Planning, Fundraising, and Publicity

Planning & Logistics

Contact the Lectures Program office early in the planning process for assistance communicating with speakers or agents and making initial arrangements. Student organizations and university units should allow at least 6-8 weeks for planning when possible. It is especially important to work with the Lectures Program staff when considering dates and venues, and for the negotiation of the lowest possible speaker fees and travel costs.

Please be prepared to provide the following information when contacting the office:

  • a title for the presentation
  • topic of the presentation
  • a short bio of the speaker, including their current position, relevant prior position(s) and important publications, honors or awards
  • a speaking fee, if known (if unknown, please work with the Lectures Program staff to obtain this information)
  • intended time frame for the event
  • confirmed or proposed cosponsors or collaborating groups

Funding for Student Organizations

The Committee on Lectures offers financial assistance to registered student organizations that wish to sponsor a public lecture or cultural event. The funds distributed by the Committee on Lectures are student fees allocated by the Student Government. The Committee on Lectures is charged with providing the entire campus with a series of speakers on a broad range of topics. Planners are encouraged to work with the Lectures Program staff to find an accessible time and location for their event in order to attract the broadest possible audience. Due to limited resources, some requests may have to be deferred to a later date or denied.

Steps to requests for funding include:

  • Completing the online application.
  • Attending a regularly scheduled Committee on Lectures meeting to briefly comment on and answer questions about the written application.

Funding for University Units

Academic departments, colleges, and university units may request co-sponsorship of events from the Committee on Lectures. If the event is placed on the Lectures Program account, up to $750 will be provided to pay for event costs, including A/V support, set-up fees, publicity, and captioning the event. The Lectures Program staff will ask for cooperation in the logistics and planning of the event in order to ensure the Committee's goals for student participation and access are met. If a university unit does not require the event to be placed on the Lectures account, Publicity Assistance is available (see below).


Funding Eligibility

The Committee on Lectures (CoL) has the following criteria for funding:

  • Requests for funding need to come from a university-recognized student organization.
  • Students must be included in the planning and presentation of the event.
  • The event being planned must be free and open to the public.
  • The event is located on campus.
  • Ticketing and/or registration for free events is not permitted.
  • The event being planned must take place while classes are in session during the fall or spring semester. The Committee does not fund summer programming. Events are not held during Finals Week, and events scheduled during Study Week require special approval.
  • The event must allow for a question and answer period where students can submit questions directly or indirectly to the speaker.
  • Student organizations may request funding for one speaker per academic year, except in extenuating circumstances.
  • The Committee does not fund speakers who have made a public presentation on campus within the last three years, except under special circumstances. Contact the Lectures staff if there is a question about a speaker's previous campus visit(s).
  • A non-student unit may solicit funding from the Committee where the Committee serves as the student organization.
  • CoL may provide up to $750 to cover event costs including Memorial Union (MU) tech and A/V, MU setup costs, publicity (graphic design and ads), and captioning of the recording.
  • Any event seeking funding over $750 must include a complete headline and description in the funding application for the CoL to vote on the funding request.
  • Any event seeking funding over $750 must have a contract approved by Lectures with signatures by all parties before the event may be publicized. 
  • Any event seeking funding over $750 must use the Lectures-provided graphic design for publicity (due to copyright, photo use restrictions, and pre-approval requirements by many speakers). In order to use a different graphic design, there must be a specific reason and it must be approved by Lectures staff.
  • CoL funding cannot be used to pay for food and beverages.
  • Student groups that receive funding from CoL and opt to drive a speaker must use a driver approved in the ISU Transportation system, and use an ISU vehicle. 

Funding Application 

Contact the Lectures Program office early in the planning process (at least 4-6 weeks) for assistance communicating with speakers or agents and making initial arrangements. Submit a completed application by e-mail at least two days before you present to the Committee on Lectures. Do not confirm your speaker until you have received approval of funding.

Please use the following information when preparing a budget for the proposal:

  • Honorarium/speaking fee - If the speaker's fee is unknown and not publicly available (e.g., posted on their website), please work with the Lectures staff to obtain this information. In some cases speakers are willing to come for a reduced fee.
  • Travel - Consult an online reservation service (such as Google flights, Expedia, etc.) in order to include accurate travel expenses in your budget. The Committee understands travel costs are subject to change. For a roundtrip flight, please budget a minimum of $500.
  • Lodging - A variety of lodging options are available in Ames, and many of them offer university rates. Examples for planning purposes include Gateway Hotel and Conference Center and Iowa House Bed and Breakfast. Some guests' itineraries may require an overnight stay at a Des Moines airport hotel.
  • Meals - It is reasonable to figure $50/day for meals. Meal expenses are not a per diem. If the speaker will be attending a dinner with students before the Lecture, please budget $400. Student Government guidelines do not permit the funding of receptions.
  • Event Costs - The Committee on Lectures calculates its event costs at $750 per event. This includes electronic publicity, room and technology costs for the event, captioning the recorded event, and related exepenses. For a detailed outline of all that is included in these costs, see below.
  • Cosponsors - The Committee likes to see broad support for events being planned. Please indicate any departments or programs, student organizations, and outside groups that have or may be willing to commit funding to the event. The Lectures staff will assist in this effort.


Event Costs: 2023-2024 Academic Year

The standard Lectures Program costs for a COL-sponsored event as detailed below range from $750-$1,220. A benchmark estimation of $750 is used to cover standard services; additional funding will be needed to cover additional services requested.

  • $325 - 750 Memorial Union
    • Room set-up: $100 (podium, stage, cloth/skirt of any tables) 
    • AV for typical lecture: $150 (lighting package, two mics, Panopto recording) 
    • Extra - AV for panel or special setup: $300 (additional mics, special sound equipment)
    • AV tech for typical 1-hour lecture: $75 (three hours of tech time, including setup and teardown) 
    • Extra - livestream with public link provided: $150
  • $150 - $300 University Transportation 
    • One-way DSM pickup: $125 ($75 driver fee + $50 car and gas)
    • Vehicle rental for event transport: $50
    • Parking pass for MU ramp during lecture: $12
  • $100 
    • Captioning for each recording: $100 (average; cost is based on recording length) 
  • $120 - $180 Publicity
    • Social media promotions: $5 per event (Facebook promotion and Twitter Blue) 
    • Printing of wayfinding signage: $15 per event 
    • Extra - MU screens for 1 week: $100
    • Extra - ad in Iowa State Daily: $60

Additional Costs for events with student organizations

  • Dinner with speakers: $150
  • Private reception with speaker: $200
  • Hotel: $100/night
  • Meals and incidentals  for speaker: per diem: $50/day


Publicity Assistance

Student organizations and university units that do not require financial assistance for a lecture may still request cosponsorship from the Lectures Series to help publicize an event. The Committee on Lectures considers requests for the following two types of publicity:

Electronic-only - A posting of the event on the Lectures Series website and the university's online calendar as well as inclusion on an electronic schedule of events distributed to faculty, staff, community members, and central Iowa media.

Full publicity - Posting of the event on the Lectures Series website, which feeds into the university's online calendar; inclusion of the lecture on an electronic schedule of events distributed to faculty, staff, community members, and central Iowa media; social media posts; and, when appropriate, inclusion on the Memorial Union marquee. Requests for assistance publicizing an event should be requested using the online application.