Special Events Task Force


The George Washington University (GW) hosts a number of large events throughout the academic year. These events primarily occur on the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon Campuses, and can range in size from less than 100 to more than 25,000 guests. Notable special events include Colonials Weekend in the fall, the GW Bonfire in the spring, Commencement on the National Mall at the end of each academic year, and many other annual and one-time events.

The safety of the GW Community is the highest priority. The GW Division of Safety and Operations (DSO) implemented the Special Events Task Force (SETF), comprised of key representatives from across university operations, to facilitate pre-event planning and ensure that campus operations are coordinated and appropriate to meet the needs of the event.

A special event is defined as any planned gathering that is significant to the university. Special events both on and off campus require coordination between multiple university offices, departments, and groups. The SETF ensures that event hosts and their vendors take necessary steps to protect health, life, and environmental safety during their event.

Concept of Operations

When event hosts expect to have more than 300 guests, or if there are several smaller events happening over a short period of time (e.g., three 100-person events over one weekend), the event needs to be reviewed by the SETF to begin the coordination process for event safety and security. If an event plans for any of the following, the event hosts must apply to the SETF regardless of the anticipated crowd size:

  • Open flames or pyrotechnics
  • Alcohol
  • Temporary structures constructed at the venue