WQ 14'-15' Contracts & Your Event

A guide to help you get the jump on contracts for your event

Getting started...

Planning an event with contracts doesn't have to be daunting. Our best advice is to start early! There are a lot of pieces to getting contracts passed through Seattle University's system that may require time. You should give yourself about 4 weeks minimum to start and finish this process.

Below you'll find some important information about contract processing and payment. As always, if you have questions, please feel free to stop by or email us using the contact information below.

Contracting Process

Planning your event may involve negotiating through a contract process. This includes a verbal and/or written agreement between two groups on payment for a service provided. In many cases for clubs, this may look like a performer, speaker, MC, or some other artist who you’d pay to bring to your event. Student Activities is here to help you navigate through these steps so please feel free to contact us for questions.

A few notes before you begin:

  • Contracts for lighting, sound, chair/table rentals, and other needs for your event space should be negotiated through CES. Work with your CES representative to start the process for any of these or for questions about event space needs.
  • Be careful not to agree to something before you see a written contract. Sometimes agreeing verbally can lead to your club having to pay for something that you had not intended to actually follow through on. Be clear with your contact that you cannot agree to something before seeing the written contract.
  • Note: If your artist does not have a contract, contact Student Activities for a sample contract.
  • Give yourself time to complete this process. There are complex steps that exist behind the scenes that may slow the process down.
  • Be detail oriented and make sure to follow each step completely.

Steps to complete a contract

  • As you are event planning, determine possible needs for contracts. Will you be looking for a band, DJ, speaker, MC, or some type of artist that will add something special to your event? Chances are you may need to agree via a contract.
  • Talk with possible artists to determine costs and other needs (e.g. technology, sound) that may need your club to provide. This may include an incurred cost for your club above and beyond what you are already providing.
  • o For example, a band may need your club to provide a certain level of sound equipment that you hadn’t planned on. Additional equipment can be contracted through your CES contact.
  • Remember not to agree to anything before you see a written contract.
  • Determine a cost for your artist’s performance/service.
  • Ask for a written contract.
  • This may be a good time to notify your artists/performer that they will need to provide additional information in order to be paid through the University. See the Independent Contractor/Honorarium Payment Request Form for reference (available online here). This form will need to filled out completely before it can be processed.
  • Do not bring the honorarium form to the Payroll Department like it says on the form. Bring it back to Student Activities.
  • Be sure to collect a W-9 form from your artist/performer.
  • Read the contract thoroughly and note areas that bring up questions or concerns for you.
  • Bring a copy of the contract to Student Activities for review and official signature. You should not sign on behalf of your club because you may be held personally responsible for payment.
  • Student Activities will process your contract with the Payroll Department.
  • The club is responsible for ensuring that the terms of the contract are completed, including the agreed to performance/service provided. If issues arise that you believe break the contract, confront the issue ASAP.


  • Payment for contracts is not available until after the service has been provided. Be sure to note this with your artist/performer when negotiating the contract. The Controller’s Office will most likely mail the payment directly to your artist/performer unless you request otherwise.
  • Make sure not to promise payment at the event or prior. The University will not pay for services prior or upfront.

As you can see, this can be a long process! Start early, give yourself some time to go through this process and you will be successful. Be sure to seek help from Student Activities if you have questions, comments, need someone to walk through the process with you.


What paperwork is required to pay someone?

There are a few forms you will need in order to complete the contract process:

  1. The contract. Generally, this documents the service, time duration, location and payment amount.
  2. The Independent Contractor/Honorarium Payment Request Form. See the link to the Controller's Office Forms above for a PDF version. This form will need to be filled in completely. You may need to work directly with the contractor (a.k.a. performer, service provider, etc) to get all of the information. Turn in this paperwork to Student Activities for processing, not to the Payroll Department like it says on the form.
  3. IRS W-9 Form. The University is required to report any payments to companies/individuals. The performer, artist, service provider, etc. will need to fill this out, sign it, and get it to you - originals only, no emails or FAX.

Why does this take so long?

Depending on the contract terms, your contract may have to be reviewed by multiple people (e.g. CES, legal) which may slow the process. Starting early helps to get these contracts through this process without you having to feel rushed.

What advice do you have to offer as I start this process?
Make sure to read through the contract yourself before you start the process. You may see things that raise red flags for you or your club. Contact Student Activities if you need help negotiating certain aspects of the contract.

What do I do if the person I want to hire doesn't have a contract?

Contact Student Activities for a sample contract and to discuss the necessary components.

Are there any services I don't have to use a contract for?

It depends. If you are using an outside company for additional sound, technology, rentals, or other rooms needs, CES will work with the vendor/contractor. If you are booking a speaker, performer, facilitator, MC, artist, etc., your club will need to use this contract process in order to get paid through the university.

When will the contracted person get the check?

The Controller's Office will only issue the check AFTER the contract terms have been fulfilled. This means they won't send the check until after your event.

Where can I get more information on how to plan a large-scale event?

Glad you asked! There is a PowerPoint on our website with all of the information you need to know! Here is the link to the PowerPoint: http://my.brainshark.com/Large-Scale-Event-Planning-739319490

Student Activities

Student Center 350 & 360

Thank you everyone! I hope you all have a great finals week, and hope that you find time to rest during Spring Break!


Kelsey Nerland

Graduate Coordinator of Student Activities Office