Activity, Event & Travel Planning

Revised January 2016

An education that consists solely of class time and homework is an incomplete education, and Biola offers a wealth of opportunities for learning, growing, ministering, and playing that go well beyond the classroom. All students are encouraged to become involved in activities, events, and ministry and missions trips. In order to maintain the quality and safety of these programs and their participants, the following policies have been crafted.







General Guidelines

Disclaimers and releases

All students participating in Biola-sponsored events must consent to (and provide signature so acknowledging) the following statements:

A. Liability Release: In consideration of being permitted to participate in the activity on the specified date, in full recognition and appreciation of the dangers and hazards inherent in this activity including transportation to and from such activity, the student does hereby agree to assume all the risks and responsibilities surrounding my participation in the activity; and, further, does for themselves, their heirs, and personal representative(s) hereby defend, hold harmless, indemnify, release, and forever discharge BIOLA UNIVERSITY, INC. and all its trustees, officers, representatives, agents, and employees from and against any and all claims, demands, actions, or causes of action on account of damage to personal property, or personal injury, or death which may result from the student’s participation in the activity, and which result from causes beyond the control of, and without the fault or negligence of, BIOLA UNIVERSITY, INC., its trustees, officers, representatives, agents, or employees.

B. Medical Consent: The signing participant gives his/her consent to receive treatment for illness or injury, medication or immunization deemed advisable through the Biola University Health Service, and to make the necessary referrals to other facilities, if indicated. The participant further consents to any x-ray examination, laboratory test, anesthetic, medical or surgical diagnosis and hospital service that may be rendered under the general or special instruction of any licensed physician, whether such treatment or diagnosis or immunization is rendered at the office of the physician or at a licensed hospital or health department. It is understood that this consent authorizes the physician to exercise his/her best judgment as to what is best for the individual patient. This consent will remain effective throughout the duration of this event unless revoked in writing and delivered to Biola University.

C. Statement of Responsibility: Biola University has established guidelines for the conduct of the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and students. These guidelines also apply to non-students participating in Biola sponsored activities. Participants are expected to refrain from the use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, illegal drugs, the abuse of either prescription or non-prescription drugs or use of any substance with the intent of becoming impaired/intoxicated, and from gambling. Also, Biola does not allow social dancing at University-related or sponsored activities (any activity that involves an identifiable University group, is publicized on campus, and/or has the appearance of being University-related, whether held on or off campus). Further, they are expected to use discernment to abstain from activities that are morally degrading; this includes movies and television programs viewed and other entertainment, recreational, and social activities.

Responsibilities of the Advisor

A. Every Biola-sponsored event or trip must have an Advisor.

B. The Advisor (the faculty, chairperson or staff member directing the activity) must be on the payroll of the university as an 01 or 02 employee, either part-time or full-time. No students may be advisors. The choice and selection of an advisor is usually based on the initiative of the student leaders, program requirements or the department chair/director.

C. The Advisor is ultimately responsible for the completion, accuracy, and submission of all official forms, such as the Student Activity Log. Student leaders may assist but they may not assume final responsibility.

D. Responsibilities of the Advisor include an active participation in training and team development; supervision of the group and the student leaders (if any), including administrative support; and development and implementation of emergency procedures. Ideally, the Advisor accompanies the team on the trip; at minimum, he/she must be accessible for the duration of the trip for communication and emergency needs.

E. The Advisor should maintain a team roster and have a completed copy of the Student Activity log along with a current itinerary (if the group is traveling).

F. Advisors or administrative staff involved in the coordination of student activities should be trained in the procedures and use of the Student Activity Log by their respective departments before they are required to use the forms.

On-Campus Events

Within the University mission of providing a well-rounded, biblically centered education, "equipping men and women in mind and spirit to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ," it is important to foster an overall sense of well-being by maintaining positive university-student relations and university-public relations. A key factor in this goal is the careful coordination of university co-curricular and externally sponsored events, to avoid scheduling conflicts that may take a variety of forms (see following: "What if there are problems with a proposed event?")

The Public Events Board (PEB), in cooperation with the Campus Coordinator, is responsible for the approval of all proposed events at Biola University. Proposed events are examined and screened in light of the university mission and calendar. No event may be confirmed and scheduled without the approval of the Public Events Board and the Campus Coordinator. The Public Events Board is appointed by and reports to the University Provost.

University Events Scheduling Policy

Background: The number, variety, scope and complexity of events occurring on the Biola University campus increases significantly each year. In order to maximize the success of these events, foster cooperation, resolve conflicts and enhance our overall professionalism, a basic system of coordination and scheduling is imperative. This responsibility is delegated to the Public Events Board (PEB), working in concert with the Campus Coordinator, under a mandate from the Office of the Provost. This document explains the policies and procedures pertaining to events and their scheduling.

What is an "Event"? An "event" is any University-related or University-sponsored activity, on or off campus, that uses University facilities, equipment and/or set-up services, and/or promotional materials. If you have questions regarding what constitutes an "event" requiring approval, please call the Campus Coordinator at ext. 5816.

Scheduling an Event

Any office, individual, group, or organization planning an event or meeting must submit a scheduling request to Campus Coordination via 25Live.

Undergraduate students who are not affiliated with a department, club, or organization may submit a "Request for SGA Sponsorship" to have Biola’s Student Government Association submit a scheduling request on their behalf, upon approval from the SGA Advisor. This form can be turned in at the SGA Office in the Upper Student Union building.

Events that may be interpreted as a rally, demonstration, march, silent vigil, peaceful assembly, or other such forum may be subject to additional approval through this handbook’s public expression policy. Individual students or groups of students submitting requests for such events may be contacted by the Dean of Students or his/her designee for additional approval. Events that are political in nature are subject to the political activity policy in this handbook.

All events/meetings submitted to Campus Coordination are subject to Public Events Board review and approval. Do not publicize your event or make reservations or other commitments before receiving PEB approval.

Should events take place without submission of a Campus Coordination request, the students or sponsoring organization may be asked to disperse or face school discipline as outlined in this handbook.

Adequate lead time and specific, detailed setup instructions are required. Requests for event setups are to be submitted to Campus Coordination at least three (3) weeks prior to the event (significantly more lead time suggested for larger events). NOTE: There is a $50 late fee any initial setup requests made less than three weeks before your event. Requests are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

After Public Events Board review, you will be notified in a timely manner of your event’s approval or of other decisions regarding your request.

What if there are Problems with a Proposed Event?

Challenges with proposed events generally fall into four categories: (1) the venue for the proposed event is already reserved on that date/time by another group for their event; (2) the setup, parking or sound of the proposed event may potentially detract from a scheduled event; (3) the proposed event may potentially create an unmanageable workload for Facilities Services or Campus Safety in terms of setup or security, due to other already-scheduled events on campus; and, (4) the proposed event presents a perceived challenge within context of the mission and/or philosophy of the University.

If a proposed event presents challenges within the context of the University's events schedule and plan, the PEB may suggest either relocation or rescheduling of the event, or encourage its modification. If the proposed event presents a perceived challenge within the context of the University mission, the Board may defer this event to the Provost’s Office with recommendation for disapproval. In such cases, the PEB’s recommendation may be appealed directly to the Provost.

In all decisions, the PEB will keep in mind the need to build relationships within the Biola community and will make its decisions with the success of each event in mind. An unsuccessful event is detrimental to our internal and external public relations.

After the event is approved

A. After you receive a confirmation e-mail from Campus Coordination, you may update your set-up and logistical needs, if necessary.

B. The actual setup of tables, chairs, sound systems, special room arrangements, window black-outs, etc., is performed by personnel of the University's Facilities Services department but must be requested through Campus Coordination. For liability reasons, students and other staff are not allowed to do setups.

C. Late or "last minute" changes in setup requests can be difficult to accommodate. Such requests should be made no later than one (1) week prior to the event. The request(s) are to be made in the same manner as outlined in "Setup Requirements," above.

Important and helpful tips

A. Event and facilities reservation requests are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Requests for facilities are often made months in advance. Wherever possible, academic departments, University departments, and student groups are encouraged to submit their event requests for the following academic year no later than 6 months before the date of the proposed event.

B. Events requiring the use of the gym are subject to its availability. Athletic contests will receive priority even if the event is not on the master calendar.

C. University resources of tables, chairs and AV equipment are limited and are handled on a first-come, first-served basis.

D. The safety and protection of the Biola community and its guests are of the utmost importance. Please note that you may be required to have Campus Safety officers assigned to cover your event. Any questions or concerns related to officer support at an event should be directed to the Campus Safety Administrative Office at x 4877.

E. "Traditional Events" receive "calendar priority."

1. What is a "Traditional Event"? Biola University is committed to the development of the whole person in all its programs. Certain annual cultural, social and co-curricular events are considered to be of such value and significance in the life and history of the University that they are accorded special status. These events are called "Traditional Events." Traditional Events usually involve a large segment of the campus community, but do not necessarily appear on the Academic Calendar. Most Traditional Events have at least a ten-year annual history at the University. Current Traditional Events are listed below.

2. What is “calendar priority”?

a. Traditional Events are de facto on the University Events Schedule. When these events occur on their normal dates, a scheduling request is unnecessary. (Equipment set-up requests are still required, however, and can be made through the Campus Coordination e-mail icon.)

b. Other events may be scheduled concurrently with a Traditional Event. However, such concurrent scheduling may be the exception rather than the rule. As specified in the University Event Scheduling Policy, any event scheduled on the same date and time as a Traditional Event must be approved by the Public Events Board.

c. If the date(s) of a Traditional Event needs to be changed, the event planner must submit an event scheduling request, to coordinate the preferred new date(s) with calendar availability.

The following are Biola University Traditional Events:
Traditional Events
Traditional Dates Event Coordinator
Fall Student Orientation Activities Friday prior to week classes begin Student Development
Parents Opening Day Luncheon Saturday prior to week classes begin Parent Relations
Art Gallery Openings 1st Tuesday of each month Art Department
Athletic Contests Per each sport's conference schedule Athletics
Parent/ Family Weekend 2nd weekend of October Alumni/ Parent Relations
Torrey Conference 3rd week of October Assoc Dean Spiritual Form.
Lyman Stewart Lectures Last Tues. and Thurs. of October Talbot
University Day 1st Thurs.-Sat. of December Admissions
Christmas Tree Lighting 1st Friday of December Alumni Relations
Fall Commencement Third Week of December (M-F) University Events
Homecoming (Biola Week) 3rd Fri. or Sat. of February Alumni/Athletics/A.S.
Nursing Commitment Ceremony 2nd Saturday of March Nursing Department
Missions Conference 3rd week of March Student Missionary Union
ACSI Science Fair 4th Fri. in March (unless good Fri.) Science Department
Spring Banquet 3rd Friday after Spring Break Student Relations
Major Works Concert 2nd Saturday in May Music Department
Graduation Banquets 3rd Fri. in May/ 2nd Fri. in Dec. Alumni Relations
Spring Commencement Full week prior & last Sat. in May University Events

[Some additional Music Concert Series events are considered traditional in nature, but the annual dates cannot be specified with certainty. These selected events will have the same calendar priority as other traditional events as the Music Department specifies their dates.]

Travel Policies and Approval Protocol

In the interest of preserving students’ safety and security, students on Biola-sponsored activities are not permitted to travel to locations for which the US Department of State has issued Travel Warnings (available at Further, students are not permitted to travel to locations that Biola University, through MARC (the Missions Assessment and Review Committee), designates as dangerous. Students who travel to proscribed locations will be considered to be in violation of university policy and therefore subject to discipline and sanctions, including disqualification from future Biola-sponsored international travel.

Protocol for Trip Approval

A. MARC will provide current short-term mission (STM) guidelines and a proposal format to the Student Missionary Union (SMU) each spring after the new SMU staff is hired. All Proposals must include the following information:

  1. Team leader’s name and phone number
  2. Names of any faculty or staff advisors or leaders that will accompany the team
  3. Advisor’s name and phone number
  4. Location of the trip including specific detail as to the cities that will be visited
  5. Sponsoring agency including address, phone number, and name of a contact person at both the agency and on site at the ministry location
  6. A list of intended activities (e.g., street evangelism, teaching children, conducting worship, building projects, etc.)
  7. Initial fundraising plan
  8. A list of potential difficulties that the team might encounter (eg. Language barriers, hostility toward foreigners, remote location, lack of certain resources, etc.)
  9. A corresponding list of potential steps to be taken to manage the recognized concerns

B. MARC will receive and review all proposals for SMU sponsored STM teams. Proposals must be received no later than September 30th for Interterm trips, November 30th for Spring Break trips, or February 28th for Summer trips.

C. MARC may consult the Liability Task Force regarding legal or liability issues related to a STM.

D. MARC will either deny, return a proposal for revision or issue an initial approval for the proposed team within two weeks of submission.

E. Non-approved teams may resubmit proposals after the requested revisions are made.

F. A copy of each approved proposal will be forwarded to the supervising dean and to the Provost.

G. MARC will facilitate the education of SMU and other STM sponsors on the Biola University campus by requiring

1. One individual from each team to take INCS 470, Short Term Mission Leadership, or be involved in an alternative form of training.

2. Each team leader to attend a Fundraising training session sponsored by the Department of Development before their fundraising may begin.

H. MARC maintains the authority to either disapprove or cancel a STM if deemed in the best interest of the University. Reasons for disapproval or cancellation may include but are not limited to:

1. Lack of responsible leadership on the part of the team by not adhering to general timeline.

2. An incomplete Student Activity Log

3. Loss of a team advisor

4. Lack of financial support

5. Loss of a sponsoring agency

6. World unrest determined to be a potential threat in the proposed STM location

7. Current State Department Advisory statements.

8. Any circumstance that may place the university at undue risk.

I. MARC maintains the authority to recall an STM from the field if deemed in the best interest of the University. Reasons for recall of a team may include but are not limited to:

1. Loss of a sponsoring agency

2. World unrest determined to be a potential threat in the STM location

3. Current State Department Advisory statements.

4. Any circumstance that may place the university at undue risk as determined by MARC in consultation with the Liability Task Force.

Budgetary policies

A. All funds must be secured prior to departure. Biola University does not extend financing to STM teams.

B. If a cash advance is requested, the individual requesting the advance becomes responsible for the funds. Final check request(s) may be submitted no later than 1 week before departure date.

C. Completed expense report(s), along with complete set of receipts and any unspent cash, are to be submitted no later than 2 weeks after the ending date of the STM. Failure to submit a complete and accurate expense report in a timely manner may result in financial obligation and/or disciplinary action toward the student.


A trip may included participants who are not Biola faculty, staff, or students, providing:

A. The participant agrees to abide by all regulations governing the trip, including the Biola Community standards.

B. The participant completes a Health Form. For international travel, the participant will obtain both an immunization consult and all required immunizations from his/her own health care provider. The Biola Health Center will not provide consults or immunizations for non-Biola participants.

Student Activity Logs

Student Activity Logs (SAL) are completed online here.

A. For Single-Day Trips (formerly known as SAL A):

  1. No budget or itinerary are necessary
  2. Participants are not required to submit the Student Health Form
  3. After receiving and processing the SAL, the Risk Management Assistant will send the trip leader a link to a liability release form – ALL participants must sign this release before engaging in the activity

B. For Multi-Day, Domestic Trips (formerly known as SAL B):

  1. There is no budget or itinerary necessary
  2. All participants must have a Student Health Form (single page) on file, as well as a copy of their current health insurance

a. Health Forms are only submitted once a school year, so please send a roster of participating students to – we will inform you if any of the students are missing any of this health information

3. After receiving and processing the SAL, the Risk Management Assistant will send the trip leader a link to a liability release form – ALL participants must sign this release before engaging in the activity

C. For International Trips (formerly known as SAL B):

  1. A budget must be submitted to the Risk Management Assistant
  2. A detailed itinerary must be submitted to the Risk Management Assistant
  3. All participants must have a Student Health Form (BOTH pages) on file.
    1. Health Forms are only submitted once a school year, so please send a roster of participating students to the RM Assistant—they will inform you which students need to fill out the entire Health Form and which only need the second (international) page
    2. All students should attach a copy of their passport to the Health Form as well
  4. After receiving and processing the SAL, the Risk Management Assistant will send the trip leader a link to a liability release form – ALL participants must sign this release before engaging in the activity

Once received, the SAL will be sent out for the appropriate signatures within the next 1-2 business days.

As submissions of Student Health Forms and Release Forms come in, the Risk Management Assistant will keep a record of them and send the team leader periodic updates. It is fully up to the team leader to ensure that all documents are signed and submitted in a timely fashion so as to allow everyone to participate.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to direct them to the Risk Management Assistant of the Risk Management Department at, who is the lead contact for anything regarding the processing of SALs. Review and approval of SALs for the Risk Management Department are handled by the Risk and Insurance Administrator and can be contacted directly at

Emergency & Communication Procedures

A. Purpose

1. Biola has university wide policy in place for steps to take in the event of an emergency or disaster. This policy is intended to standardize and make official specific steps that the Student Missionary Union (SMU) and its advisors will take so that news of the emergency can reach the proper university officials, who are then bound by the existing university policy to pass on information through the appropriate channels (including family members).

2. For the purposes of this policy, an emergency is understood to be a serious, unexpected occurrence or event that necessitates immediate action. Examples include: serious injury or death of a team member, civil unrest or war, natural disaster, stolen passport or money, physical or sexual assault of a team member, etc.

B. Preparation

1. SMU and/or its advisors will provide the Switchboard with a roster of all missions teams that will be sent out (e.g. all teams for Interterm, Spring, etc.).

a. The roster will include the names of the teams, the names of the team leaders, the dates of the trips, the name of the faculty advisors, the campus extension of the faculty advisor, and the home phone number of the faculty advisor.

b. The roster will also include a condensed version of the information below in the form of an easy to read flow chart.

c. The roster will be submitted to the Switchboard at least two weeks before the date of the first team’s departure.

2. SMU personnel are available for additional consultation. The SMU positions that would be most informed regarding the contents of this policy include: SMU Director of Logistics, SMU Director of Short-term Missions, SMU President.

C. In the event of an emergency with a team:

1. Team Members will contact the Team Leaders immediately.

a. The Team Leaders are responsible for the team as a whole and need to know what is taking place. Individual team members must follow these procedures and not act on their own (unless for extenuating circumstances the Team Leaders are not able to be contacted), otherwise communication might break down.

b. In the event that Team Members are not able to contact their Team Leaders, the Team Members will proceed onto the next step.

2. Team Leaders will contact their local Missionary Organization / Contact.

a. The local contact should be able to coordinate activities and communications to allow the team to receive emergency help or transportation to an emergency facility.

b. If the Team Leaders are not able to contact their local Missionary Organization/Contact, they will still proceed onto the next step.

3. The Team Leaders will then call the team’s Faculty Advisor.

a. The Faculty Advisor is the main communication hub for all messages going to or from teams in the field, and will coordinate necessary assistance.

The Faculty Advisor will also contact the Administrative Liaison for SMU regarding the emergency.

The Administrative Liaison for SMU will then contact the SMU Advisor and the SMU President regarding the emergency.

b. If the Team Leaders are not able to speak directly with the Faculty Advisor, then they are to leave a voicemail message with a phone number where the team may be contacted with the advisor and then move onto step 4.

4. If the Faculty Advisor is unavailable, then the Team Leaders will call Biola’s Switchboard.

a. The Switchboard is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take messages. The Switchboard serves as a liaison in case the Faculty Advisor is unavailable. The Switchboard will take down the nature of the emergency, the phone number, and contact information of the team.

b. The Switchboard will then attempt to contact the Faculty Advisor.

c. If the Faculty Advisor is still not available, then the Switchboard will leave a voicemail message for the Faculty Advisor and will move onto step 5.

5. If the Switchboard is unable to contact the Faculty Advisor, then the Switchboard will call the Administrative Liaison for SMU.

a. The Administrative Liaison for SMU will have all of the team’s information available will be able to coordinate communication and whatever actions might be necessary in the absence of the team’s Faculty Advisor.

b. If the Administrative Liaison for SMU is not available, then the Switchboard will leave a voicemail message and will move onto step 6.

6. If the Switchboard is unable to contact the Administrative Liaison for SMU, then the Switchboard will call the SMU Advisor.

a. The SMU Advisor will also have access to all of the team’s information and will similarly be able to coordinate communication and whatever actions might be necessary in the absence of the team’s Faculty Advisor.

b. If the SMU Advisor is not available, then the Switchboard will leave a voicemail message and will move onto step 7.

7. In the event that the Switchboard cannot contact any of the above personnel, the Switchboard will:

a. Wait for one of the above mentioned personnel to respond to the messages that were left by the Switchboard.

b. The Switchboard will immediately contact the Chief of Campus Safety for direction.

c. The Chief of Campus Safety may contact personnel as deemed necessary to handle the emergency, while keeping the following in mind:

SMU desires that the Switchboard serve as a liaison, but should not be placed in the awkward position of orchestrating emergency details with an unfamiliar team of students. It is desired that the responsibility for the coordination of communication between the team and university officials and family members should be handled by one of the previous mentioned personnel.

The Switchboard will abide by established university policy.

D. In the event that the team needs to be notified about an emergency at home (e.g. illness or death of a family member, serious logistical problems with the team’s support, etc..)

1. The Faculty Advisor will function as the main contact person and will coordinate communication and planning between the team and family members, university officials, etc.

a. The Faculty Advisor will also contact the Administrative Liaison for SMU regarding the emergency.

b. The Administrative Liaison for SMU will then contact the SMU Advisor and the SMU President regarding the emergency.

2. In the event that the Faculty Advisor is not available, the Administrative Liaison for SMU will function as the main contact person.

3. If the Administrative Liaison for SMU is not available, then the following people (presented in order) will temporally serve in this function:

a. SMU Advisor

4. The SMU Advisor will be contacted at the earliest possible time to be notified about the emergency.

E. Non-emergency communication

1. Non-emergency contact requests should be directed to the Faculty/Staff advisor or department chair. If a family member or concerned friend requires information regarding a specific program or student in a program, the Biola switchboard operator will direct all inquiries to the Advisor or department chair.

2. Inform caller (the family member or friend) that we will convey their message to the individual and ask them to return the call as soon as possible. Also explain that we are unable to release information at the present time.

No information pertaining to students over the age of 17 can legally be released to outside parties except in the case of an emergency. Information regarding students aged 17 and under can be released to parents or legal guardians only.

3. Relay the message to the Advisor or department chair.

4. Refer to the Student Activity Log to locate and contact the relevant student. The Advisor or chair should ensure that the caller receives a response within 24 hours if possible. The Advisor or chair will contact the student or group and facilitate their timely response as appropriate.

5. Direct any follow up phone calls from the family member or friend to the Advisor or chair.


For the well being of the students participating in a program, all immunizations required by the Health Center must be completed in order to participate in the event or trip. Immunizations may be obtained through other health care providers.

Biola Health Center requirements are based on information from the Centers for Disease Control. In the event of differences in recommendations between Biola Health Center and other Health Care providers, the Biola Health Center will take precedence.

An Advisor may petition to the appropriate Dean, on behalf of the team, for an exemption from required immunizations. The Dean shall consult with the Director of the Biola Health Center and the doctor in residence to determine whether these may be waived for the group. The Biola Health Center has the final decision-making authority whether the exemption may be granted. Individual student team members may not request exemptions directly from the Heath Center.

Immunization disclaimers and releases

  • The participant agrees to take full responsibility for the implementation of required immunizations. These immunizations are available at the Student Health Center, but may also be acquired through a private physician or clinic. Required immunizations must be completed one month before travel and the participant acknowledges that if he/she has not received the required immunizations within the required time, they will not be allowed to participate in the activity.
  • The participant also understands that, in planning to participate in this planned activity, there may be recommended immunizations for the activity. The participant will take full responsibility for their own decision to receive, or not receive, any of the recommended immunizations. Futher, the participant understands that refusing recommended immunizations or medications could result in serious medical illness. The participant will not hold Biola University or the Student Health Center responsible for contracting diseases, which could have been prevented through receiving recommended immunizations and/or prophylaxis for malaria.
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