Grad Grounds Reception Guidelines

Grad Grounds Reception Guidelines Grad Grounds Reception Guidelines

Please read carefully, these guidelines are provided to help assist you with planning a successful and memorable event.

The College provides you with the physical reception site and a set of guidelines for the use of said site. 


All applicants must be a graduating undergraduate student in good standing. 

Group Size Guidelines

Each reception site is limited to a designated number of graduates.  For example, if a site location has 30 max guests, this means there is space for 2 graduates with 15 guests each (not including the graduate). For group sites, six graduates is the maximum totaling 90 guests.  See “Site Locations” for more information.

Multiple parties are often assigned to the same reception site. 


All graduates attending Grad Grounds on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at Saint Mary's College of California are held responsible for following all conditions outlined in your signed Facility Use Agreement, Site Policy Acknowledgement Form, Alcohol Responsibility Form and Catering Vendor Agreement.

The following guidelines and procedures must also be followed in addition to those stated in the Facility Use Agreement:

  • Set up for your reception cannot begin prior to 12:00pm on Friday, May 19, 2023. The College cannot guarantee the security of your reception site and/or any items (i.e., canopies, barbecues, tables, chairs, etc.) left on your site.
  • Catering vendors are allowed to set-up at a site location or a designated vendor location, the cost is $50.00 per student group. All catering vendors wishing to be on site the day of commencement must register with the Office of Meetings, Events, and Conference Services. Catering vendors that are not registered and set-up will be asked to leave.
  • Receptions cannot begin prior to the official conclusion of the Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 20, 2023, and must end by 4:00 pm that day. Failure to do so will result in a $150 fine for each graduate of the group, which will be applied to the graduate's account. Payment of the student account is required for receipt of transcripts and diploma. 
  • All reception furnishings must be removed by 6:00 pm on Saturday, May 20, 2023. You will be provided with a clean reception site for your graduation social. You are required to return the site to its original state. Failure to do so will result in a $150 fine for each graduate of the group, which will be applied to the graduate's account. Payment of the student account is required for receipt of transcripts and diploma. 
  • You are solely responsible for the contracting of vendors and/or caterers, reception provisions, site set-up, reception management and cleaning up your site. The College does not endorse or recommend any particular catering service and/or rental company.
  • All reception furnishings (i.e., canopies, tables, buffet tables, etc.) must be chosen carefully to fit within the confines of the space allotted to your reception.
  • If you need accessibility accommodations, please reach out to us at
  1. The College does not provide reception furnishings (tables, chairs, & canopies). Do not move any College equipment and/or furnishings from one campus area to another.
  2. If you are assigned an area with existing tables, BBQ equipment, chairs and/or other amenities, you are to divide them according to the number of groups assigned to that specific reception site. Please be considerate of each other.
  3. Only open canopies (no enclosed tents) are to be used.   If you are part of a large graduation group (i.e. 6 graduates) and are planning on having a canopy larger than 20’ X 20’ on your reception site, you must procure the proper permit from the Moraga Fire Department or your vendor. Canopies MAY NOT be spiked into the ground, you must use weights to keep them stable! Groups failing to do so will be asked to take the incorrectly secured canopy down immediately. Failure to do so will result in a $150 fine for each graduate of the group, which will be applied to the graduate's account. Payment of the student account is required for receipt of transcripts and diploma. 
  • You are responsible for adhering to California state law and College policy concerning the consumption, use and provision of alcohol to guests (and non-guests who stop by) at your graduation reception. No common-source of alcohol is permitted, including but not limited to party balls, beer bongs, kegs, cocktail machines, beer pong tables and ice sluices. Common-source of alcohol is also defined as a quantity of alcohol more than can be responsibly consumed by an individual. As outlined in the Alcohol Responsibility Form Addendum, No hard alcohol is allowed. Only wine, beer and champagne may be served and consumed.   NOTE: No beer pong tables and no ice luges are allowed on campus premises during post-graduation receptions, regardless of how they are used. Violation of the terms in the Alcohol Responsibility Form Addendum will result in immediate closure of the reception site and a $250.00 fine per graduate that will be applied to the student’s account. Payment of the student account is required for receipt of transcripts and diploma.
  • Do not add additional graduates to your reception group without prior written clearance from the Meetings, Events, and Conference Services office. Please be aware that the space you are assigned for your reception is largely decided by your original reception site request that takes into consideration the number of graduates in your group. The addition of another graduate also implies the addition of their guests and this could cramp the space you were originally allotted.

If you are coordinating a reception site for a number of your classmates, please be considerate of their needs and ability to participate in this reception as it is their celebration as well. Try to keep the celebration modest and the price reasonable.

You must plan your reception for the space you have been allotted through Meetings, Events, & Conference Services. You may not negotiate or enact a site change without the express written permission of the Meetings, Events, and Conference Services office. If you have the consent of another group to consider a relocation of your reception site (a trading of), you must both make a formal written request through Meetings, Events, & Conference Services. 

Congratulations on this momentous occasion and blessings on your future endeavors. If Meetings, Events, & Conference Services can be of further assistance to you in the planning of your post-commencement reception, please feel free to call us at ext. 4156 or email at Office hours are 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Grad Ground Important Dates

March 1st - Grad Fair from 9:00-4:00pm in the Soda Center 

March 8th - Online Applications for Grad Grounds open at 8:00am

March 15th - Online Applications Close at 4:30pm 

March 24th - Receipt Confirmations ( Tentative Assignments and links to Req Docs)

April 14th - All forms of Payment Due by 4:30pm 

April 21st - Assignments will be posted 

May 19th - Undergrads can start setting up for their Grad Grounds 

May 20th - Undergrad Commencement

Commencement Grads