Frequently Asked Questions

Get all the answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the operation of our office and the services we provide.   

When Is GEMS Open?

Monday – Sunday: 8 am – 7 pm Full services are provided Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5:30 pm, when full-time staff are present. Limited services are available Monday – Friday after 5:30 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays.

How Are Requests Processed?

Requests are processed in the order that they are received. *During high volume times, requests may be processed chronologically by event date.

What Is The Processing Time?

Our estimated processing time is 3 to 10 business days, dependent on event components. Please plan accordingly and allow sufficient time for the coordination process. Anticipate a longer wait time during periods in which we receive a larger volume of requests, usually early April and the beginning of the academic year.

How Can I Make Changes To My Request?

Log on to your account at and click on “View My Requests”. On that page you are able to view the event status and make changes to your request.

What is the Latest Time I May Make Changes To Or Cancel My Event?

4 business days before the start of the event. This excludes weekends, university holidays, and/or emergency closings. Any changes made after 4 business days must be made directly to GEMS, either by emailing or calling the office at (202) 687-3726. You may incur a late fee of $50 if making changes associated with an event that is made after 4 business day window has passed. If you choose to cancel your event within 4 business days, you will be charged the full event cost.

When Do You Accept Requests For The Next Academic Year?

Because space on campus is limited, we stagger the times in which requests can be made. January 1 Requests for large, university-wide events (commencement, alumni reunion, etc.) March 1 Requests for all other internal events (first day of classes through commencement weekend). December 1 Requests for the upcoming summer (day after commencement through the last day of summer classes).

What Is The Difference In Statuses That Show Up On My Request?

Web Request: The request has not been processed. please wait 3-10 business days.

Unavailable: Someone reserved the space before you.

Pending Approval: There is something that needs approval from outside GEMS, therefore your event cannot be confirmed at this time.

On Hold: GEMS has had the opportunity to view your reservation, but not to process it. within a week you should receive some sort of correspondence regarding your event.

Confirmed: Congratulations! The space is yours and your event is approved.

Canceled: The space was either cancelled by GEMS [for a listed reason] or cancelled by the client.

Is There Anything I Can Do As A Requestor To Speed Up The Process?

Additional information may be requested depending on the type of event, so always fill out all user defined fields to the best of your knowledge. Keep relevant information – such as caterer information, speaker biographies and event agendas – at hand.

Can A Reserved Space Be Accessed A Few Minutes Earlier For Event Setup?

All spaces are opened approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the reservation time. For example, a 2pm reservation will be opened around 1:50 pm. Any additional time needed for setup must be included in the reservation time. For example, if an event begins at 2 pm but an hour is needed for the client to setup event materials, the reservation start time should be submitted as 1 pm.

What Is The Policy Regarding Leaving Items In Rooms Overnight?

Overnight storage is not permitted in any GEMS managed space. An overnight storage fee is applicable for all unauthorized items left in any space overnight.

Why Was My Request Waitlisted Or Made Unavailable When The Space Appeared Available On Virtual EMS?

Virtual EMS only reflects reservations that have been processed by a professional staff member. Web requests do not automatically block a space on Virtual EMS when submitted. Since requests are processed in the order they are received, it is possible that another request was submitted prior to your request and was not yet processed, causing the space to appear available on Virtual EMS.

Can I Change The Location Of My Event Without Submitting A New Event Request?

Yes; to change the location of a request/reservation, please follow the instructions in Submitting/- Adjusting/Canceling Reservations (Virtual EMS Help) section, under “How can I change/adjust the timeframe or the space of my existing request/reservation?”

I Have An Outdoor Event With A Rain Site Scheduled As A Backup. What Happens If It Rains Or If Rain Is Forecasted?

The rain call must be made at least three (3) hours prior to the reservation start time to GEMS at (202) 687-3726. On Saturdays and Sundays, the rain call must be made by 12 pm. This allows our staff time to move the equipment as needed to the appropriate location. Equipment needs should be considered for both the outdoor location and potential indoor location.

Georgetown University Has Been Closed Due To Inclement Weather, And My Event Has Been Cancelled Due To The Closing. Will I Still Be Charged For The Reservation?

Cancellations due to inclement weather is handled on a case-by-case basis, and the final decision is made by the Director regarding charges for cancelled events.

Why Do I Need To Inform You If I Have Invited Any Prominent Speakers, Attendees, Or Press?

Our office coordinates these details with a variety of offices on campus, including the Office of Public Affairs and the Department of Public Safety. In addition, the University is closed to the press, unless prior arrangements have been made. If you have invited members of the press to campus, and if our office is unaware of that, the members of the press will be asked to leave campus.

My Final Invoice Reflects Different Charges Than My Previous Confirmation Emails. Why Are They Different?

On Hold and Confirmation emails only reflect cost estimates known at the time of processing. If any changes to the equipment, timeframe, etc., of a reservation occurred after a confirmation was sent, the estimate would change. Sometimes variable costs such as over- time, staging and tent sizes, and misuse fees are not known at the time of processing, and these may affect the final charges. The estimate is not a final invoice.

I Need A Microphone And Other AV Equipment. Who Can Assist Me With That?

Limited audio-visual services are provided by GEMS.

McShain Large & McShain Small: Both have projectors and screens available for use with applicable usage fees.

Copley Formal Lounge: Has a projector, a screen, a sound system, blu-ray, and a podium mic available for use with applicable usage fees.

ICC Auditorium, Lohrfink Auditorium & Reynolds Seminar Rooms: Classroom educational technology services (CETS) provides audio-visual services for these spaces. CETS can be reached at (202) 687-7491 or for more information.

An external vendor must be contacted for additional audio-visual services for the above spaces or for spaces without audio-visual equipment. Common vendors who have worked in GEMS spaces include Bluestreet Productions, (202) 420-8654, and Optimum Audio (202) 618-2017. GEMS must be notified if an external vendor will be providing services in an GEMS-managed space, and time should be allotted in the submitted reservation for vendor setup and breakdown.