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Policy Regarding Use of the Oval

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The front entrance of Stanford University and the Oval.

The Oval is the official entrance to the Stanford University campus. Given its historic and aesthetic significance, Stanford University maintains this outdoor space and endeavors to balance preservation of its beauty and environmental integrity with activities that contribute to campus life.

Private Property

Stanford University is private property and the Oval represents a main doorway into the activities and work of the university: the Oval leads to academic departments, classrooms and other teaching and research spaces, including faculty, staff, and graduate student offices. Activities taking place on the Oval should contribute to and support the life of the university without compromising operations.

Pedestrian Zone

The Oval is considered a pedestrian zone. Appropriate use of its space includes walking, jogging, reflection, and other limited recreational use of the lawn area and internal walkways – such as picnics, playing frisbee, and informal sporting events – unless or until such use causes unreasonable obstructions or damages the landscaping or other property. Campus community members may use the Oval lawn for small-scale, low-impact group activities with fewer than 50 people. Activities are allowed if they do not require equipment installation or set-up (e.g. tables, chairs, a/v, volleyball nets or goals secured by stakes). Small pieces of equipment that are temporarily placed are allowed, such as portable soccer nets, spikeball game sets, etc.  

The Office of the President may approve special requests to use the Oval and the surrounding roadway for university-approved events related to community building and well-being, and intellectual exchange. White Plaza is the designated location for demonstrations, rallies, and dances. Weddings and memorials are not allowed in the Oval, but may take place in Stanford’s Memorial Church.

Prohibited Uses

Use of any grill/barbecue or open flame is prohibited on or around the Oval. Fireworks or the use of other incendiary devices represent a safety hazard to the area and are therefore prohibited. Amplified sound, including use of a bullhorn, that may hinder nearby university activities is also prohibited, with the exception of certain university-sponsored and officially regulated activities.


Only authorized Stanford service vehicles are permitted inside the Oval areas. The Oval does not provide public parking during business hours. Parking in the designated areas surrounding the Oval is allowed during regular business hours for vehicles with appropriate parking permits. Specific, limited vendor deliveries and special parking is allowed with permission.

Tour Buses

Commercial tour buses of any kind are strictly prohibited in the Oval at all times. Tour bus operators found in violation of Stanford parking policies on the Oval and/or failing to adhere to university tour bus policies will be cited and may be banned from Stanford property. Tour bus policies, protocols, parking locations, and fee information can be found on the Stanford Transportation website.


For more information regarding this policy, please contact the Office of Special Events & Protocol at 650-724-1387 or

The information on this website is meant as a general overview. Please be sure to read and understand the full policy documents for all of the policies that may apply to your event. Please also be sure to check for important announcements and updates that may impact events on campus. If you have questions, please contact us