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As one with significant interest and some knowledge in the subfield of computer architecture, living reasonably close to a university, the idea of organizing and facilitating a discussion/reading group in this subject area came to mind.

Would a university be open to the use of its facilities for such an activity offered by someone with no official affiliation with the university?

(Holding such on-campus seems likely to be convenient for the most likely participants but such is not necessary.)

Also, what would be the best way to present such to faculty and students?


While I do not anticipate being ready to offer to organize such a group any time soon, such might be something to look forward to.

  • Corrections and additions to tags are quite welcome. (E.g., [outreach] seems questionable.) – Paul A. Clayton Aug 15 '15 at 1:35
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You'd probably want to find a contact on the campus to host you. They're going to want an employee or student organization to hold responsible if your reading group trashes their facilities.

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    That said, if you can find appropriate sponsorship, a lot of universities are quite happy to host related community events. – jakebeal Aug 15 '15 at 1:47
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    And the second part of the question ("what would be the best way to present such to faculty and students?")? – Paul A. Clayton Aug 15 '15 at 12:35
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Technically it may or may not be against the universities rules. You can almost certainly look these up online. The keywords may be calendar of regulations, and governance.

The rules/policies of a university, like many large organizations, can be very fragmented. For example, when researching around this question, I found that there were no rules at my university preventing members of the general public from attending lectures, so long as there were enough seats. Where as there is a rule forbidding any exercise or sports being carried out in any location on campus not specifically assigned for such activities by the vice-chancellor (or his direct delegate). While the rules might not formally exist though, they may come under a internal "common law", where there is precedent for throwing randoms off campus etc.

With that said, on a practical basis there is likely little anyone can do about it, or even detect it, if you turned up in a common space (eg a collaborative study area in a library) and did what is practically collaborative study. So long as you didn't disturb anyone, they almost certainly won't take note, or care.

If your group has any alumni, or current students or staff of the university or of a university this one has a relationship with, that would aslo decrease the chance of anyone having issue.

If you don't want access to any restricted resources (like private rooms or projectors), it is probably easiest to ask forgiveness, than permission. If someone takes issue, they will most-likely just ask you to leave. Which of course you should do so quietly and politely.

  • My alma mater tended to not mind who was coming onto campus, except for two groups which received special attention - people who appeared to be homeless, and people trying to solicit sex on campus. The first group would usually be escorted off campus and told not to return for a certain amount of time (typically six months or a year) under threat of being charged with trespassing if they did return within the window. The second group would be arrested by campus police and charged and then also told not to return for a similar amount of time. – Columbia says Reinstate Monica Aug 14 '17 at 14:37
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Yeah for sure many universities allow, mainly if the subject is related and is helpful for both the students and university.

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What would be the best way to present such to faculty and students?

You can use physical bulletin boards and you can look around for one or more listserves.

You can attend some seminars and chat with some people afterwards over cookies. (If no one is bringing cookies to seminars -- bring some!)

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