Administrative Policies

AD27 Commercial Sales Activities at University Locations

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Barb Ettaro, 814-863-1030,

Policy Steward: 

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff



To set forth the responsibilities of the University in relation to, and the limitations of, commercial sales activities at all University locations.This Policy does not apply to the Nittany Lion Inn, Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, Beaver Stadium, Recreation Hall, or the Bryce Jordan Center.


The word "commercial sales," as used in this document, means any sales activity or event (excluding the sale of food or beverages) involving the transfer of goods or services for consideration. "Sampling" is the free distribution of a commercial product or souvenir for the purpose of promoting a product or service. For the sale of food and beverages, please see Policy AD26.


The use of University facilities and/or property for commercial sales activities by individuals or non-University organizations is prohibited.University organizations, within the limitations established by this policy and other University regulations, and with appropriate approval, may sell materials to support the purposes of their organization.

NOTE: For non-University groups or individuals, nothing in this Policy shall be deemed to preclude the solicitation or sale by mail, telephone or other commercial media.


No individual affiliated with the University (faculty, staff, technical-service, student or other) may use University facilities in the conduct of a commercial enterprise for his/her own benefit. The conducting of any business enterprise for personal profit is prohibited in or aroundUniversity property. (See also Policy and Rules for Students; and residence halls Terms, Conditions and Regulations.)


University organizations, subject to the restrictions below, and other applicable regulations established by the University, may sell materials to support the purposes of their organization and may collect dues, initiation fees, donations, and admission charges. These activities must be conducted by members of the organization itself. All monies from approved sales activities are to be used for the ongoing support of the organization's activities. The following restrictions apply:

  1. No University organization, in conducting sales activities, shall have the right to disturb or infringe upon the privacy of the residents of University residence halls (in their rooms, study lounges, dining halls, etc.), to disturb or interrupt the conduct of classes, extracurricular activities, or the ongoing operations of the University.
  2. Sales activities cannot be in direct conflict with the ongoing operations or interests of the University.
  3. All sales must be conducted by the sponsoring organizations. A member of the sponsoring organization must be present at all times during the sales activity.
  4. For sales conducted by student organizations, all funds and merchandise must be accounted for through Associated Student Activities (ASA). If the organization does not have an ASA account, one must be established for the event.
  5. Commercial liaisons between University organizations and off-campus agents must be articulated in a contract. Student organizations must use a standardized contract form supplied by ASA. Initial review of the contract will be done by the Associate Director of Student Activities with final approval given by the manager of the facility where the sale is to take place.
  6. Responsibility for the delivery of goods or services sold remains solely with the sponsoring organizations and their commercial partner, if any. A statement to that effect must appear in all announcements and advertisements.
  7. Additional restrictions may be placed on the sale because of the location chosen and other University contracts/agreements already in place. Commercial sales must conform with local policies of the sale site.

Within the context of a University-sponsored lecture, concert, demonstration, display, or exhibit, commercial products may be made available for demonstration, display or purchase. The availability of commercial products for purchase must be secondary to the primary educational purpose of the program, except as prohibited in University Residence Halls. (See Policy and Rules for Students.)


Sampling may be permitted in University hotels and conference centers, student unions, dining halls and sports venues. No alcohol or tobacco products will be permitted. Approval will be granted or denied based on the following criteria:

  1. Appropriateness to the mission of the University.
  2. Safety, maintenance and operational concerns.
  3. Method of distribution.
  4. Conflicts with existing contracts or ongoing operations of the University.


Approval for conducting commercial sales activities at all University locations must be obtained in advance. The procedure for requesting approval is as follows:

For University organizations (other than registered student organizations), requests for approval are submitted through the Office of Office of Strategic Communications at University Park. At other locations, the request is submitted to the chief executive officer at the respective campus/college location.

For registered student organizations, requests for approval are submitted to the Office of Student Activities at University Park. At other locations, the request is submitted to the appropriate campus/college Office of Student Affairs. Or, if the event is scheduled to be held within a residence hall facility, the request for approval must be submitted to the Director of Residence Life.

Approval to conduct sampling activities at all specified University facilities must be made in advance.

Requests for approval are submitted to the University Administrator responsible for the operations of the specific facility. The Administrator may set restrictions on the sampling activity such as time, place and manner of presentation. The vendor or company providing the sampled products will be responsible for all clean-up costs associated with the sampling activity in the facility and/or the surrounding area as determined by the facility administrator. Depending on the scope of the sampling activity, an advance deposit may be required.

After the request has been reviewed by the appropriate personnel, actions relative to approval will be issued in writing from the appropriate office. Copies of the approval and any related conditions must be retained by the approving office for at least four years. The University Release and Indemnification Agreement is also required (see the applicable instructions in GURU).


Except as permitted herein, no commercial poster, handbill, or any other form of commercial announcement or statement can be distributed on campus, be placed on, attached to, or written on any structure or natural feature of the campus such as the sides of doors or buildings, windows, the surface of walkways, or roads, fountains, posts, waste receptacles, trees or stakes, or posted on motor vehicles.

  1. Individuals and groups may post commercial announcements on the University's general purpose bulletin boards. (General purpose boards will be specifically labeled.)
  2. Commercial announcements and material can be distributed to student residents and University offices through the U. S. Postal Service.
  3. Distribution of commercial announcements and materials may be arranged through newspapers available at University locations, subject to the newspaper's policies and practices.


For the policy covering commercial advertising, please refer to Policy AD08.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of Strategic Communications.

Most Recent Changes:

  • April 20, 2018 - Editorial change to update links to the University Release and Indemnification Agreement instructions and form.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • August 21, 2014 - Editorial changes. In the PROCEDURE FOR REQUESTING APPROVAL, reference to the Office of University Relations have been changed to the Office of Strategic Communications. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.

  • February 8, 2005 - Editorial change - removed reference to General Forms Usage Guide.
  • August 31, 1998 - Added Beaver Stadium and Recreation Hall as exclusions under Purpose.
  • September 12, 1997 - Change the "Penn State Conference Center" to the "Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel."
  • December 2, 1996 - Added a number of restrictions to commercial sales activities by University organizations.
  • January 10, 1996 - Added the section SAMPLING ACTIVITIES.
  • September 19, 1994 - Allowed the demonstration and display of commercial products under certain circumstances.
  • July 29, 1993 - Title changes involving the Office of University Relations, the Office of Student Activities, and the Director of Residence Life.
  • May 2, 1998
    • Commercial sales activity restrictions expanded from University facilities to University property.
    • Recognized additional restrictions imposed on residence halls.
  • August 14, 1981 - New Policy.

Date Approved: 

August 31, 1998

Date Published: 

September 4, 1998

Effective Date: 

August 31, 1998