Washington University in St. Louis has eight campuses — Danforth, Medical, West, North, South, 560 Music Center, Lewis Center and Tyson Research Center — all of which welcome visitors under varying circumstances and with some restrictions, such as the following:

  1. News media
  2. Non-news, freelance and commercial media
  3. Drone flights
  4. Weddings and special events
  5. Athletics and sports events

News media

Washington University supports the free and open expression of ideas and opinions by our faculty, students and other members of the university community. We encourage members of the media to reach out to the MarComm for assistance in identifying experts and story sources. We also encourage members of our community to agree to interviews and to participate as expert resources in news stories. Faculty, staff and students have the right to speak with news media without the permission of university officials.

However, as a private institution, Washington University has the right to restrict access to our campuses and/or place limitations on that access.

Due to HIPPA, all video Interviews and photography on the Medical Campus must be approved and accompanied by a member of Medicine Marketing & Communications. Additional information is available below.

When planning a visit to any campus, MarComm is available at all times to assist the news media with making arrangements for interviews and locations, providing access to buildings and parking, locating relevant information and researching helpful data.

The following policies apply to all campus visits:

News media access policies

1. News media are required to seek permission through the MarComm for access to film or photograph on our campuses, both on the grounds and in the buildings. Such permission generally will be granted, as long as those in charge of areas, such as classrooms, laboratories, offices, study spaces, dining areas, etc., agree and if the reporting activities do not disrupt university activities; do not interfere with the privacy of students, patients, faculty and staff; and do not pose any risk to the safety of members of the university community, visitors or facilities.

2. Access to the South 40 residential area and all residence halls is prohibited without permission of MarComm and the Office of Residential Life.

3. When news media make requests to interview medical patients or patients’ family members on the Medical Campus, they must work with WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications, which will contact the patient and family through the appropriate physician’s office. If patients/families agree to be interviewed, photographed or videotaped, they must first sign an official university or hospital release form. All news media visiting the Medical Campus buildings and facilities must be accompanied at all times by a staff member from the Office of Medicine Marketing & Communications or the office’s designee.

4. MarComm should be informed of campus visits by video or sound crews that are prearranged with students, faculty or other members of the university community. Video and sound crews must be accompanied by a member of MarComm or the office’s designee.

5. For intercept interviews on campus with students, faculty or other members of the university community, a member of MarComm must accompany the news media. The MarComm staff member will ask the proposed interviewee for her or his permission to proceed. The staff member will identify the reporter, describe the request for an on-camera interview and explain that the university sees the decision to be interviewed as each individual’s choice. When the requested source makes a decision to be interviewed, she or he may ask that a MarComm representative remain throughout that interview. Otherwise, the MarComm representative will absent themselves from Danforth Campus interviews.

Because of federal laws protecting patient privacy, all Medical Campus interviews will be conducted with a member of the WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications present.

6.  News conferences, lectures and other campus events to which MarComm or its designee have extended an invitation to the public and to the news media do not require special approvals — although arrangements for camera locations, microphones, lighting and other recording equipment may require assistance from the MarComm.

7. If news media receive invitations to visit the campuses from sources other than MarComm, we ask that the news media call MarComm and check to see if the activity or event is indeed open.

8.  Access to buildings, areas and events may be denied during an emergency, crisis or unusual circumstance.

Once a visit to campus has been approved, MarComm is available at all times to assist the news media with making arrangements for interviews and locations, providing access to buildings and parking, sharing relevant information, such as news releases and still photos, and researching helpful data.

If you are a member of the media and wish to film on Washington University’s campus, please notify the following media contacts:

For university news and faculty experts: 

Susan Killenberg McGinn, 314-935-5254 (o); 314-603-6008 (c); smcginn@wustl.edu

For medical news:  

Jessica Church, 314-286-0105, (o); 314-320-8485 (c); j.church@wustl.edu

Non-news, freelance and commercial media

All commercial, freelance, non-news photography, sound or video recording must be approved in advance by MarComm. Expressed permission is required before any recording or photography can take place on Washington University’s private property.

The university owns the exclusive rights to images of its buildings, grounds, landmarks, names, nicknames, registered trademarks, and official symbols. The University’s name, symbols and locations may not be used in any manner to endorse any product or service, either explicitly or implicitly, without written permission from MarComm.

Approval Process

Photography and filming will be allowed only during those times least likely to be disruptive to the academic process and to student life.

As a general policy, Washington University does not allow commercial filming in its residence halls or libraries. Exceptions are rare and must be reviewed and approved by MarComm and the person responsible for the location where photography or filming is likely to occur.

Additional clearances from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Students is required for the use of any students in commercial productions.  At no time will non-enrolled models be permitted to pose as enrolled Washington University students.

If approved, a university escort will be required during production for all interior locations and select exterior locations as deemed necessary by MarComm.


The following must be provided five days before any commercial work may commence on Washington University’s campus. 

  • Completed location filming & photography request form
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Signed location release form
  • Payment
  • Drone application form (for drone photography and videography only)
  • Scripts that include references to Washington University

Location filming & photography request form 

Please complete the location filming & photography request form to begin the approval process and arrange for location scouting. Contacting individual schools or departments initially will complicate communications and slow the approval process. This form serves as the “statement of intent” referenced below.

Certificate of Liability Insurance

A Certificate of Insurance (COI), naming Washington University, its employees, students and other agents as insureds, providing comprehensive general liability insurance, including personal injury and property damage, automobile liability (when applicable), and aviation liability (for drone filming and photography) in amounts not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $1,000,000 in the aggregate or a combined single limit of $1,000,000 shall be submitted to MarComm at least five days before the shoot.

Make out to certificate holder: 

Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1070
1 Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130

Location release form

Upon agreement to use Washington University as a location, an authorized agent shall sign and submit a location release form provided by and returned to MarComm. This form shall be submitted at the same time as the certificate of insurance.

Fees and expenses

All location fees are due prior to the commencement of any shooting. There are no exceptions. Fees for film shoots begin at $500.

Additional expenses (e.g., those incurred as a result of the necessary use of University Police and Facilities Management) will be the responsibility of the requesting agency or production company. A final invoice will be sent upon completion of filming, and payment will be due within 60 days.

A setup fee will be charged in the event that extra time is required for the area to be prepared the day before the shoot. Owners of vehicles must obtain a parking permit from MarComm on or before the day of the shoot.

Contact information

For more information, please contact Anne Davis Cleary, Executive Director of Multimedia at 314-935-5251 or by email at acdavis@wustl.edu.

Specific requests for use of trademarked symbols for licensing purposes or set dressings and wardrobe should be directed to the University’s trademarks and licensing manager, Janelle Hizer, at 314-935-9030 or janelle.hizer@wustl.edu.

Drone flights

The operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), including drones and model aircrafts on Washington University owned property, is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 and relevant state laws. Faculty, staff and third-party pilots who hold an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate and own a registered sUAS may submit a flight request for official Washington University business through the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S). Recreational use of sUAS is strictly prohibited.

Flight plans must be approved in writing at least five days in advance of the proposed date(s) of operation, and drones must only fly over the university premises that are mutually agreed upon by the pilot and EH&S.

Medical campus drone operation requires pilots to contact the Emergency Department Communications Center and WUSM Protective Services at 314-362-4357 at least 72 hours prior to approved flight plan to notify airmen.

Danforth campus drone operation requires pilots or MarComm to contact WUPD 48 hours prior to the approved flight plan to notify dispatch. Third-party pilots on the Danforth campus must be accompanied by a member of MarComm staff or the office’s designee, who will coordinate access to campus with EH&S.

For faculty, staff and third-parties who wish to submit a flight request, please contact Brad King, Director, Office of Occupational Safety, Environmental Health & Safety at 314-273-4567 or by email at kingb@wustl.edu. For more information, visit the EH&S drone webpage.

Weddings and special events

Special events, such as weddings, that include photography and video recording are coordinated through Washington University’s Event Management Services. For information, contact Phyllis Jackson, Associate Director for Campus Life-Event Management at 314-650-6525 or Phyllis.Jackson@wustl.edu.  

Athletic events

Washington University in St. Louis encourages photographic coverage of sports events by news media. We welcome students, faculty, staff and their families to attend and photograph athletic events in our varsity, intramural and club programs with the understanding that the images are intended for personal use only and not for any commercial use or general distribution. As a general rule, freelance, commercial, and nonuniversity amateur photography is not permitted at athletic events.

Taking photos or video from any area other than spectator seating requires a university-issued sports photo pass. Generally these are issued only to news photographers and videographers who are insured by their employers against physical injury and other hazards, and who are equipped to take pictures without an on-camera flash. NCAA rules prohibit the use of on-camera flash in many types of varsity athletic events, particularly indoor sports.

A sports photo pass is also required if spectators plan to take photos or video with professional-quality equipment from the spectator area, due to potential disruption and visual obstruction to other spectators. Point-and-shoot cameras and small video cameras usually do not require a pass when used in the spectator seating area, although flash and video lights are not allowed by NCAA rules from spectator areas in many sports events, regardless of location.

Sports photo pass requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and will generally require an official request submitted on the employer’s letterhead. Issued on an event-by-event basis, passes may be revoked at any time by the university.

Requests for a pass must be submitted at least one day prior to the athletic event to Bridget McCann, Director of Athletic Communications, at 314-935-5077 or mccann@wustl.edu.

The university reserves the right to place further restrictions on access to athletic facilities and events when necessary to protect the safety and security of the university community.

 (Last Revised: July 2020)