last revised January 25, 2024

Definition of Student Organization types

An interest group (formally known as independent organization) is defined as a group of six or more students currently enrolled in Emerson who wishes to pursue a common education, civic, social, cultural, or recreational interest and is currently not registered with Student Government and Student Engagement and Leadership.  

A registered student organization is defined as a group/organization that has met all requirements to be an approved organization with Emerson College. Registered organizations are directed and controlled by students whose programs and activities affect the educational process, promote cultural understanding, and student welfare, and/or contribute to the enrichment of the overall community at Emerson College. These organizations have privileges and resources available to them. 

A co-curricular organization is defined as an organization with close ties to the academic curriculum that gives students an opportunity to receive a non-tuition credit. Co-curricular also must receive approval from SEAL and SGA before obtaining any privileges and must re-register each semester to remain in compliance. 

An inactive organization is defined as an organization that failed to complete requirements of being a registered organization for more than consecutive two semesters. Organizations that failed completion for only one semester are eligible to re-registered the following semester. 

Interest Groups Policy

(formerly known as independent organization - updated Summer 2023)

In an effort to best support all student organizations at Emerson College, the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership has developed guidelines for potential student organizations who wish to obtain registered status. This will go into effect in Spring 2024 to allow current “independent” organizations to meet the qualifications of being an interest group. New Organization Application will be live in Spring of each academic year. If you wish to become an interest group, please fill out this form.  

Note: Organizations cannot duplicate the mission and/or objectives of another organization that already exists.

An interest group (formerly known as independent organization) is defined as a group of five or more students currently enrolled in Emerson who wishes to pursue a common education, civic, social, cultural, or recreational interest and is currently not registered with SGA/SEAL.  After two consecutive semesters (Fall/Spring), interest groups organizations can apply to be a registered organization.

Groups wishing not to become an interest group/registered organization will have no organizational privileges on Emerson College Campus.

If an organization fails to meet registered organization requirements, organizations status will change for the following semester. After two consecutive semesters of not meeting requirements organizations will become inactive and would need to go through the New Org Process again. 

Guidelines for Interest Groups

An interest group has the following privileges on the Emerson College campus:

  • Ability to recruit students to join their organization
  • Host on campus meetings and events
  • Ability to reserve rooms in 172 Tremont for meetings, events, and programs
  • Guidance from staff within Student Engagement and Leadership to become a registered organization
  • Ability to have a poster approved for posting within approved locations and in compliance with all posting policies
  • Access to a joint Emerging Organizations EmConnect Page to post news, meetings, and events

Interest groups are not permitted to do the following:

  • Use the Emerson College name, associated logo and branding marks in any form related to your organization (including emails, meetings, posters, events, social media, etc) unless approved by SEAL
  • Host off-campus events
  • Can not enter into any legally binding contract
  • Reserve spaces managed by Athletics, Office of the Arts, or Business Services
  • Host events with alcohol
  • Fundraise on campus for external organizations
  • Apply and receive funding from Student Government Association
  • Host their own EmConnect Page

Expectations of Interest groups to become a Registered Organization

  • Have at least three leadership members (president, vice president, and a treasurer or equivalent)
  • Recruit and consistently have more than 6 members in your organization
  • Host one event a semester
  • Have a Emerson staff/faculty advisor
  • Apply for New Organization Registration on EmConnect in the Spring
  • Abide by all Campus policies and procedures
  • Attend required workshops in the Spring semester

As Emerson College students, any activity or behavior that is in violation of the Code of Community Standards will be referred to the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct or the Office of Equal Opportunity. You may be held accountable as individuals and as an organization. If you are found in violation of the Code of Community Standards, sanctions may include loss of privileges listed above.

Any questions may be directed to Student Engagement and Leadership at seal [at] (seal[at]emerson[dot]edu).

New Organization Application will be live in Spring of each academic year. If you wish to become an interest group, please fill out this form. 

How to Become a Registered Organization

Interest groups cannot duplicate the mission and/or objectives of another organization that already exists. Once the qualifications below are met, you're eligible to apply for registration.

Interest groups must have the following to apply to become a registered organization:

  • Abiding by interest group policies and procedures (outlined above)
  • Being in existence for at least two semesters and is formally listed with SEAL
  • Documentation of at least two events and established organization meetings within the two semesters 
  • Organization must be in good disciplinary standing with Community Standards
  • Having an affiliated Faculty or Staff Emerson Advisor and agree to a signed advisor agreement
  • Have at least three leadership positions (president, vice president, and a Treasurer or equivalent roles)
  • Have at least 10 general body members
  • Have followed SGA/SEAL’s process to becoming a registered organization
    • Application will be live on EmConnect Spring 2024

Registered organizations have the following privileges (in additional to interest group privileges)

  • Use the Emerson College name, likeness, associated logo, and branding marks
  • Reserve, host, and publicize off-campus locations
  • Host performers, speakers, artist, films, and other guests 
  • Reserve spaces managed by Athletics, Office of the Arts, or Business/Campus Services
  • Facilitate a fundraiser 
  • Apply and receive funding from Student Government Association
  • Receive trip approval and use the Emerson College name while traveling with individual member(s) and/or other participant(s)
  • Manage an organization page on EmConnect 

Expectations of Registered Student Organization

  • Student organization leaders and members make decisions and act on behalf of their respective organizations
  • Abide all College and Student Organization Policies and Procedures
  • Update and abide by Organization Constitution and Bylaws 
  • Abide by Emerson College Community Standards
  • Have a Faculty or Staff advisor for the full academic year
  • Create inclusive practices (including but not limited to recruitment, leaderships, selection, marketing, retention, etc.)

Student Organization Elections

  • All organizations are required to hold elections based on their constitution
  • New leadership must be determined before the end of the Spring semester for the next academic year and transfer all documents and information to new leadership

Registered Organizations are required to:

  • Have at least three leadership members (president, vice president, and a treasurer or equivalent)
  • Have an Emerson affiliated faculty or staff advisor and communicate with advisor regularly 
  • Acknowledge the Compact Agreement and commit to implementing inclusive practices in organization
  • Must attend ALL required trainings
  • Hold elections for next academic year (transition all documents to new leadership board)
  • EmConnect Expectations
    • Submit a re-registration form every semester on EmConnect
    • Update roster of leadership board
    • Manage organization page to promote recruitment, meetings, and events
    • Have members join and communicate with them regularly
    • Submit event submissions for approval
    • Explore other organizations and departments pages and events
    • Manage all financials through EmConnect and follow SGA Financial Handbook

Failure to complete any of these requirements may result in losing organizational privileges.

Expectations of an Advisor

  • Be a Faculty or Staff member at Emerson College
  • Assist leaders/members with understanding their specific duties and responsibilities
  • Meet and communicate regularly with members of organizations
  • Serve as a resource for students (especially concerning College policies, regulations, and services)
  • Consult in event planning and events (including management of operating budget)

Please note: If an organization advisor steps down, organizations will have a 30 day grace period to find a new advisor once SEAL has been formally notified. Students must notify SEAL within 3 business days of an Advisor’s intent to end their responsibility as the organization's advisor.

Leadership/Member Removal

SEAL must ensure all students have the right and access to participate in educational activities across campus. As such, a student organization does not have the right to remove another student from participation in their club or organization without consultation with Student Engagement and Leadership, Community Standards, and/or Office of Equal Opportunity. 

Leadership removal can occur if an organization leader is found to be unable/unwilling to perform their respective duties, as outlined within the organization constitution/bylaws. To initiate a formal removal of a leadership position, a student organization must notify SEAL leadership. SEAL Leadership will meet with the reporting students to best determine appropriate next steps, if any.

Membership removal must be connected to sanctions provided by the Office of Community Standards or the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO).


SEAL works closely with many departments on campus in supporting students and student organizations in their events. All on-campus events hosted by a student organization require endorsement from their advisor, and logistical coordination and communication with the managing department of the space. 

All community members may utilize Spacebook to access, view, and reserve specific locations on campus. Spacebook is accessible through any standard internet browser at

Organizations are required to reserve spaces under their organization name, and not as an individual student.

Spaces on campus may have their own guidelines or policies for reserving or utilizing the spaces. Please contact the managing department of that space for specifics. Cancellations should be made in advance online or by contacting the managing department. All college policies must be complied with at all times within the spaces. 

Individuals and/or organizations reserving the room may be held responsible for any damages to equipment or physical spaces while utilizing the space. Fines may be levied for cleaning or damages if applicable. 

Failure to abide by the space guidelines may result in a policy violation and limit on future bookings.

More information on how to use EMS/Spacebook visit

Hosting an Off Campus Event

Events held off-campus using, or implying, the Emerson College name, utilizing the Emerson College accounting system and SGA allocated funds, or off-campus events publicized on campus are subject to all College policies and procedures as events held on campus. In addition, to utilize an off-campus facility, students must arrange for a contract between the facility and the College. 

All contractual agreements with an off-campus facility on behalf of the registered student organization must be signed ONLY by the Director of SEAL.

Advisors and students are not permitted to sign contracts. A contract for an off-campus venue will only be reviewed after all on-campus venue locations have been considered and exhausted.

A contract is required for use of ANY off-campus facility (and hosted talent), regardless of how the facility is being used or cost. The facility must also carry and show proof of general liability insurance with a minimum of $3,000,000 coverage, naming Emerson College as an additional insured. A Certificate of Insurance must be obtained from the facility indicating the limits of insurance, if the facility is not a pre-approved vendor of the College. In addition, only registered student organizations are allowed to host off campus events.

Off-campus events must be registered through SEAL by meeting with the Director of Student Engagement and Leadership at least 8 weeks in advance of the event. No off-campus event will be held if a student organization has not initiated contact with SEAL within the 8 week window. Although guests of Emerson College students are typically welcomed, students who present a valid Emerson College ID are permitted to bring up to one (1) non-Emerson guests with them to an event. 

When planning an event off-campus, the student planner must set up an appointment with the Director of SEAL and provide the following information:

  • Address, phone number, email, and name of contact at the event site
  • Logistics of event (including goals, purpose, and agenda)
  • Unsigned contract/agreement from venue
  • Vendor safety and security protocols (i.e. security, emergency procedures, etc.)
  • Name of the advisor that will be present for the entirety of the event. 
    • If your organization advisor cannot be present, you must identify another Emerson employee that is approved by both your organization advisor and SEAL.
    • At least one advisor must be present during the event, but more may be necessary due to the number of participants, nature, and risk of the event.
  • Prepare an itemized budget plan for the event, including sources of funds and ticket sales and timeline. Use of SGA funds must comply with policies and procedures as outlined in the Treasury Handbook.
  • Understanding that the sponsoring organization assumes full financial responsibility for any/all activities related to this event.

After meeting with the Director of SEAL, they will confirm logistics, arrangements, and sign all documentation/paperwork needed to secure location. 

Advisor responsibilities for off-campus events:

The functions of an off-campus event advisor are two-fold. First, to assist in preventing or curing any undesirable situations that may develop, or if necessary, bring them to the attention of the Director of Student Engagement & Leadership. 

  • Advisor(s) must be present throughout the entirety of the event. This includes being present during set-up and breakdown.
  • The advisor is to act in the capacity of a college official. If a concern arises that cannot be addressed by the leadership of the organization, the advisor is there to assist. 
  • The advisor, along with the student organization are responsible for ensuring contractual agreements are met. 
  • Only the advisor may authorize additional expenses of an event and the costs must be covered by the organization (be aware of your current budget balance before any additional expenses can be authorized).
  • No reimbursements will be approved unless granted by the Director of Student Engagement and Leadership 
  • Advisors must be familiar with the policies and procedures for student organizations and Emerson College
  • Advisors must notify the Director of SEAL of any concerns, incidents, or questions that may have arisen during the event by emailing SEAL [at] with a detailed account of what happened.

Off-Campus Event Logistics: 

  • There will be no tickets sold at the door. All tickets must be purchased ahead of the event date. No cash will be on hand at the door. 
  • The event is only open to Emerson College community members and their guests. All ticket holders will need to present a valid Emerson College ID for entrance. Non-Emerson guests must present an ID and sign in as a guest at the door. Guests must be accompanied by their Emerson student for entrance. No general public will be admitted. 
  • No alcohol is permitted at events sponsored by an Emerson College student organization at an off-campus venue. Organizations wishing to have alcohol at their event must contact SEAL for approval. No Student Organizations funds can cover alcohol (except for Senior Class Council)
  • The facility must have a representative on site the entire time your organization will be in the space. This person will be your primary point of contact. Please introduce yourself upon arrival to the representative and communicate any challenges or issues related to the facility to them. 
  • Your event may require a security or police detail depending on the requirements of your venue or the activity you are sponsoring. This will be an additional expense that must be covered by the sponsoring organization.

Crisis Management:

If there is an accident/injury at your event, the Emerson College Police Department (617-824-8888) must be contacted immediately. In an emergency please call 911. Should a student need to be escorted to the hospital, please contact ECPD and the Director of SEAL (​​617-824-3638) immediately after emergency responders have been contacted with the following information:

Name and ID of the student, the hospital transported to, the conditions that led to the transport, the name of the person escorting the student to the hospital, Contact information, and an accounting of what happened.

Campus Poster

Campus Poster Policy

Trip and Travel Policy and Procedure

Trips are considered any official student organization travel outside of Emerson College grounds (including domestic, international travel, retreats, and sports tournaments/competition)

**All trips that require transportation further than the MBTA are required to be registered and approved through the Trip Registration Process outlined below**

  • In order to be eligible to participate and register for an off-campus trip, you must: 
    • Be a currently Emerson enrolled undergraduate/graduate student or a faculty/staff member 
      • If a faculty/staff advisor wishes to bring a relative on the trip, they must get approval from SEAL and assume liability and risk of that individual
      • Alumni are not eligible to participate in trips unless approved by SEAL
    • Be in good disciplinary standing
  • Student organizations must submit a budget to SEAL including but not limited to expenses: transportation (flights/taxi/train/bus), lodging accommodations, registration fees, and meals.
    • If your organization does not have the appropriate amount of funds, the organization can seek additional funding with SGA (see Treasury Handbook for more information on appeals)
      • You must have funds secure 4 weeks before your trip in order to purchase any travel expenses
  • Complete a Trip Registration form. This form is currently located under the myEmerson app Housing & Student Life page. Scroll down to the “Handbooks & Forms” section and click on “Trip Registration Form.” 
    • The Trip Registration form MUST be completed before the trip:
      • Local Trip (Greater Boston area) at least 14 days/two weeks prior to Travel
      • Out-of-state trip – at least 30 days/One month prior to Travel
      • International Trip – at least 90 Days/Three months prior to Travel
    • All trip requests submitted in less than this time frame will NOT be approved.
    • All trips must be accompanied by a Emerson faculty/staff unless approved by SEAL
  • Once the trip has been approved by the SEAL, students and advisors attending the trip will now have the ability to register for the trip using the Trip Registration link under the Student Life tab on ECommon. Registering for the trip includes the submission of the Assumption of Risk & Release form.
  • Once determine eligibility, students can begin to make travel arrangements 
    • Student and Advisor must set up a meeting in advance with SEAL to purchase/plan travel expenses/accommodations
      • Registration for the conference/event/tournament etc.
      • Air travel or other transportation
        • If purchasing airfare, each participating student must fill out the form shared by SEAL. The following information will be required to complete the form:
          • Confirmation of ID sufficient for flight (driver’s license, real ID, passport)
          • Name as it appears on ID
          • Email
          • Required Date/Time of departure
          • Required Date/Time of return
          • Date of Birth
          • TSA or KTN number (if applicable)
          • Frequent Flyer number (if applicable)
          • Seat preference (aisle, middle, window)
          • Cell phone number
      • Overnight accommodations in a commercial hotel
        • Please identify a hotel that fits within your organization’s budget
        • Apartment or House Sharing services, like AirBnB & VRBO, must be approved by the Director of SEAL
          • Students who choose to use these services without prior approval by the appropriate parties will not be reimbursed
      • Ground transportation (if applicable)
        • Car Rental must be approved by SEAL and only will be reimbursed
        • Bus/Train tickets can be purchased by SEAL
      • Meals (per diem per student): Breakfast $17.00, Lunch $18.00, and Dinner $34.00
    • Students must submit ALL purchase requests on EmConnect after travel expenses have been approved 
    • Hotel and Flight accommodations are ONLY purchased by SEAL
      • No student will be reimbursed for expenses they purchased on their own except for approved rideshares, car rentals, house sharing/apartment, per diem or other expenses approved by SEAL
  • Go on the trip! Save original itemized receipts (these MUST be submitted to SEAL 48 hours after your trip)

In case of an emergency, please contact 911. Please then notify ECPD (617) 824-8555. ECPD will notify Campus Life. Student Engagement & Leadership and ECPD will have a record of your trip itinerary and a list of all participants and their emergency contacts.

Safety tips while you are traveling

  • Do thorough research on the locations you are visiting
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Travel in groups
  • Charge your devices
  • Share your itinerary with your friends and family
  • Make copies of important documents and send it to a trusted contact
  • Secure your belongings
  • Trust your instincts
  • Communicate with your advisor is something feels uncomfortable or unsafe

Theatrical/Film Rights Policy

It is a requirement to obtain rights for any theatrical performances or film screenings, no matter the organization or student(s) personal access to streaming services. 

All rights must be purchased by the SEAL office. Students and organization advisors are NOT authorized to sign contracts/rights on behalf of the College.

Theatrical/Film Rights Guidelines

  1. Determine which agency holds the rights for the performance/film you are interested in producing. Each agency has a catalog that will indicate each show’s fee. Each company has its own process and policy by which rights are secured. Please read through their rights and policies.
  2. For theatrical rights, you may request a perusal copy (this is to determine if you want to continue obtaining rights - copying or distributing this is illegal) or request a license for a specific show.
  3. There are costs associated with securing rights/licenses. 
    1. Additional fees might apply (i.e. shipping of materials).
    2. A performance royalty will be due no matter the circumstance of how the play/film is performed.
  4. Photocopying scripts without permission is a breach of copyright.
  5. All performance rights are granted by written contract only. There is no such thing as “verbal approval.”
  6. Once the contract and rights have been approved and signed by SEAL you may begin to work on the show. No performance preparations may begin until rights have been secured.
    1. This includes any promotional materials (whether through social media, EmConnect events, physical/digital posters, etc.), auditions, casting, or rehearsals, etc.
  7. It is important to follow all stipulations in the rights/license agreement including but not limited to:
    1. Requirement to credit the rights holder in the program. Specifics will be mentioned in the agreement.
    2. You must return all materials by the expressed deadline. Failure to do so will result in late or replacement fees that will be the responsibility of the individual/student organization requesting the rights, not Emerson College. 
      1. Please be respectful. If you don't fulfill the terms of your License Agreement, you may affect another student group or program's ability to secure rights for another production.
  8. If the play you wish to produce is not held by any of the play houses, you will need to find a copy of the play to find the publisher’s information. Contact that publisher and hopefully they can help refer you to the correct source for obtaining producing rights.

Student organizations are not permitted to publicize, rehearsal, or audition, without the purchasing of the rights.

Obtaining Theatrical Rights/Film Screening Rights

To obtain the rights to produce a play or musical, complete the following steps: 

  1. Determine the space in which you plan to host your performance/film. You will then need to submit a request through Spacebook or the Office of the Arts Venue Request form to reserve a space. 
    1. Please note, spaces are on a first come first serve basis so reserve a space in advance
    2. Bright Family Screening Room (Eligible for Film Screens Reservation Days/Times - Monday, 5:00pm-11:00pm: Reserved for non-public, student-sponsored uses, managed by Student Affairs) 
  2. Determine which agency holds the rights for the performance/film you are interested in producing. Each agency has a catalog that will indicate each show’s fee. Each company has its own process and policy by which rights are secured. 
    1. For independent playwrights, please contact SEAL to draft a contract even if you are not paying for the rights/license a contract must be signed
    2. If the film you wish to screen is not held by any of the play or film houses, please contact SEAL for further direction.
  3. Once you have determined the rightsholder of the play, you must contact SEAL to secure the rights. Generally, the following information is needed in order to provide a royalty quote:
    1. Performance/Film title, dates, locations
    2. Company that holds the rights/link to purchase rights
    3. Name student organization
    4. Seating capacity of venue
    5. Ticket Prices - (Free admission still requires the purchase of rights)
    6. Number of performances/film screenings
    7. Script materials (if applicable)
  4. SEAL will receive either confirmation or denial of the rights application and contact the student organization with next steps.
    1. With confirmation of rights, student organizations will need to submit a purchase request to finalize rights payment. 
    2. With denial of rights application, student organizations should explore alternative

Below are the major play/musical publishing houses:
Concord Theatricals -
Dramatist Play Service -
Drama Source -
Dramatic Publishing -
Musical Theatre International -
Theatrical Rights Worldwide -
Not sure who holds the rights to the show you wish to present? Check at

Below are the major film screening sites:
Criterion -
Motion Picture Licensing Corporation -
Swank Motion Pictures -

For Theatrical productions, film, or media screenings, rights are required. Any organization or student(s) who do not obtain the rights for any theatrical performance or film screening could lose the privilege of hosting film screenings or theatrical performances as determined by SEAL. 

The use of an individual’s streaming service to screen a film or television show for a public screening is prohibited. Streaming services tend to have terms and conditions that only allow personal and noncommercial use of its materials, so public screenings are not allowed. Virtual “watch parties” where individuals access the watch party via their personal streaming service account is permitted.

Media Safety Guidelines

Below are guidelines for use of media recording for organization from the Department of Visual and Media Arts (VMA) and Student Engagement and Leadership (SEAL). Students must commit to being an active participant in maintaining and growing a culture of safety and accountability in their organizations.

Film/Photo/Media Releases: All actors/subjects being recorded on media, must sign a Release giving you permission to use their likeness. If it is necessary to gain approval from someone on the spot, students must have the subject state on camera - their name, the date, contact information, and their permission for you to use their likeness. Digital/electronic signatures are acceptable. 

Working with Child Actors and subjects who are children. All child actors must be accompanied by guardians at all times. Prior to the first production day they must sign all necessary documents including release form and Emerson child actor contract. 


  • Nudity, Partial Nudity, Sexually Explicit Content: Performers must be made aware of nudity, partial nudity or sexually explicit content before they arrive on set. In advance of the shoot, the performer must sign a photo release and write in a description of the required nudity or sexual content. For example, “I am aware that this role entails a scene where I will remove my shirt.” 
  • NO Fire, Pyrotechnics, or Weapons: Fire, explosives, weapons or simulated weapons of any kind including guns and knives are not allowed in any public areas without police detail presence. This includes but not limited to toy guns or knives or simulated bomb elements. Use of toys or simulated weapons may be allowed inside your own private residence but you must gain prior approval by the VMA Director of Production Safety
  • NO Water Immersion Scenes: Scenes that depict swimming, full immersion in water, or filming within any body of water (lake, river, creek, ocean, pond, swimming pool, dock, pier, etc.) are not allowed.
  • NO Rooftops, Balconies, Bridges, or other High Altitudes: Any scenes taking place on rooftops, balconies, fire escapes or any such elevated property are not allowed. 
  • NO Physical Restraints: Any use of rope, tape, zip-tie, or handcuffs as actual restraints is not allowed. This includes restraints to breathing such as gags, ropes around the throat, or plastic bags over an actor’s head. Any restraint must be entirely simulated and never in danger of actual restraint.
  • NO Moving Vehicles or Subways: No filming inside subways or on subway platforms. No filming inside buses, trains, cars, trucks, taxis, boats or other moving vehicles. Limited use of a cell phone camera, or small DSLR may be allowed within a private moving vehicle provided the person operating a camera/recording device is NOT the driver and that no one is giving any instructions, or directions, to the driver while the vehicle is in motion. 
  • NO Actual Cigarettes, Alcohol, Drugs: Actors depicted smoking or drinking must always use non-harmful prop substances as stand-ins. For any depiction of cigarettes, commercial herbal cigarettes must be used and the area must be well ventilated or outside. Depiction of alcohol is allowed using commercial bottles, but must use nonalcoholic liquid. 
  • NO Hazardous Locations: No filming at locations that are dangerous, structurally unsound or subject to extreme weather conditions. Some examples include abandoned buildings, warehouses, factories, cliffs, mountains, deserts or other similar locations.
  • NO Illegal Activity: If you plan to record media at a live event, such as a music performance, demonstration, or protest, you must gain approval from your instructor. If approved, students must scrupulously avoid participating in, assisting, directing or controlling in any way the activity in question.
  • Exits: When filming in a location, always identify exits and do not block any exits in any way.


Media Recording in your Residence. 

If you live in on-campus housing, you must have the permission of your roommate(s) to record in your shared space. For all residential suite productions, you should email your roommates consent to Filming_hre [at]

If your residence is an off-campus apartment or condo, you are not permitted to film in any common areas, such as stairwells, without the written approval of your landlord.

Media Recording inside Private Locations

Location agreements are required in advance for media recording in a private location. In these situations, students must gain approval by the owner - their name, the date, contact information, and approval. You can obtain insurance through the VMA portal for these private locations.

Media Recording on Campus:

No filming or media acquisition is allowed on Emerson property without permission from your instructor and the department where you intend to film or record media. You can submit your location requests on the VMA Portal. 

Media Recording on Public Property: 

For public property locations you may need to obtain permits from city or governmental agencies. Such processes may take up weeks or months.

For all public locations in the city of Boston or DCR Properties (Department of Conservation and Recreation) you need to contact the Government's Relations Office at Emerson. 

Small productions with minimal cast and crew (less than 10 people total) are allowed to proceed without a permit for productions during the day time.

Props and Weapons Policy

See the Weapons policy

Emerson College encourages its students’ creative endeavors, and strives to make sure its students are performing in an environment that is as free from risk as possible. This document provides students and their advisors with protocols for use of prop weapons in theatrical or film productions by recognized student organizations at Emerson College. No document can cover every circumstance, as the specific needs for each production can vary widely. This document seeks to outline issues common to the vast majority of theatrical combat and/or “threat”-based scenarios that use prop weaponry, as well as to provide you with resources to obtain, use and care for prop weaponry. 

Defining Prop/Stage Weapons

A prop weapon, or simulated weapon, is a weapon manufactured to give the illusion of authenticity without the ability to cause harm, compared to how its “real” counterpart might. Prop weapons should always be treated as real weapons, as they may still be capable of causing injury. Moreover, the prop may be perceived as real, and thus a cause for alarm, by an outside observer who happens upon your rehearsal or film shoot.

It is also important to recognize that everyday objects, which may include but are not limited to, pencils, lamps, rolling pins, etc., may also become weapons when staging combat scenes, and the protocols regarding weapon safety must still be employed.

Not Permitted at Emerson College 

  • Real weapons, including firearms, blade and blunt weapons, manufactured with the intent to cause harm 
  • Disabled guns (defined as guns initially manufactured to fire ANY type of projectile that have been modified to an inoperable state)
  • Any sharp metal blades for a fight scene or struggle
  • Live ammunition, blank firing cartridges and loads, paintball or airsoft pellets, or anything else designed to be capable of being fired
  • Cap guns (considered a pyro-technic)
  • Storing prop weapons in your residential hall/off campus apartment

Please note that Performing Arts/Emerson Stage’s Props Department does not loan out prop weapons. You will need to purchase or rent any and all prop weapons for your production - a few vendors are recommended at the end of this document.

You may not use prop weaponry without College approval. To obtain approval to use your proposed prop weapon, you must follow the steps below.

Process for Notification/Approval – Step by Step Guide

  1. Discuss your interest in utilizing a prop weapon with your cast, crew and advisor at least 2 months in advance of the performance – earlier is better! Determine which member of your production team, preferably a Stage Manager or Props Lead, will serve as the Student Contact in charge of ensuring proper safety practices with the prop.
  2. Review the Safety Guide to Using Prop Weapons (below in this document) with every member of your cast, crew and with your organization advisor(s).
  3. Please submit the Prop Weapon Usage Application to the Director of Student Engagement & Leadership (SEAL) at least three (3) weeks in advance of the date the prop weapon is scheduled to be used. It may sometimes take up to 10 business days for the College to complete review your materials. Please plan ahead.
  4. The SEAL Director has authority to approve or disapprove use of prop weaponry. If they review and approve your proposed use of prop weaponry, they will instruct your Student Contact responsible for the prop weapon to set up an appointment with the College Police Department (ECPD) for visual inspection of the prop weapon. You must give at least 24 hours’ notice to ECPD before expecting to meet with them.
    1. *Please note only the Student Contact should contact ECPD and they must present the prop in person at the time of the appointment.
  5. The designated member of the ECPD will visually inspect the prop weapon to determine that it is considered safe for use in the designated context. ECPD has authority to approve or disapprove use of prop weaponry.
  6. ECPD will notify the Director of SEAL of the results of its review. If the ECPD approves use of the prop weaponry, the Director of SEAL will notify the appropriate building managers and you may begin your safe use of the prop weapon for the activity proposed.
  7. Should your vision/intended use/plans of the prop weapon change, the initial proposal and approval is revoked and you will need to begin the process from the start. No exceptions will be made to this.
  8. Failure to handle the prop weapon before, during and after the review use in a responsible and safe manner may result in disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

Please note, ECPD must physically inspect the actual prop in its performance-ready state. This means that if you are renting theatrical weaponry, you will need to rent the item(s) BEFORE you know whether the College will approve its use. It is therefore advisable to rent only from reliable theatrical prop weapon suppliers, such as those listed below, to decrease the likelihood of its being rejected. 

Safety Guide to Using Prop Weapons

Prop weapons can cause unsafe situations and harm if they are not used and cared for correctly. Please use the guidelines below to ensure the safety of all project participants.

Safety Common Sense

  • The first rule of safety: when in doubt, ask. Understand what makes a rehearsal or performance safe and do your best to act in a professional manner. If you ever have any questions about safety, contact SEAL, the Emerson Stage Props Director, or the VMA Director of Production Safety.
  • Safety begins long before your rehearsal or performance. It is the responsibility of each member of your team to educate themselves and one another about safety. Arrive to rehearsals and performances on time, well rested, and healthy.
  • Accidents are caused by negligence, lack of awareness, and lack of foresight. It is important to stay alert and understand potential dangers. Work toward anticipating safety hazards ahead of time. 
  • Follow your instincts. If it feels unsafe, it probably is. And if you think something is unsafe or someone is acting in an unsafe manner, say something. By calling attention to the safety hazard, it gives your Stage Managers, Director, crew members and fellow actors a chance to reevaluate the situation.
  • Safety must be your first concern, making a great piece of art or media is second. Everyone wants the production to be great, but it is never worth risking the injury or death of anyone involved. Take care of one another.

General Prop Weapon Use

  • Treat all prop weapons as real weapons. Handle all prop guns as if loaded (even if it is a wooden cut-out). Treat all prop knives as sharp. Be especially conscious of the point on bladed weapons, as they can still cause penetrative injury even though they’re dull. Prop weapons can cause severe harm or worse and should be treated with respect.
  • Prop weapons must always be locked behind two locks when not in use in rehearsal or performance - for example, a small locked box containing the prop inside a locked locker or closet. You may consider using the lockers on the fourth floor of Paramount or on the fifth floor of Tufte. 
  • When transporting your prop weapon make sure it is not exposed. You must keep it inside of a lock box inside of a bag during transport.
  • It is crucial that your prop is cared for and maintained. Always inspect weaponry before and after every rehearsal and performance. Perform regular cleaning and maintenance on the props as recommended by the supplier. Do not use a damaged prop.

Rehearsal and Performance

Do not attempt to work beyond your capabilities – pushing artistic boundaries is what school is about, as this should be a safe place to experiment, fail and grow. However, do not let that attitude prevail over proper safety measures – make your production, LITERALLY a "safe place to fail"! If you don't know how to make an illusion safe, seek out appropriate help, which could include hiring a professional fight director or stunt coordinator; working with personnel who have training and experience; and/or finding a creative solution to the story-telling needs that doesn’t include a prop weapon.

  • At the start of rehearsal, you must hold a safety meeting where all individuals involved in the production are informed that there will be a prop weapon in use, which individuals will be handling it, and how it will be used. If any plan changes, you must hold another safety meeting to update the cast and crew.
  • If a prop weapon in your performance is used in a threatening or combative manner, a fight call must take place before every performance with all cast and crew involved in the scene.
  • A notice must be posted on entrances and exits of any room where a prop weapon is in use. Be sure to take the posting down at the end of each rehearsal or shoot. If you are rehearsing in an unconventional rehearsal space and a prop weapon is in use, make efforts to ensure that persons outside of the space cannot see or hear your rehearsal, so as not to cause undue alarm. 
  • Consult with your producer or production manager to determine any need for notices to be posted during live performances. 
  • When a prop weapon is not in use, keep it securely and safely locked away at all times..
  • When the prop weapon is needed, the person designated as the responsible party must hand the weapon to the actor. When the stage action with the prop is complete, the actor must immediately return the prop weapon to the responsible party and secure it until it is needed again. The prop must not be preset on a prop table or left on a prop table after use. It must either be worn by the responsible party or promptly locked up.
  • While a prop weapon is in use, the user should never point the prop weapon at anyone or themselves. While staging, never aim a weapon directly at the face, head, or body of a performer or directly at audience members regardless of the prop’s capabilities.
  • Always aim off line, either up – or downstage of the “victim”.
  • Beware of disarms; when dropping a prop from a large height or from repetitive drops the prop can become damaged. Do not let the disarmed weapon become a trip-hazard later in the fight. Do not let a disarmed weapon slide towards the audience.
  • Never leave a prop weapon unattended, including on prop tables. If you need advising on how to properly store your prop weapon, please contact SEAL, the Emerson Stage Props Director, or the VMA Director of Production Safety.
  • At no time should there ever be any horseplay with a prop weapon.

Emergency Procedure

Despite careful preparation and steps to minimize risks as much as possible, accidents may still occur.

In the event of an emergency:

Call the Emerson College Police Department’s emergency line:

  • When calling from a cell phone while on campus: 617-824-8888
  • When calling from a campus phone: x8888

Call 911 when calling from an off-campus location

Make your call from a safe location, if possible. Remain calm. Speak slowly and clearly. Do not hang up the phone until the dispatcher tells you to.

Be prepared to give the following information:

  • Location of the emergency – give clear directions, street address, building, and room.
  • Type and severity of the emergency:
    • Fire – type and size of fire.
    • Medical – type of illness or injury, cause, number of victims.
    • Police/crime – type of crime, description of suspects and their direction of travel.
    • Chemical/hazardous materials – quantity and type of substances involved, hazards and injuries.
  • When the incident occurred.
  • Your name, location you’re calling from, and phone number.


The most important thing to remember to create a safe atmosphere for yourself and others to work in is, “when in doubt, ask”. Please use the list of the following people and vendors as resources for your project.

Process Resource

Jennifer Nival
Director - Office of Student Engagement & Leadership
jennifer_nival [at] (jennifer_nival[at]emerson[dot]edu)

Personnel Resources

Ted Hewlett
Acting Faculty - Department of Performing Arts
ted_hewlett [at] (ted_hewlett[at]emerson[dot]edu)

Ryan Bates
Props Director - Department of Performing Arts
ryan_bates [at] (ryan_bates[at]emerson[dot]edu)

Homa Sarabi
Director, Production Safety and Sustainability - Department of Visual and Media Arts
homa_sarabi [at] (homa_sarabi[at]emerson[dot]edu)

Rental Resources

Preferred Arms (swords, knives, prop guns)
Robb Hunter -

Rogue Steel (swords, daggers, shields)
Neil Massey -

Centre Firearms (mostly deal with blank-firing weapons, but have non-firing models as
well) -

Purchasing Resources

Knighthawk Armory:
Western Stage Props:

Removal of Leadership/Member

Leadership/Member Removal

SEAL must ensure all students have the right and access to participate in educational activities across campus. As such, a student organization does not have the right to remove another student from participation in their club or organization without consultation with Student Engagement and Leadership, Community Standards, and/or Office of Equal Opportunity. 

Leadership removal can occur if an organization leader is found to be unable/unwilling to perform their respective duties, as outlined within the organization constitution/bylaws. To initiate a formal removal of a leadership position, a student organization must notify SEAL leadership. SEAL Leadership will meet with the reporting students to best determine appropriate next steps, if any.

Membership removal must be connected to sanctions provided by the Office of Community Standards or the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO).

The College's mission is to educate students to assume positions of leadership in communication and the arts and to advance scholarship and creative work that brings innovation, depth, and diversity to these disciplines. Our mission can only be met when we have an environment that contributes to scholarship and our creative work.
As part of a community of artists and innovators we will work together to establish an. environment built on trust and mutual respect.  With this in mind it is an expectation that all Students know and honor the following Rights and Responsibilities. 


  1. The right to participate in the open exchange of ideas and freedom of expression.  Understanding this right does not exempt you from the consequences of your actions. 
  2. The right to be secure from unreasonable or unauthorized search or seizure.
  3. The right to reasonable privacy, including the privacy of personal information.
  4. The right to a fair Student Conduct Process. 
  5. The right to bring forward a complaint if one has a good faith reason to believe that it is more likely than not that the rights or responsibilities derived from this statement have been violated. 


  1. The responsibility to respect and equally treat all members of the College community in a civil manner. 
  2. The responsibility to know and follow College policies as well as federal, state and local laws and comply with them as required. 
  3. The responsibility to respect the confidentiality of personal information about members of the Emerson College community and to preserve the right of privacy.
  4. The responsibility to recognize that student and student organization/club behavior reflects upon the individuals involved and upon the College community.

Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO)

Emerson College is committed to creating an educational and work environment free of Discrimination, Harassment & Sexual Violence. The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) is available to address conduct and concerns reported to the office. OEO can provide support resources and discuss what options may be available if the impacted individual is interested in addressing the conduct.

If you have been impacted by discrimination, harassment or sexual violence, the Office of Equal Opportunity (oeo [at]; 617-824-8999) is available to meet with you and discuss options to address concerns and to provide you with support resources. If you would like to speak with someone confidentially, please contact the Healing & Advocacy Collective, the Emerson Wellness Center, or the Center for Spiritual Life.

Inclusive Practices

As a student organization that is deeply connected to Emerson College, you have a responsibility to the mission of the institution. It is vital that all members of the greater Emerson community help to create an inclusive, equitable and just environment - an environment where all voices are heard and their contributions are appreciated and valued. We have a shared responsibility to ensure our student organizations are inclusive and equitable for all. 

As a student organization, you’ll want to consider ideals of justice, equity, and inclusion and the impact it has on the community and your organization. 

Areas of growth and development

  • Creating an inclusive recruitment process
  • Diversify your events, ideas, and program implementation
  • Create access and equity for all leadership roles and general membership
  • Foster an anti-racist environment
  • Understand and decrease participation barriers 


Please consider accessibility in how you plan and lead your community. If you are a student who needs accommodations, please contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS), formerly the Disability Services Office. Emerson College strives to create an inclusive campus environment for students, allowing them to have full access to courses, programs, and activities during their time at Emerson College. Please consider wearing a mask to meetings and programs to protect those who are still at risk. 

It is also important to consider digital accessibility when creating programs, services, flyers, social media posts, etc. Accessible digital content is that which all people, regardless of disability or impairment, can perceive, navigate, and use with equivalent ease. This content can include websites, electronic documents, desktop and mobile apps, course content containing images, audio, or video, Zoom meetings, and more. Accessible content provides all people the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services. You can find accessibility guides here. In addition, student leaders are encouraged to review this article from the Perkins School for the Blind to learn more about writing alternative text and image descriptions for social media posts. 

Religious and Spiritual Diversity

Please consider religious and spiritual diversity in how you plan and lead in your community. Take a look at the multi-faith calendar at the beginning of each term (which can be found here) and see if any of your meetings or events might conflict with religious holidays. While it may be impossible to avoid all holidays altogether, please avoid scheduling important or mandatory events on work-restricted holidays which are noted on the multi-faith calendar with "no work" (or if that's not possible, provide alternate options). You may also find it beneficial at the beginning of the semester to ask members of your community if there are upcoming religious observances or spiritual practices that might impact their participation and take those into account in your planning. Click here for more extended guidance on requesting and supporting the religious and spiritual practices of our community.

Massachusetts Hazing Law

See the Code of Community Standards - Hazing

See the Emerson College Hazing Policy



EmConnect is an online platform where Emerson students, faculty, and staff can find information regarding student organizations. EmConnect provides a platform for student engagement outside of the classroom. EmConnect is used to showcase your organization, your events and programs, and increase membership. EmConnect is where all student organizations will manage their finances by submitting purchase requests, annual budget requests, and appeals. 

Putting your information on EmConnect helps make your organization more accessible to more people. Everyone with an Emerson email will be able to view your organization. Being transparent with what you’re doing is a key factor in the success of organizations. 

  • Members List: Your roster is important to keep up-to-date, to make sure the right people have the right levels of permission they need in your organization. Your roster will show you a list of all your organization's members, leadership positions, and information about your organization's primary contact. The primary contact is person designated to be the main point of contact for your organization. All of your members should be listed on your organization’s roster to easily be able to send messages, event reminders, and notifications about News posts. 
  • Co-Curricular Transcripts: All students on EmConnect have access to download their very own Co-Curricular Transcript. The transcript outlines all involvement, both past and present, including any leadership positions held, community service hours, events attended and more. The transcript is completely customisable.To access the transcript, students should select the small circle at the top right corner of the page. From the drop down menu, students select “On-Campus Involvement”. From there, students can customize their transcript to best fit their needs. 
  • Community Service: Community service is not specific to Fraternity and Sorority Life, all students have access to record community service hours on EmConnect. You can record all of your community service hours through EmConnect. Your service hours can be listed on your Co-Curricular Transcript. 
  • Peer Shout-outs: Students now have the opportunity to share praise of the work of their peers. To submit a peer shout-out, use this form and look for the shout-out on EmConnect’s home page within a few days! Each semester, a winner will be chosen through random draw to win a prize!
  • Events: Events are the perfect opportunity to showcase what your organization is up to. Advertise your upcoming events, auditions, and more! 
  • News: The News feature in EmConnect is your very own blog to post information about your organization, upcoming events and auditions, and more. When publishing a News article, you can notify all of your members on your roster to remind them to take a look!
  • Event Pass: Event Pass is a unique code that allows you to easily check-in people to your event. For more information about accessing your Event Pass and using the Check-In App, please visit this Event Pass 101 document. Note: you will need to have an event created on EmConnect to retrieve the Event Code necessary to use this feature. 

If you have any questions or concerns you can contact:
Student Engagement and Leadership at SEAL [at] (SEAL[at]emerson[dot]edu)