A contract defines an agreement between the University of Chicago and another party providing services. It is a legal and binding document. As a student, you do not have the authority to commit the University to a contract, either verbally or in writing. You should present all proposed contracts to your Center for Leadership and Involvement advisor for a signature on your behalf. Your advisor may need time to work with other University offices before being able to sign a complex contract or may need another University official to be the signer. You may have personal liability for any contract you sign, and the University will not be able to help you resolve conflicts or litigation. This section of our website is designed to help you safely navigate the process of soliciting and entering contracts for your RSO.
Making a Bid or an Offer
A bid or offer may constitute a contract, so it is important to take care not to accidentally enter into an unauthorized agreement. These steps will help you protect yourself when making an offer.
- Gather Information - Collect information about potential vendors/speakers/performers, their availability, costs, and technical requirements (lights, sound, power needs, etc.)
- Review Alternatives - Review the information from each potential vendor you contacted and decide who you would like to use.
- Draft an Offer - In addition to performance fees or honoraria, it is important to consider what travel costs and technical/logistical costs you will be accountable for when selecting your bid amount. You also need to include information about dates you are able to accommodate an event. You should have confirmed reservations/holds for any locations/dates you offer.
- Review with your Advisor - it is important to send a draft of your bid to your advisor before you send the offer to the vendor. Your advisor will work with you to make sure nothing in your offer would constitute an obligation that you won't be able to deliver.
- Make your Offer - Once your advisor has approved your offer you are ready to submit it to your vendor.
Once an agreement has been reached with the vendor it is important to put it into writing in the contract. Please review the Payments page for more details on what other forms need to accompany the contract in order to issue payment.
Engagement Agreement - If you are working with a speaker or performer who does not have a standard contract, you can use the Center for Leadership and Involvement's Engagement Agreement, a generic contract template available in the Student Activities Center and in the Financial Forms section of this website. You should complete the information requested on the form and have your vendor sign it. Your Center for Leadership and Involvement advisor will sign on behalf of the University.
A Contract Drafted by your Vendor - If your vendor provides a contract you should bring it to your Center for Leadership and Involvement advisor as soon as possible. Together you can review any changes that need to be made and discuss any negotiation that will ensue. It is vital that you give your advisor as much time as possible to review a contract that is not the standard Engagement Agreement. In some cases, contracts may need to be approved by the University's Purchasing Office, a process that can take several weeks.