Due to its historic relevance and architectural splendor, the Rackham Building is the preferred location for many events held on the U-M campus. The Rackham Facilities Office is committed to providing a safe, clean, well-functioning environment for all users of this magnificent venue. The following guidelines are designed to facilitate the fair allocation, efficient use, and uniform and consistent management of facilities within the Rackham Building.
The following guidelines apply to scheduling all facilities in the Rackham Building with the exception of the first floor Lecture Hall/Auditorium.
Rackham Auditorium is managed by University Productions. Please contact the University Productions Facilities Office at (734) 647-3327 or firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries regarding use of the Lecture Hall/Auditorium.)
Who May Schedule Events in the Rackham Building?
- University of Michigan student organizations
- University of Michigan units
- Administrative offices
- Non-University of Michigan organizations
- Current University of Michigan faculty, staff and Rackham graduate students
How to Schedule Events in the Rackham Building?
Space reservations may be requested through our website or by contacting the Rackham Facilities Office by phone at (734) 764-8572 or email at RackhamScheduling@umich.edu. Voicemail and email messages do not guarantee a reservation.
Events are scheduled in the order in which requests are received with consideration given to the size of the group, type of program, and space available.
Please provide the following information to reserve space in the Rackham Building. Due to high demand, the Facilities Office regrets that it is unable to reserve space without complete information at the time of reservation.
- Title of event
- Department, student organization, or organization’s name
- Type of event
- Contact person’s name, phone number and email address
- Rooms(s) requested
- Advertised event start time for each date (The Facilities Office will build in set up time.)
- Estimated event ending time for each date (The Facilities Office will build in clear out time.)
- ShortCode (For student organizations, this number starts with a 9.)
- Number of attendees expected?
- Will there be live music or a theatrical performance?
- Is the topic or speaker controversial? (e.g., has the topic or speaker drawn protestors or media coverage elsewhere? This does not prohibit booking but may require additional security.)
- Will refreshments be served?
- Will meals be served?
University units and student organizations must use a ShortCode to pay Room Use Fees.
Non-University organizations and University faculty, staff and Rackham graduate students hosting social events are required to pre-pay Room Use Fees by check or money order. Payment must be submitted with the signed contract. Please make checks payable to the University of Michigan.
All groups are asked to provide the name of the group’s designated contact person. To ensure the best service possible and reduce opportunities for miscommunication, the Facilities Office will work directly with the designated contact person as the sole person authorized to make changes to reservations or provide information to the Facilities Office.
If space is available for the date and time requested, the requesting group will receive an email Confirmation of Reservation. The Confirmation is a contract. Please double-check it for accuracy, sign and return it to the Facilities Office within three business days. Signed forms may be faxed to the Facilities Office at (734) 763-6622 or emailed to RackhamScheduling@umich.edu. Failure to return the contract on time may result in loss of the reservation. Once the contract is signed and returned, any changes will depend upon the availability of space. Please keep a copy of the Confirmation of Reservation.
A room may be placed on hold for two weeks. Groups requesting a two-week hold on a room will receive an email listing the space as “on hold.” Due to high demand for space in the Rackham Building, it is not possible to hold space for more than two weeks. Holds will be released after two weeks if not confirmed. If a room “on hold” is requested by another group for the same date, the Facilities Office will contact the group holding the room to either confirm the reservation or release the room within 48 hours.
Once a group with rooms on a two-week hold finalizes their event plans, they should contact the Facilities Office immediately to confirm the dates and rooms needed and release any outstanding holds. Once a hold is confirmed, the group will receive a Confirmation of Reservation to sign and return to the Facilities Office as described above.
Reservations are not final until a signed Confirmation of Reservation has been received by the Rackham Facilities Office.
Groups may use only the space reserved and for the purpose and time reserved as indicated on the Confirmation of Reservation. The Facilities Office may assign and, if necessary, reassign facilities to assure the maximum and most appropriate use of Rackham Building facilities. Groups will be notified of any necessary changes immediately. In the event of changes made within 24 hours of an event, the Facilities Office will post signs in the Rackham lobby, outside the originally scheduled room and other relevant locations to notify those attending or involved with the event of the change of location.
Groups may access a reserved room prior to the scheduled event start time to set up and after the scheduled event ending time to clear out event materials. If more time is needed, please contact the Facilities Office at RackhamScheduling@umich.edu. The room will be set up with tables and chairs as requested on the room set up form according to the following times:
30 minutes prior, 30 minutes after
60 minutes prior, 60 minutes after
East and West Conference Rooms
60 minutes prior, 60 minutes after
Earl Lewis Room
30 minutes prior, 30 minutes after
Same as scheduled event room
The 4th floor terrace is available for scheduling. Due to proximity of the terraces to the event rooms, use of the terrace requires also reserving the Assembly Hall and both the East and West Conference rooms. Appropriate Room Use Fees will apply for all rooms, but there is no extra charge for use of the terrace.
Room Characteristics and Capacities
Room capacities are posted online and are in accordance with State of Michigan Fire Codes and are approved by the University Fire Marshal.
- Amphitheatre, Fourth Floor
- Assembly Hall, Fourth Floor
- Earl Lewis Room, Third Floor
- East Conference Room, Fourth Floor
- West Conference Room, Fourth Floor
- West Study Hall South Alcove, Second Floor
Room Use Rates
The following categories are used to determine Room Use Rates for Rackham Building facilities:
- Student organizations registered with the Central Student Government
- University units
- Non-University organizations, current faculty, staff and Rackham students (for private events)
Room use rates are reviewed annually and are subject to change.
Overtime custodial charges apply to weekend events held in the Rackham Building. The Building Services prevailing wage (approximately $44/hour as of June 2019) will apply. There is a two hour minimum.
Special Event Types
Graduate students may reserve specific facilities in the Rackham Building for Oral Dissertation Defenses free of charge. If a committee member is calling in, a portable speaker phone is available for conference calls. Phone charges are the responsibility of the student. Please contact the Rackham Facilities Office for information regarding long distance calls.
Current U-M faculty, staff, and Rackham graduate students may reserve facilities in the Rackham Building for private social events such as birthday and anniversary parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, baby and wedding showers, and wedding rehearsal dinners.
In addition to the general scheduling policies outlined above, the following policies apply to student organizations.
To reserve facilities in the Rackham Building, a student organization must register first with the Central Student Government. Organizations can register online through the Central Student Government website and must provide the Facilities Office with a ShortCode issued by the Student Organizations Accounting Service (SOAS) starting with the number 9 to reserve space. Because the Facilities Office is unable to process reservations without the ShortCode, no student organization can schedule Rackham facilities prior to registration with the SOAS.
Events held by undergraduate groups will be limited to banquets and academic events, such as seminars, conferences, symposia, and lectures. Only graduate student groups may hold social events.
Only Rackham-sponsored University-credit classes may be held in the Rackham Building. Because there is a limit on the number of classroom hours that can be scheduled in the building, preference is given to Rackham interdisciplinary courses.
All events must be canceled by the designated contact person listed on the Confirmation of Reservation.
All groups or event sponsors will be assessed the appropriate Room Use Fee for each room reserved (even if the scheduled room is not used) if the group fails to cancel a room reservation at least:
Amphitheatre and/or Assembly Hall
45 days prior to the scheduled event
All Other Rooms
14 days prior to the scheduled event
Failure to cancel a reservation more than once in an academic year may result in loss of the privilege of using Rackham Building facilities for up to one year. Groups will be responsible for charges incurred by the Rackham Graduate School due to an event cancellation.
Once a group has reserved space for an event, it is important for the group to become familiar with the following guidelines for holding events in the Rackham Building in order to ensure a successful event.
All individuals and groups using Rackham Building facilities must comply with published University and Rackham Building policies, regulations and guidelines, and all local, State and Federal laws intended to protect the life safety of building occupants and preserve the historic Rackham Building. Failure to comply more than once in an academic year may result in loss of the privilege of using Rackham Building facilities for up to one year.
The following policy applies to all groups serving alcohol in the Rackham Building. University departments, graduate student organizations, non-University non-profit organizations, and private social events may serve alcohol if the following requirements are met. Additional, more specific requirements (listed separately below) apply to graduate student organizations, non-University non-profit organizations, and private social events.
- The event is free of charge (There cannot be a charge or donation collected for ANY part of the event, such as a conference registration).
- The event is by invitation only (i.e., not open to the public).
- Cash bars or the sale of alcohol are not permitted, with the exception of Non-University Non-Profit Organizations (see below).
- No regular liquor inventory is kept.
- The event is monitored by a designated responsible host familiar with and responsible for ensuring compliance with Rackham, University, and State policies. The host must be in attendance and accessible to monitor general and specific levels of consumption, ensure that no one becomes intoxicated, and address problems that may arise.
- All servers of alcohol must be trained in techniques of alcohol management and certified by an alcohol server training program.
- Under no circumstances may alcohol be “self-serve.”
- Only beer, wine or champagne may be served. No other alcoholic beverages are permitted.
- Dinner or substantial snacks (high protein, low salt food, served in sufficient quantity to last the entire event) are served, and non-alcoholic alternatives are as readily available as alcoholic beverages.
- The group will submit a written request (template provided by the Rackham Facilities Office) to the Dean of the Graduate School requesting permission to serve alcohol. In accordance with the guidelines set forth by the University of Michigan’s Office of the General Counsel, a letter from a U-M unit must be signed by the appropriate University Vice-President, Dean, Chair or Senior University Officer or their delegate stating that the unit is aware of and approves the serving of alcohol at the event. (Note: This sign off is not required for graduate student organization, non-University non-profit organization or private social events.) Rackham will forward the letter to the Office of the Associate Vice President for Facilities and Operations.
Before serving alcohol at an event, servers may be asked to provide proof that they are a certified server.
University employees and graduate students are insured for claims made against them for any loss or damage resulting from University sponsored activities unless the loss or damage results from any willful misconduct or illegal activity.
Groups sponsoring functions at which alcohol will be served may be required to hire, at their expense, one University security guard per 100 guests to monitor the event. Guards must be present one-half hour before and one-half hour after the scheduled event times. The Facilities Office reserves the right to determine which events will require security guards.
In addition to the requirements above for serving alcohol, the following additional requirements apply to student groups.
Undergraduate Student Organizations
Undergraduate Student Organizations may not serve alcohol at events in the Rackham Building.
Graduate Student Organizations
- No one under the age of 21 may be admitted.
- Voluntary Student Organizations must provide a certificate of insurance evidencing host liquor liability insurance in the amount of one million dollars.
Non-University Non-Profit Organizations
The most convenient and preferred method for serving alcohol on University property is to do so in a licensed facility such as the Michigan League, the Michigan Union, Alumni Center, or Pierpont Commons. In addition to the requirements above for serving alcohol in the Rackham Building, the following additional requirements apply to non-University non-profit organizations.
If there is a charge to attend the event or a cash bar, a bona fide non-profit organization may apply to the State of Michigan Liquor Control Commission for a Special License. Please contact the Rackham Facilities representative for more information.
Private Social Events
The most convenient and preferred approach to serving alcohol on University property is to do so in a licensed facility such as the Michigan League, the Michigan Union, Alumni Center, or Pierpont Commons. In addition to the requirements above for serving alcohol in the Rackham Building, the following additional requirements apply to private social events.
The private party must provide to the University a certificate of insurance evidencing host liquor liability insurance in the amount of at least one million dollars.
Catering and Food
All caterers using the 4th or 2nd floor kitchens for food service must complete and return a signed Rackham Caterer’s Agreement. This does not apply to vendors who are simply dropping off food.
The Rackham Building 4th floor kitchen is licensed by the State of Michigan. The kitchen has a stove with a convection oven, dish machine, food disposal, refrigerator, freezer, ice machine and generous counter space.
In accordance with Michigan Food Law, groups sponsoring events that are open, or advertised, to the public must serve food prepared in a licensed kitchen (e.g., caterers, restaurants and grocery stores).
Groups can serve food that has been prepared ahead of time at home only at events that are open solely to their own members and/or guests.
By order of the Fire Marshal, only UL listed electric cooking and hot-holding equipment can be used in the Rackham 4th floor kitchen.
Propane and butane cannot be used in the Rackham Building at any time. Hotboxes and sterno are permitted.
Food and/or beverages may be served in only those areas approved by the Facilities Office in advance of an event. Food and/or beverages (with the exception of water bottles) are not permitted in the Amphitheatre at any time.
The Facilities Office does not have dishes or linens available. Arrangements for these items must be made through a caterer or be handled by the hosting group.
Caterers are responsible for returning the kitchen to its original condition after a catered event. Dishes left behind for pickup by a rental company must be run through the dish machine by the caterer and left in stacking trays. A caterer who leaves behind unwashed dishes will be responsible for all costs incurred by Rackham for cleanup and/or extermination of rodent and/or insect infestations caused by the unwashed dishes.
To best serve all Rackham Building users, the Facilities Office may need to reassign equipment or furniture. Groups and caterers will be notified of necessary changes immediately in order to provide as much lead time as possible to make arrangements to accommodate the changes.
The Facilities Office is unable to guarantee changes to equipment or furniture requests made less than two weeks prior to the event. Changes made after that time are the responsibility of the group sponsoring the event and/or their caterer. Facilities Office staff may not be available to perform equipment or furniture setups resulting from last minute changes by the sponsoring group and/or caterer.
Rental equipment delivery and pickup must be scheduled through the Facilities Office no later than two weeks prior to a scheduled event. Due to space limitations and the needs of other events, the Facilities Office cannot approve delivery of any equipment until a time that best meets the needs of the facility and all users. Groups sponsoring events are responsible for any costs incurred by the Rackham Graduate School for the removal of equipment not removed as agreed upon with the Facilities Office. Groups will also be charged the appropriate room rate for every day the equipment remains in the Rackham Building. Caterers and/or delivery companies who fail repeatedly to comply with this policy may not be approved to cater or support events in the Rackham Building.
The Rackham Graduate School is not responsible for missing or damaged rental equipment left behind for pickup.
Caterers may use the Rackham Building parking garage (entrance off East Huron St.) to drop off food for an event, but there is no parking for caterers in the Rackham garage. Caterers parked illegally in the U-M Gold Permit or handicapped spaces, the fire lane, or blocking legally parked cars will be towed at the expense of the owner. It is suggested that one person stay with the vehicle at all times.
The Rackham Building parking garage is managed by U-M Logistics, Transportation, and Parking. The Rackham Graduate School is not responsible for parking tickets issued to caterers, event staff, or guests that park illegally.
Groups scheduling events in Rackham Building facilities are responsible for any special clean-up, maintenance, or repair costs resulting from their event.
Decorations, Exhibits, and Displays
To ensure the life safety of facilities users and preserve the historic Rackham Building, the methods for placing decorations, exhibits, and displays are very limited and require advance approval by the Facilities Office. All arrangements must be made no later than two weeks prior to the event.
No tape, glue, tacks, nails or other methods of attachment are permitted on walls, doors, floors, ceilings, light fixtures, mirrors, draperies, curtains, glass, brass, woodwork or any painted or papered surface. Any damage caused by, or cleanup required from, failure to comply with this policy is the responsibility of the group sponsoring the event. The group will be charged for all repairs necessary including, but not limited to, re-plastering and re-painting. T-stands are available and may be requested.
To protect the historic exterior surfaces of the building, nothing may be posted on outside walls or doors of the Rackham Building. This includes, but is not limited to, banners, posters, signs, etc. Anything attached to the building in any manner will be removed.
Materials for display outside of the building must be free standing or mounted on an easel (or an appropriate substitute) and approved in advance by the Facilities Office in order to ensure safe exit from the building in case of emergency.
Doorways, hallways, corridors, staircases and fire exits cannot be blocked or obstructed at any time per State of Michigan Fire Law.
Light bulbs may not be placed where the heat from the bulbs might create a fire hazard.
Candles must be enclosed in glass tall enough to meet or exceed the height of the flame to prevent a fire hazard.
Candle table centerpieces must be non-flammable or constructed of fire resistant materials.
“Special effects” equipment, such as smoke, fog, and fire machines are prohibited.
Signs, banners and displays made with flammable materials can be used only where no danger of fire exists, as approved by the Facilities Office.
Confetti, rice, and similar materials may not be used in Rackham.
Live evergreen trees are permitted if they are balled, burlaped and watered. Cut evergreens are not permitted in any form.
Special requests for decorations, exhibits, or displays beyond those described above must be approved by the Facilities Office in advance.
Groups utilizing decorations, exhibits or displays are responsible for both installation and removal. This includes balloons and floral arrangements. All setup and teardown of decorations, exhibits or displays must occur within the time frame of the original reservation unless other arrangements are approved by the Facilities Office. If it becomes necessary for the Facilities Office to remove materials left by a group, the sponsoring organization will be billed for all costs of removal. Materials left by a group without prior arrangement with the Facilities Office will be disposed of.
The Rackham Graduate School is not responsible for loss of any materials of displays, gifts, favors or other items left in the building.
Deliveries may be made in the Rackham Building parking garage (entrance off East Huron Street). No parking is available in the Rackham garage. However, materials may be unloaded into the lower level lobby area and vehicles removed from the garage immediately before moving materials to the appropriate rooms. Hand carts are available in the lower level lobby for moving materials. Please return all carts to the lower level lobby immediately so others may use them.
Any vehicle left unattended or parked illegally in the U-M Gold Permit or handicapped spaces, the fire lane, or blocking legally parked cars will be ticketed and/or towed at the expense of the owner.
The Rackham Building parking garage is managed by University Parking and Transportation Services. The Rackham Graduate School is not responsible for parking tickets issued to event staff or guests that park illegally.
Equipment and Furniture
The Rackham Facilities Office has limited furniture and equipment available for use by groups scheduling events in the Rackham Building. Use of equipment is included in the Room Use Rates. Furniture or equipment needs beyond what is provided are the responsibility of the group sponsoring the event.
Available equipment includes:
- 60 inch round tables
- Various sizes of folding tables
- Stacking banquet chairs
- T-stands (for holding signage)
- Audio Visual equipment such as lecterns, projectors, and microphones
Please see the applicable room setup sheet for a complete list of available equipment.
Rackham does not provide table linens.
Requests for furniture and/or equipment must be submitted no later than two weeks prior to an event and are filled on a first come, first served basis. Requests submitted after the deadline cannot be guaranteed. Depending on prior commitments made to other groups, groups sponsoring events may need to rent furniture and/or equipment normally provided by Rackham.
Permanent furniture around the perimeter of the room (chairs, tables, sofas, etc.) may not be moved or removed.
Tables located outside the East and West Conference Rooms may not be moved from their permanent location and are for the use of groups sponsoring events in those rooms only.
Due to fire safety regulations, at no time may furniture from rooms be placed in hallways to clear a room for an event.
By order of the Fire Marshal, no additional furniture may be placed in the 2nd or 4th floor hallways other than the furniture assigned to these areas. This includes extra tables for food, handouts, nametags, etc. All furniture required for an event must be used inside the room in which the event is being held.
The Assembly Hall rugs and alcove tables may not be removed from the room at any time.
Lobby tables and benches may not be moved or removed at any time. Additional tables may be set up in the Lobby in designated locations only. Contact the Facilities Office for details.
Event Storage Space
Due to space limitations, there is no storage space for event materials in the Rackham Building. No event materials may be delivered to the building until the day of a scheduled event. Materials left behind following an event will be disposed of immediately. Groups that leave materials behind may be charged for the cost of removal.
Rackham staff are unable to sign for deliveries made to the Rackham Building on behalf of groups sponsoring events. This includes, but is not limited to, conference materials, furniture, audio-visual equipment, flowers, etc. Facilities Office staff are not available to unload deliveries and are not responsible for deliveries made to the Rackham Building.
The Rackham Graduate School is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged property belonging to users of the facilities.
Non-university renters and current faculty, staff and Rackham graduate student renters must provide to the University a certificate of insurance evidencing general liability insurance ($1 million per occurrence/$2 million annual aggregate) and naming the Regents of the University of Michigan as additional insured. Renters must give the University thirty (30) days prior written notice of any reduction in limits or cancellation of insurance. Contact the Facilities Office with questions.
If you are serving alcohol, please refer to the Alcohol section for information regarding Liquor Liability Insurance. “Host liquor liability is included” must be stated in the notes section of the certificate of insurance.
Safety and Security
The Facilities Office reserves the right to require fire, police or other security personnel for events held in the Rackham Building based on the time, place, type of event, number and conduct of participants.
Published room capacities are in accordance with State of Michigan Fire Codes and have been approved by the University Fire Marshal.
- Amphitheatre, Fourth Floor
- Assembly Hall, Fourth Floor
- Earl Lewis Room, Third Floor
- East Conference Room, Fourth Floor
- West Conference Room, Fourth Floor
- West Study Hall South Alcove, Second Floor
The University reserves the right to refuse further admittance to events once the approved room capacity is reached. Groups must provide one person to monitor each event room door if an event is near capacity.
Security personnel may also be provided at the request of the sponsoring group. Requests for security personnel must be made at least 28 days prior to the event. Security cannot be guaranteed if requested less than 28 days in advance.
The Facilities Office will arrange for security personnel; the group sponsoring the event will be responsible for security costs.
Events requiring security coverage cannot take place if adequate security is unavailable.
Sales, Solicitations, Donations, Raffles
Sales of goods are permitted in Rackham only as part of a legitimate fund raising activity of a student organization or University department. All profits generated by a sale conducted in the Rackham Building must be used for the activities of the sponsoring group or their publicly stated cause, e.g., a charitable organization. (Please note: Book sales in conjunction with events held in the Rackham Building are the sole permissible exception.)
The sale of food or beverage is prohibited in the Rackham Building.
The collection of donations, both monetary and material, or solicitation of pledges is prohibited in University auditoriums and lecture rooms.
Raffles require a permit from the State Lottery Commission Charitable Gaming Division. The sale of raffle tickets is prohibited on University property without express written permission.
Failure to comply with these guidelines, or to pay a debt legitimately owed to the Rackham Graduate School that results from a scheduled event within 30 days of receipt of the bill, may result in one or both of the following:
- Written warning and assessment of any costs incurred by the Rackham Graduate School due to the scheduled event
- Loss of the privilege of using facilities in the Rackham Building for up to one year following a second violation in the same academic year (September – August)
Rackham Facilities Office
0510 Rackham Building
915 E. Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070
Phone: (734) 764-8572
Fax: (734) 763-6622