Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

McDougal Center

Meeting Rooms

The McDougal Graduate Student Center provides rooms free of charge to members of the Yale community for events and gatherings that involve, serve or are organized directly by graduate students. Events sponsored by the offices of McDougal Center, the Graduate School and official graduate student organizations receive priority of assignment. Students requesting rooms should note that requests are addressed on a first-come, first-served basis. Undergraduates may not reserve McDougal Center rooms for their events or student groups. The Center reserves the right to limit room usage for departments or groups that fail to provide advance notice of canceled reservations.

Room Requests

Please request to reserve rooms using the online request form. From mid-August through the first week in September, most rooms will be reserved for Graduate School orientation events. The Center will begin accepting requests on Ocotber 1 for reservations during the fall term. Spring term requests will be accepted as of February 1.

Event coordinators interested in reserving a room should first review the information below regarding features and capacities of each room, equipment available through the Center, and policies for the appropriate use of the Center’s meeting rooms. After receiving a request, a member of the McDougal Center staff will confirm requests with the coordinators by phone or by e-mail within three working days. After receiving a confirmation of the space request, coordinators should meet with McDougal Center staff to review general guidelines for use of the Center and specific parameters of the event. The McDougal Center only provides space and facilities, not overall planning and supervision of student group events. The Center is not responsible for room setup or cleanup.

Room Features

HGS 119a and 119b Program Room. This room seats up to 100 guests and can be arranged in a variety of configurations with stackable chairs and up to fifteen six-foot folding tables for panelists, displays or food. There are two lecterns with integrated multi-media controls (projection screen, projector, laptop input, cable television, VCR, DVD/CD, digital document camera), podium and lapel microphones, and wired and wireless internet access. The room also contains whiteboards and room-darkening shades. Event organizers are encouraged to configure laptops for Yale internet use in advance of their events. The Center does not provide on-site tech support for users, but will provide basic training for use of this equipment in advance of events. A soundproof wall may be lowered to separate HGS 119 into two portions, each seating up to 50 guests with up to six tables. All features described above are available in both HGS 119A and HGS 119B.

HGS B48/50 Meeting Room. This room seats up to 35 and can be used for a variety of purposes. It is a great size for small meetings and presentations. There is a small dry erase board on one wall but there is no technology built into the room. You must provide your own projector and screen if needed. This room may be reserved in advance on an individual or recurring basis.

HGS B71 Music Room. The music practice room contains a regularly tuned upright piano, as well as stands and chairs suitable for small chamber and choral groups. The room may be reserved in advance on either an individual or recurring basis.

Common Room. The Common Room of the McDougal Center (HGS 165) may not be reserved for any function or event organized by a graduate student group or university department or for private social functions. As its name implies, it is a space for informal use by all members of the graduate student community whenever the Center is open. Informal groups of eight or fewer users, such as study groups, TF office hours, game tables or language tables, may gather in the Common Room providing that there is space available and their activities do not disrupt the other users of the Center. Occasionally, the Common Room is used for events sponsored by the Dean of the Graduate School or for McDougal Center programs open to all graduate students.

Room Use Policies

The McDougal Center reserves the right to deny requests made by any groups which do not adhere to its policies or guidelines.

Event Time and Duration

Events must take place entirely during the operating hours of the Center. Hours may be limited during breaks, recesses and summers.

Seating Capacities

Coordinators must review seating capacities of the rooms to avoid problems at the time of their events. The stated room capacities are enforced by the Fire Marshal and may not be exceeded. Chairs may not be moved between rooms at the McDougal Center. Rental of additional tables and chairs is not encouraged, as room capacities would be exceeded and there is no space to store rental furniture before and after use.

Event Coordinator

Each organization must designate one individual to serve as an event coordinator who will be the administrative contact and responsible person for all dealings with the Center. The coordinator must be present during the booked event to ensure that Center policies are observed.

Media Services Equipment

Equipment provided can be used on a self-service basis. Staff at the Center will train the coordinator to use the equipment by appointment prior to the scheduled event. Alternatively, the coordinator may contact Media and Technology Services at (203) 432-2650 and hire a trained staff member to operate the equipment at the organization’s expense.


Coordinators may arrange either for professional catering services or for self-service food from a vendor. For beverage and lunch service orders exceeding 20 guests, coordinators are encouraged to contact the HGS Dining Hall manager at (203) 432-0448, as this Yale-based department is familiar with the Center’s room layout and has a reliable record of properly setting up and cleaning up food services before and after events. This is particularly important, as the Center provides no facilities for food preparation, storage or dish washing. If an event is expected to run beyond 5:00 pm or takes place on a weekend, the organization should hire an attendant who will remove the food service immediately following the event. Catering equipment and dishware cannot be stored in the Center overnight.


If choosing to provide alcohol at their events held at the Center, all users should serve alcohol responsibly. Groups must follow all Connecticut state laws regarding the use and serving of alcohol. A 2006 CT state law now holds legally responsible those who serve alcohol to underage persons, even in private gatherings. Event organizers should have policies to prevent the serving of alcohol to those under 21 years of age. University Health Services provides general information regarding the responsible use of alcohol at events, including the importance of offering food and non-alcoholic beverages as well as hiring professional servers and bartenders for events where alcohol will be offered.

Pre-Event Set-Up and Room Use

The organization that requests the room is responsible entirely for setting up the room in advance of the event. The Center does not guarantee that the room will be set up in a particular format (e.g., lecture versus seminar style), nor does it provide room setup services. Users should build additional time into the start time of the room reservation when anticipating extensive preparation.

Please observe the following guidelines in room setup and use:

Wall signs. To affix any materials to the walls of the 119 room, use poster putty and never tape or glue to walls or wooden doors, not tape.

Door signs and posters. For event and direction signs outside Room 119, please use the metal hanging strips on doors and walls.

Office supplies and services. The Center does not have the resources to provide office supplies for events, so provide your own staples, copies, pens, batteries, etc. Center phones, faxes and copiers may NOT be used by groups.

Custodial Services. Contact HGS CS (203 432-6881) to request assistance.

General. Do not stand on furniture or tables, use only dry erase markers (available on boards or in HGS 124) on the whiteboards, and clean up any spills immediately.

Post-Event Clean-Up

The Center does not provide custodial services after events are held. Event organizers must complete their cleanup by the time their booking ends, as another group may be coming in immediately afterwards, and in time for Center closing. The event organizers are responsible entirely for restoring the room to its original condition immediately following the event, particularly observing the following rules:

Posters. Remove all posters, signs, handouts and displays associated with the event.

Trash. All garbage must bagged and placed outside HGS 119 in the large trash bins near the HGS restrooms; if a large amount of catering trash is expected, please use the dumpsters on the lower level of HGS near the Tower Parkway entrance. A McDougal staff member can direct organizers to the proper locations for trash disposal.
Equipment. Users should turn off and store all audio-visual equipment, and turn off the air conditioning if at the end of the night.

Windows. Close any windows that have been opened.

Doors. Users must also ensure that no guests of the event have propped open doors to the room or building.

Custodial Services. If the event is large or complex, coordinators should contact Custodial Services (203 432-6881) in advance to hire a cleaning crew at the organization’s expense.

Failure to cleanup. Organizations that fail to clean the room properly after their events will be billed for custodial services and may be denied future access to meeting space in the McDougal Center.

Building Access, Safety and Emergencies

For the safety and security of all users of HGS, please observe the following rules:

Door and Gate Access. General access to the McDougal Center is through the HGS Main Iron Gate at 320 York Street. Do not prop open any doors to HGS or to the McDougal Center. The HGS Gate is locked at approximately 7:00 pm each night. It has an electronic security system, using an ID card swipe reader for access. If an event requires access to HGS at or after this time, or on weekends, the coordinator should contact University Security (5-5555) in advance to inquire whether the Gate may be kept unlocked for the beginning of your event.

Restricted Access Areas. Event participants are restricted to the Center spaces and are not permitted to enter other areas of HGS, such as the residence hall, dining hall, the classrooms, or the administrative offices. Event organizers should oversee their guests.

Smoking and Fires. Yale is a non-smoking campus. Smoking is prohibited everywhere in the McDougal Center and throughout HGS. Guests may smoke outside in the HGS Courtyard as long as they are careful to dispose of their cigarettes properly in the bins provided. Open fires are prohibited in HGS. Candles are not permitted. Sterno fuel may be used for food warming, but open flames, high-heat food preparation ovens, and direct cooking are prohibited in Center spaces by room users. Fireplaces are strictly decorative, as alarms will sound if used.

Emergencies. If an emergency occurs during an event, the coordinator should contact the campus police at 111 immediately, and then notify the Center staff member or program assistant in HGS 124. If the fire alarm sounds, the group should exit the building immediately without using the elevators. Groups should assemble outside HGS on York Street or Tower Parkway (not in the courtyard) until they receive directions from emergency personnel.

Publicity and Inclusion

Events organized by graduate student groups or departments and held in the McDougal Center should be open to all members of the graduate student community, as well as to the Yale community in general when space is available. While events may focus on a particular subject or constituency (e.g., a history lecture or a women's group), these events should be open to all interested participants. A group may wish to use a reservation or RSVP system for its own planning, but if so, this should be prominently noted on all notices and public information Events held in the McDougal Center organized by student groups or departments generally should be free of charge to participants. Exceptions may be made for some conferences or fund-raising events held in the Center, which may charge a modest registration fee or “suggested donation.” Any proposed fees for events must be approved in advance by the Director of Student Life.

Coordinators are responsible for publicizing their own events. The location of events should be listed as “Room XXX, McDougal Center, Hall of Graduate Studies” with the street address of “320 York Street,” if necessary.

While the Center generally does not provide funds to defray the costs of events held here by student groups or departments, it does provide its facilities and equipment free of charge. This support can be acknowledged by listing the Center appropriately on any program or poster, such as “This event was made possible in part by the support of the McDougal Center.” No group or organization may use the McDougal Center's name in any other fashion without express permission in advance.