Grad Grounds Application, Sites & Fees

Grad Grounds Application, Sites & Fees

Click here to submit your Grad Grounds Application

What you will need as you submit your application:

  1. Have your Student ID#?
  2. Applying as an Individual or Group (choose only one).
  3. Provide your name as it appears on your Commencement Registration; only Undergrads eligible to participate in Commencement may participate in Grad Grounds on Saturday, May 25th.
  4. Select your first, second, and third choice.
  5. Check your email for instructions; they will be sent by March 29th with your tentative plot assignment.

How Do Undergrads Apply?

  • Decide whether you will apply as an individual or as a group of graduates (undergraduates only are eligible to apply). If applying as a group, you need to assign one person in your group as the main contact who will be responsible for the application, gathering the payment from the group, and collecting and submitting all necessary paperwork. The maximum number for one group is six graduates. See group size guidelines. Be sure to take a look at the site location photos online or in-person before selecting a location. 
  • This is a contract between undergraduates and Saint Mary’s College of California, therefore, only SMC students are eligible to apply and complete the paperwork, not family members. 
  • Attend the Grad Grounds Showcase on March 7, 2024 to meet caterers, vendors, photographers and more information from Meetings, Events, & Conference Services. 
  • This is an undergraduate celebration only on Saturday, May 25, 2024. Graduate students are not eligible to have a Grad Ground, but they are eligible to attend the reception on Chapel Lawn Sunday, May 26, 2024.  

Complete the online application available 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. 

Once the application has been submitted, you will not be allowed to change your site preferences nor add people to your group. 

The online application will close on Thursday, March 21st at 5:00 p.m. The Office of Meetings, Events, and Conference Services will be sending receipt of application confirmation emails to group leaders by Friday, March 29, 2024. Please note: your reservation is not guaranteed until you submit all required documents and fees.

Click here for post commencement site guidelines, fees, and to complete the required documents. The final day to submit completed documents and payment is Friday, April 12, 2024 by 4:30 p.m.  If you miss the deadline, your reservation will be cancelled.

Undergraduates will receive notice of confirmed reception site locations no later than April 26, 2024.

Application will be available Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at 8:00 a.m. 


Site Assignments

Reception site assignments are not guaranteed until all of the following documents are electronically signed and submitted to the grad grounds email with site fees: 

  1. Facility Use Agreement
  2. Certificate of Liability Insurance
  3. Alcohol Responsibility Form
  4. Site Policy Acknowledgement
  5. Catering Vendor Agreement

Final assignments will be posted online no later than April 26, 2024.

Reception Group/Site Sizes

Each location area is limited to a designated number of reception sites.  See Site Locations for capacities.

Each designated reception site has an established maximum number of guests that can be accommodated. Group sites max out at six graduates.  Each graduate is provided an approximate 25' x 25' space and is allowed a maximum 15 guests.

Multiple reception sites are designated in each location, so keep in mind the areas are shared with other groups. 

Reception Site Fees

The range for participating is between $125.00- $200.00 per graduate based on "plot" size and location.

Catering Vendor On-site fee is $50.00 per group (if applicable).

All fees must be submitted as one payment including: site fees, certificate of liability insurance fee, and catering vendor fee (if applicable) through the online payment form via credit card or e-check. Online payment information is provided after applications are submitted. DO NOT pay through GaelXpress; cash or checks will not be accepted. 

All fees are due by Friday, April 12, 2024 by 4:30 p.m.

Reception site fees are applied to the costs associated with preparing the campus (i.e., portable restrooms, trash cans, chalking designated sites, etc.). Since the Graduate & Professional Studies Commencement is the following day; the campus must be returned to pristine condition overnight.

Insurance Information

Each group is required to provide the College with a Certificate of Insurance naming Saint Mary's College as additionally insured for $1,000,000.00. The rate for a one-day policy arranged by the College is $100.00 per reception group.  If purchasing through the College, include the additional $100 payment with your site fees.

All required documents and payment must be submitted online by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12th.

Questions? Contact Meetings, Events & Conference Services at

Important Dates

Thursday, March 7: Grad Grounds Showcase in the Soda Center from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tuesday, March 12: Online Applications for Grad Grounds open at 8 a.m.

Thursday, March 21: Online Applications Close at 5 p.m. (or sooner if all plots are reserved)

Thursday, March 28th: Grad Fair in the Soda Center from 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Friday, March 29: Receipt Confirmations (Tentative Assignments and links to Required Documents)

Friday, April 12th: DocuSign, Catering Information & Payment Deadline

Friday, April 26th: Grad Grounds Plot Assignments Posted 

Friday, May 24th at 12:00 p.m.: Undergrads can start setting up Grad Grounds plots

Saturday, May 25th after Commencement: Grad Grounds until 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 25th: 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Grad Grounds Clean Up