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June 16, 2020: Large Events + Functions

Message from ESU Fall Planning Group

June 16, 2020

Dear Hornet Nation,

As you are aware from previous communication and our two virtual Town Halls, we have a number of topics to consider when planning a return to campus for the fall 2020 semester. One such is how to handle the traditional large events that are planned throughout the academic year on our campus — both by organization on campus and those in the larger Emporia community.

A subgroup that included representatives of the Memorial Union, which houses the majority of ESU event space, plus Center for Student Involvement, Music, Communication and Theatre, Athletics, Academics, Admissions + Student Recruitment, created guidelines that will inform decisions moving forward. These guidelines take into consideration new maximum capacities for venues that allow us to practice social distancing.

The full guidelines are online. These are the highlights:

  1. Conference + Scheduling in the Memorial Union continues to be the first stop for all campus event planning, and staff will assist organizers to set participant limits and associated procedures related to their events.
  2. To the extent possible, priority will be given to university-related programming and event requests, particularly the needs of Admissions and new student recruitment. We will be unable to grant all requests.
  3. All fall 2020 events will be smaller in scope than previously planned.
  4. ESU planning staff will develop a “Best Practices” event-planning resource for the campus community. Staff will help organizers consider alternative methods to deliver events, including virtual space and will connect organizers with those on campus who can help with that planning.

After much discussion, the Events subgroup decided that Homecoming 2020, traditionally the single biggest event in the fall semester, should not be moved. Rather, the group is asking the Homecoming Committee to consider alternate plans that will still capture the spirit of Homecoming while recognizing the unique challenges brought on by social distancing, wearing face masks and following current health guidelines.

When we began to make campus changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Memorial Union staff contacted event organizers to cancel their plans. Now, staff will connect with organizers who already have fall events on the calendar to discuss their options.

Anyone needing to plan events in campus venues, should reach out to Conference + Scheduling via email at

Athletics Venues: On a related note, Welch Stadium and the Emporia State Athletics Weight Room are open for a select group of student-athletes who returned to campus on Monday. All ESU Athletic facilities currently remain closed to both the general public and the campus community to meet COVID-19 health guidelines.

We appreciate the hard work of the Events subgroup and believe their guidance moving forward will help Emporia State maintain much of the atmosphere of the traditional on-campus student experience.


ESU Fall Planning Group