Dwight Eisenhower (when their terms in office were completed), other political leaders and high officials of the United States and many other countries, poets, artists, novelists, scientists, Nobelists in many fields, and many others. It has been refurbished several times since becoming the College's guest house in 1961, always with great care taken to preserve the original architectural features of both the interior and exterior.
Room Reservation Procedures
In most cases, rooms are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. All reservations must be made in advance. Specific dates of occupancy are required at the time of the reservation. You will be asked to provide the name of the guest, dates of arrival and departure, approximate time of arrival. College sponsored guests will also need the name of the campus sponsor, and a college budget number for billing purposes. The fee for rooms billed to the College is $60 per night. Other guests will be charged $70 per room per night, plus applicable taxes. The number of guests per room will not exceed intended occupancy. A major credit card is required in advance to reserve and guarantee payment for rooms. Call the Office of Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 to reserve guest rooms. Guests may check in after 3 p.m. Check-out time is noon. Requests for cancellation of stay with no charge incurred must be received by the Office of Conference Operations no later than 3 p.m. the day prior to the reservation in question.
Services and Policies
Grinnell House is closed for the following college holiday periods:
- Labor Day Weekend (Fri-Mon)
- Thanksgiving Weekend (Wed-Sun)
- Christmas/New Year's (last Fri of Final Exams-first Mon after New Year's Day)
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Weekend (Fri-Mon)
- Memorial Day Weekend (Fri-Mon)
- July 4 (plus adjacent weekend, if applicable)
The guest house is also closed for a week in mid-July for yearly maintenance. Periodically, all guest accommodations in Grinnell House are held for major campus events, such as Trustees' meetings, Development and Alumni Relations events, and Commencement Weekend. During these events, guests should be housed in area (off-campus) lodgings. Guests will be placed in rooms upon the discretion of the Guest Housing staff. To prevent damage, furniture in Grinnell House should be moved only by staff members.
Thank you for reserving a room at Grinnell House, a Grinnell College guest house. We look forward to welcoming you/your guests to Grinnell. Provided is detailed information about Grinnell House, its policies and procedures. Please read it carefully for details.
If you should need to cancel your reservation, please call 641-269-3235 by 3 p.m. Central Time the day prior to your scheduled check-in. Cancellations with less than 24-hours notice will incur a charge of one-night's stay.
Check-in and Check-out
Check-in time is 3 p.m. or later. If your arrival is planned before this time, you may leave your bags at the house and return to check into your room after 3 p.m. (There is a coat area designed for this purpose on the first floor, across the hall from the restroom.) Once you arrive at the house, please use the call box located in the arbor to the right of the sidewalk leading to the front door to call Campus Security 641-269-4600) to gain entry. Once inside, you will receive keys and a key card for the remainder of your stay. Check-out time is noon. If you wish to depart later in the day, you are welcome to place your luggage in the coat area on the first floor. Before leaving the house, please deposit your keys in the key box located in the front entry.
During the school year, a house attendant is on duty Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon until 10:30 p.m. During these times, the attendant is located in the first floor office, at the northeast corner of the house.
Continental breakfast is provided for all house guests and served in the Grinnell House dining room or in the sun porch. A menu of coffee, hot tea, juice, cereal, fruit, and pastries is available from 7:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. Continental breakfast is not provided during academic breaks.
Guest House Computer/Network Connections
Internet access is available at Grinnell House. A computer with a wired connection is located in the first floor library for your convenience. If you wish to use a wireless connection with a personal laptop, please contact your sponsoring office at the College to receive a guest username and password. Guests who are not sponsored by the College may email Conference Operations and Events or call 641-269-3235.
Smoking and Pet Policies
Grinnell House is a non-smoking facility in compliance with the Iowa Smokefree Air Act. Pets are not allowed in Grinnell House. Service animals are welcome.
Guests will be responsible for all damages and losses due to the negligence of the guest or a guest's visitor(s) beyond normal wear or soiling of College property. The assessment of the cost of repairs, cleaning, or replacement for any such damage or loss shall be determined by the College. Guests will be billed accordingly.
Campus Map and Information
Directions to Grinnell House
Address to the house is 1011 Park Street.
From Interstate 80 take exit 182 and proceed North on Hwy 146. At 5th Avenue (there will be a stop light) turn right (east) and proceed three blocks to Park Street. Grinnell House is on the corner of Park Street and 5th Avenue. Parking is available on Park Street and behind the house in the College parking area (no permit is necessary). Please do not park overnight on 5th Avenue as you will receive a ticket.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email Conference Operations and Events or call 641-269-3235.
Due to its historical heritage, Grinnell House is not fully accessible. Grinnell College does not recommend staying overnight at Grinnell House for persons in wheelchairs or who have trouble navigating stairs. Grinnell House is accessed via several stairs, and all guest rooms are located on the second and third floors. There is a small person-lift available to the second floor, but the third floor is accessed only by stairs. For guests attending an event on the first floor of the house, there is a ramp at the rear of the house. Please inform your host that you will need access by this entrance.
Late Arrivals and Check-Out
During the school year, a staff member is on duty at Grinnell House until 10:30 p.m. to accommodate arriving guests. Occasionally guests arrive late into the evening. In this case, the guest or driver may call the Security Office at 641-269-4600 from the call box located outside the Grinnell House front door. An officer will be dispatched to let the guest into the house where the key, room assignment, and check-in information will be waiting. Check-in time is 3 p.m. Check-out is 12:00 noon.
About the Campus Memo
The Campus Memo is an electronic newsletter of Grinnell College. The Memo is designed to keep faculty, staff, and students abreast of campus activities and notices during the academic year. It is sent via email weekly and updated each weekday in anticipation of upcoming events. Two types of information comprise the Memo:
- Event Entries correspond with information provided to the College Calendar. Memo listings often provide more details and context than the same event, as listed on the Calendar. Events must be on the Calendar to show chronologically in the Memo.
- Notices are items of interest to the community, such as employment opportunities, accomplishments, deadlines, and campus resources. Events must be listed in the College Calendar and entered as Event Entries. Please do not submit Events as Announcements.
Deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on Thursday. For more information about submitting to the memo, fill out the Memo Submission Form.
Getting the Campus Memo
The campus memo is distributed via email to all faculty, staff, and students mid-day on Tuesdays.
Reserve a Space
The first step in scheduling a college-sponsored event at Grinnell is reserving the space on campus. Availability of space is an important-and often overlooked-aspect of your event. If you don't have space reserved, you risk having to cancel your event. This includes group meetings, info sessions, study breaks and more. No event is too small!
Planning a Major Campus Event
Grinnell College can be a fascinating, dynamic, and diverse place -- if you help make it one. Every speaker, writer, and performer you bring to campus; every meal, concert, and workshop; every club, discussion, and demonstration makes Grinnell the vibrant community it is. This campus thrives on intellectual, social, and cultural stimulation.
This basic guide will help you coordinate a large-scale campus event through Conference Operations and Events. We work closely with Facilities Management, building coordinators, the Audio-Visual Center, Dining Services, and Campus Security to communicate event information so event planners have fewer contacts to make.
If you have questions at any time, contact Conference Operations and Events staff.
Event Planning Tools
Got a big event in the works? Equip yourself with the best tools and information available. The information at the top of this page walks you step-by-step through the planning process. It includes a basic timeline for tasks and helpful fill-in-the-blank worksheets.
Maybe you aren't quite ready for that level of detail, but just need to know how to get started. The next section, "Planning an Event: The Big Three," is for you.
Planning an Event: The Big Three
1. Book space
- No space, no event. Reserving your event space is the first, and most important, step in planning your event. Not only does it physically secure you a space, but making the reservation guarantees you a schedule spot on the College Calendar.
- Schedule early, schedule often. We welcome you to make a reservation, even if it is somewhat tentative. As long as your event is scheduled, you can update your event details as often as you need to. Reserving your space early-as soon as you begin your planning-will increase your chances of securing your first-choice venue.
- No speaker, no problem. Do not be afraid to book a space, even if you haven't asked your speaker or performer to appear yet. There is no harm in cancelling a reservation if the guest can't make it. If your guest confirms two weeks before the event, and then you start planning, you will be disappointed to find out that your options have narrowed considerably.
2. Know your budget
- Plan expenses. Be certain you know all of the expenses involved with bringing a big event to campus. Think not only about fees, but also travel, lodging, meals, special rental equipment, and more.
- Use campus resources. There are many groups on campus that are excited about funding great events. Many groups have discretionary funds allotted for this purpose, and will be happy to co-sponsor an event.
- Help! While Conference Operations & Events itself cannot fund your project, we are here to help point you in the right direction.
3. Sign contract
- Get it in writing. Once your speaker or performer has agreed to appear at Grinnell College, he or she must provide a contract that spells out the contractual conditions and obligations on both sides. Speaker or performance fees, facilities, required equipment, and the exact schedule will be confirmed in this contract. Use this as a guide when working on your budget and space requirements!
- Students, don't go it alone! Students should never sign contracts, but should work with a Student Affairs representative. (See page 126 in the Student Handbook.) This provision is for the protection of the student. If you sign a contract without a Student Affairs representative, you may be held personally accountable for any breach of contract or other problems that may arise. This representative will help you make sure the contract is carried out and will explain any additional steps you may need to take.
- A Note for Faculty: If a student group approaches you with a contract, it is okay to review it with them. However, please send students to Student Affairs for signatures and final execution of the contract.
Other Things to Consider
Now that the event is booked, funded, and contracted, you will want to consider a plethora of other important factors. Will you need any specific audio-visual equipment? Will you distribute tickets to your event? Are you serving food? The event planning tools can help you plan the details. If you have questions, Conference Operations and Events will direct you to the appropriate College personnel as needed.
Information for Off-Campus Event Planners
Thank you for considering Grinnell College as a venue for your event. Grinnell is home to uniquely-designed facilities, and offers a wide variety of services for conferences and camps, as well as meetings and presentations.
Grinnell is committed to providing first-rate facilities and services for students since we are first and foremost an academic institution. While we are pleased to offer others the same quality of facilities and services we offer our students, not all spaces and services are available during the academic year. Please contact Conference Operations and Events for availability.
Planning a Conference, Camp, or Meeting
Here are the basic steps in planning a one-day or multi-day event at Grinnell College. As always, we encourage you to contact Conference Operations and Events during any and all stages of organizing your event.
- Send your tentative schedule. When you have a general idea of when you would like your event to take place and an idea of the scope, communicate with our office. We will assist you by listing space availability and possible schedule blocks for your event.
- Decide on a space. What types of spaces do you need for your event? Once you detail your spatial requirements, Conference Operations and Events staff will suggest the best spaces to suit your needs. An example schedule is especially helpful to us. Grinnell College has a wide range of playing fields, conference rooms, concert spaces, theatres, and banquet halls. Be sure to view the list of venues below for ideas.
- Describe your needs. Time and place are vital to your planning -- but also consider:
What will your event participants eat? Grinnell College Dining and Catering Services provides all food for on-campus events. There is much variation in menu and presentation. You can opt to use our campus dining hall, snacks/meals from Dining Services, or more formal Catering Services.
- A.V. needs
Grinnell College boasts a top-of-the-line Audio-Visual Center, equipped with the latest gear. Contact our office to ensure we have the equipment you need. If we don't have a particular item, we may be able to rent it for you.
Dormitories on campus are available for event participants. There are over 300 beds in clean, air-conditioned facilities with ID card-secured doors. Additional rooms are available in non-air conditioned spaces. A campus guest house and limited suite-style housing may be perfect for your special guests.
If you have special requests, such as tents or dance floors, Conference Operations is happy to work with our vendors so you don't have to. Just let us know!
- Tour the space. The best way to be confident that you will have the event you envision is to tour the space with a Conference Operations representative. If the space you originally pictured is not perfect, we can show you several other options.
- Get a proposal. Once we know which spaces you prefer for which pieces of your event, we'll submit a proposal to you with a cost estimate. When spaces are finalized, you will receive a contract from the College.
Planning a Wedding
You've got a reason to celebrate, and now you need a special place in which to do so. Grinnell College has several spaces for you to consider for your wedding or reception. From traditional Herrick Chapel, to contemporary sites, to outdoor ceremonies, we've got it all! Schedule a tour of campus to determine which space is perfect for you.
A Note on Dates
Due to Grinnell's nature as an academic institution, we are unable to host wedding receptions over 100 people during the academic year.
Contact Conference Operations and Events to determine availability.
To schedule Herrick Chapel for a wedding contact Conference Operations and Events at (641) 269-3178. Grinnell College does not schedule weddings during the last six weeks of each semester in order to allow for Music Department concert scheduling.
- Discuss your date. Contact Conference Operations and Events to determine which dates are available, and what options might be open to you.
- Schedule a tour. A tour is the best way to see what site suits your style.
- Contact Catering. If you are planning a reception or rehearsal dinner on campus, contact Grinnell College Catering at (641) 269-3665 to determine budget options. You must speak with Conference Operations before talking to Catering.
- Finalize your date and locations. Once you finalize your date and location of wedding and/or reception, Conference Operations will send you a proposal with estimates for space use and any rental equipment, and a contract for you to sign and return. You will receive a separate estimate from Catering after final meal selections have been determined.
- Sign and return your contract to Conference Operations. From here it's easy! We'll keep in touch to make sure we've got all the details covered.
Grinnell College offers a variety of venues for your events. Some of the most popular are:
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center
The Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, completed in 2006, houses our 700-person dining room, and state-of-the-art Marketplace servery with seven serving areas. During the summer, conferences over 50 people eat in the dining hall for regular meals unless otherwise arranged.
For conferences and meetings, the Rosenfield Center offers six classroom/meeting rooms with extensive audio-visual capabilities and three small seminar rooms.
The premiere event space, Rosenfield 101, is a lovely room filled with wood paneling, windows, and ambient lighting. The open layout allows for multiple uses, including lectures of up to 225 audience members, or banquet seating for 125. The sound system and audio-visual equipment is capable of hosting lectures, presentations or playing recorded music. Hearing boosters are available for the hearing impaired.
Other features of the building include The Spencer Grill, our campus restaurant; the Laurel Leaf Lounge, complete with comfy furniture and fireplace; and the game room.
During the school year, the Harris Center is alive with student activity, but during summer and academic breaks we are pleased to offer these unique spaces to our customers.
The Concert Hall features a recessed stage area and can accommodate up to 550 people using bleacher seating and chairs. Standing room capacity is 700. The flexible space is used quite frequently for wedding receptions up to 300 people, or table arrangements can vary to suit your convention or vendor fair.
A 400-seat cinema auditorium across the hall is a perfect space for large lectures or plenary sessions. Complete with the ability to show videos or PowerPoint presentations, the Cinema features a large projection screen and theatre-style seating.
A lounge area completes the spaces in the Harris Center and may be used to supplement other events in the building.
Bucksbaum Center for the Arts
For large and unique spaces, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts is the place to look. The building, designed by famed architect Cesar Pelli, features a 325-seat recital hall, 450-seat theatre, two black box theatres and four classrooms.
For dramatic workshops and performances, Roberts Theatre, Flanagan Theatre, and Wall Theatre Lab offer flexibility and the atmosphere for practicing and performing. Sebring-Lewis is a formal recital space designed for acoustic performance events. All large spaces in Bucksbaum require special arrangements for AV and speaker systems if desired for presentation purposes, however the classrooms are equipped with AV.
Bucksbaum also is home to the Faulconer Gallery, featuring fine art exhibits throughout the year. While the gallery is not available for rent, special arrangements may be made for tours, and we invite you to visit while you are on campus.
Cathedral ceilings, carved wood and rows of pew seating give Herrick Chapel an impressive aura. Herrick has been the location of numerous weddings, public speakers, and music performances throughout its over-100-year lifespan. With a capacity of 650 people, the chapel is one of our largest venues, and may be used for religious or non-religious activities. A sound system for lectures and recorded music has the ability to use hearing boosters for the hearing impaired. Audio-visual equipment requires special arrangements.
The Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center houses the 1,250-seat Darby Gymnasium; a 500-seat natatorium with a 50-meter pool and movable bulkheads; a six-lane, 200 meter fieldhouse with seating for 400; an 8,000 square foot fitness center; an auxiliary practice gymnasium; classroom and practice space; climbing and bouldering walls; racquetball courts; locker rooms; an equipment room; and a concession lounge with wireless internet access and seating area.
During summer, our dormitories are available for your conference or camp. Over 300 beds are available in our air-conditioned East Campus dormitories and select North Campus Dorms. An additional 800 beds are available in our traditional Oxford-style dormitories, featuring Gothic architecture. A limited number of apartment-style suites are available for families or other groups.
For guests in our dormitories, we provide a linen packet containing sheets, blanket, pillow, towel and wash cloth. Beds may be made before your arrival upon request.