Visitor Guide

This document outlines policies and resources available for long-term visitors to the Simons Institute. If you need assistance or have any questions, please contact the Simons Institute Visitor Services team by email (simonsvisitorservices [at], or stop by Calvin Lab, Room 118.

Table of Contents

  1. Planning your visit
    1. Accompanying graduate students and postdocs
    2. Assistance for families
    3. Health insurance
    4. Housing list
    5. Cal 1 Card, CalNet ID, UC Berkeley email
  2. During your visit
    1. Acknowledgment in publications
    2. Bicycle loans
    3. Building access and office keys
    4. Emergency alerts and alarms
    5. Code of conduct
    6. Community
    7. Current health directives
    8. Food and beverages prohibited in the auditorium and Room 116
    9. IT guide
    10. Parking
    11. Photo and video
    12. Program mailing lists
    13. Recycling and conservation: Cal Zero Waste
    14. Reimbursements
    15. Room reservations
    16. Safety
    17. Social events and planning
    18. Social media
    19. Sports and recreation
    20. Smoke- and tobacco-free campus
    21. Fragrance-free environment
    22. Teatime
  3. At the conclusion of your visit
    1. End-of-semester logistics


Accompanying graduate students and postdocs
Please note that the Simons Institute has very limited capacity for graduate students and postdocs accompanying long-term visitors (beyond official Institute research fellows). All long-term visitors to the Institute, including students, must be officially invited. We do not have the resources to accommodate long-term "drop-in" visits. 

Space permitting, visitors attending for most or all of a program may be able to bring a very limited number of students and/or postdocs to the Institute as official program participants for a minimum of 30 consecutive days. The Institute is not able to provide funding for accompanying individuals, and those individuals must present evidence of their own funding (including health insurance). Long-term visitors will receive information about the Accompanying Graduate Student & Postdoc Request process. For more information, please see our Participate web page

Assistance for families
Please see our Families web page for information on our Family-Friendly Stipend Program, school enrollment, and helpful links. 

Health insurance
International participants (both visiting scholars and visiting student researchers) are required to have health insurance for the duration of their appointment. Health insurance can be purchased through Garnett-Powers & Associates (GPA), which is the health insurance broker for visiting scholars and visiting student researchers throughout the University of California (UC) system. You are welcome to purchase another health insurance plan instead; however, it must meet the UC minimum requirements of coverage. Upon review of the alternate insurance by GPA, you can choose to waive out of the health insurance offered by GPA. Please note that if you choose the GPA health insurance, you must enroll in the plan within 31 days of your arrival. Information regarding UC visiting scholar/visiting student researcher health insurance, as well as minimum coverage requirements, can be found on the GPA website at

Housing list
To learn more about housing, please visit our Accommodation web page

Cal 1 Card, CalNet ID, UC Berkeley email
After you receive your affiliate ID, you will be able to receive your Cal 1 Card. Please wait two business days to pick up your Cal 1 Card.

The Cal 1 Card office is located at 212 Sproul Hall. Here are the steps to obtain your card.

  1. Create your self-selected CalNet ID (i.e., username) and CalNet passphrase by going to the following link and entering your 8-digit UCPath ID number:

    If you require additional assistance creating your CalNet ID and passphrase, please email calnet [at] berkeley.edutarget="_blank"

  2. Go to the following link to review more information about how to establish your Duo Mobile 2-step verification:
  3. Upload a compliant photo by using your CalNet ID and passphrase to log in to your Cal 1 Card account (; then select the "Upload Photo" link, and follow the instructions to upload a photo.
  4. All cards need to be activated for building access; complete this form to activate your card.

    ATTENTION: If you have received your UCPath ID number in advance of your official appointment start date, you will not be able to upload a photo or receive a Cal 1 Card until on/or after 8 a.m. of the start date or thereafter.

    NOTE: If you have a saved photo that is compliant, feel free to upload that file. If you don't have such a photo, find a solid white backdrop and take a selfie to upload. If you aren't able or would prefer not to upload a photo, you can have your photo taken at the office.

Please review the additional card-issuance logistics and associated requirements at before going to the Cal 1 Card office.

Be sure to keep your card if you anticipate returning to the Simons Institute for a future program.

Your CalNet ID will give you access to various campus systems. For instructions on how to establish your CalNet ID and UC Berkeley email address, please use this link.


Acknowledgment in publications
Please acknowledge the Simons Institute in any publications you worked on during your visit (even if they were initiated before your visit and/or were finished after your visit). Of course, it is fine to acknowledge other institutions or sponsors at the same time. We request that you include the following statement (or something similar) in the rubric of your paper: "This work was done [in part] while the author was visiting the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing."

Bicycle loans
For information regarding our bicycle loan program, please visit

Bicycles are not permitted in offices. Please see Rob in Room 130 for access to the secure bicycle storage room ($20 key deposit required).

Building access and office keys
Your Cal 1 Card is your key card for building access after hours. All cards need to be activated for building access; complete this form to activate your card. Activation may take up to five business days.

Calvin Lab door schedule: The north (front) entrance and north stairwell doors are open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and are locked outside those hours. Access during outside hours requires an activated Cal 1 Card. The south (rear) entrance and south stairwell doors are locked 24/7 and require an activated Cal 1 Card for access. 

Offices use either a metal key or a key card. If your office uses a metal key, you may pick up the key ($20 cash deposit required) from Rob in Room 130. Please remember to return your key at the end of your stay and retrieve your deposit. Remembering your office number will expedite the key return process.

NOTE: Please DO NOT stick name tags on your desk or other surfaces in your office. They are extremely hard to remove.

Room 216 is a drop-in-only office space
Researchers provided access to workspace in Room 216 must share the desks on a daily drop-in basis. You may not attempt to reserve a desk, such as by placing your personal items or name tag on a desk. The desks are available daily on a first-come, first-served basis. Do not attempt to write on the desk dividers, as these are not writing surfaces; ink permanently adheres to the desk divider surfaces.  

Emergency alerts and alarms
Emergency alerts: We encourage all visitors to register their non-UCB affiliated email address in the UC Berkeley WarnMe system to receive (1) emergency notifications, (2) timely warnings, and (3) community advisories from UCPD. Instruction on enrolling can be found at this website: There is also the option to receive these alerts via SMS/text message.

Alarms: If you hear an alarm or siren whilst in the building, please evacuate immediately. Proceed immediately to the stairwells and DO NOT use the elevator. Our staff will assist in guiding visitors to a safe area. Please comply with their instructions.

Code of conduct
All participants in Simons Institute programs and activities, including visitors, faculty, and staff, are subject to the Simons Foundation Grant Code of Conduct, UC Berkeley Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy, and the University of California Standards of Ethical Conduct. More information regarding the code of conduct and policies can be found here.

Please note that our student workers are also employees of the Simons Institute — please treat them with respect as with all Simons employees.

Help keep the Institute clean for you and your fellow visitors by picking up after yourself both inside and outside Calvin Lab.

If you move indoor and/or outdoor furniture, please return it to its original location when you are finished.

Please conserve water — California is in a historic drought.

Remember to close and lock ground-floor windows before you depart each day. Unfortunately, thefts happen on campus.

Bring in all chalkboard supplies when you have finished working at the outdoor chalkboards.

Please be respectful of your office colleagues. This means being mindful of noise (e.g., conducting Zoom calls and meetings in private spaces outside the office), cleaning up after yourself, keeping your work area clutter free (no boxes or other large items), and avoiding strong odors (e.g., perfume and food).

You are welcome to use the library on the third floor, but please keep in mind that the books are for reference only and should not be removed from the library area. If you need to borrow books, please use an official university library.

Current health directives
Face coverings are strongly recommended, but not required, indoors — regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

For additional information regarding COVID-19 policy, please visit the UC Berkeley COVID-19 web page

All visitors are expected to adhere to the building policies described here

Food and beverages prohibited in the auditorium and room 116
Please help us keep the auditorium and Room 116 clean by not bringing in food or drink (other than water bottles).

IT guide
To view our IT guide to printing, scanning, copying, and Wi-Fi in Calvin Lab, please visit

For information regarding parking and permits, please visit  

As a visiting scholar, you are eligible for "F" parking permits. The closest lot is the Underhill Garage (five-minute walk to Calvin Lab). A map of all "F" lots can be found here.

Photo and video
Please note that the Simons Institute regularly captures photos and video of activity around Calvin Lab, including in the auditorium, for use in publications and promotional materials.

Program mailing lists
Listserv: Each program has an associated email list. Feel free to use this listserv to communicate with your program's participants. Please note that all upcoming Institute events are highlighted in a weekly Friday newsletter (see below). We recommend that the listserv be used in the case of last-minute changes to an event (date change, cancellation, room change).

Weekly email from the Associate Director: our Associate Director sends out an email every Friday/Saturday containing events that will occur the following week. All events will be listed in this newsletter, including workshops, colloquia, seminars, reading groups, and public lectures. Any event updates (titles, abstracts, speakers) should be sent to simonsevents [at] Please do so by the Thursday before your event to ensure that the correct information is included in the weekly newsletter.

Social events newsletter: The Events team sends out a weekly Thursday newsletter to program visitors that contains information on activities taking place outside the Simons Institute each weekend. This newsletter contains information on upcoming local events and activities such as art festivals, farmers markets, local restaurant recommendations, or hiking trails. This email will also contain updates regarding weekly tea times and other important reminders such as building closures during holidays.

Recycling and conservation: Cal Zero Waste
Every long-term visitor receives a Simons Institute mug. Please use this mug throughout your stay rather than disposable cups. You may wash your mug at the second-floor kitchenette. 

Please discard your waste into the proper receptacles — landfill, plastic/glass/aluminum, compost, or paper/cardboard.

For campus information regarding the Cal Zero Waste program, please visit

Reimbursements and funding
To add your banking information into the campus vendoring systems, the Institute’s reimbursement specialist will email you a “supplier invitation” with instructions at the beginning of the semester. If you have received funding in the past from the Institute, our reimbursement specialist will reach out to you directly to make sure the banking information on file is still correct for you.

Long-term visitors will receive a stipend, not per diem. All long-term visitors must check-in with Visitor Services and verify their participation dates before the stipend can be processed. Stipends must be processed before a visitor's final day of participation.

Short-term visitors, those at the Institute for less than 27 days, can submit their meals and accommodations claims after they have returned home. Receipts for meals are not required, but for accommodations they are.

Travel reimbursements can be submitted only after you have returned home. Itineraries for airfare must be submitted along with receipts for any single transaction that is $75 or more.

Additional details can be found on the reimbursement form here.

Room reservations
Calvin Lab has several rooms that require visitors to make a reservation for, and others that are drop-in spaces. Please note that you need to be affiliated with the Simons Institute to make reservations. For rooms that require a reservation, visitors can reserve a space using the form on the web page linked below. Please note that priority may be given to programwide internal activities (seminars, reading groups, etc.) for some spaces such as Room 116 or the second-floor collaboration area.

For more information regarding room reservations, please visit

If you are in a situation which makes you feel unsafe or you feel that a situation could rapidly become threatening:

  1. Go to a safe place. Your safety is the priority.
  2. Call 911, the UC Berkeley Police Department’s (UCPD) number, (510) 642-3333, or push the red button on the blue light emergency phone located on the South, exterior entrance to Calvin Lab.
  3. If safely possible, inform the Simons Institute’s faculty or staff of the situation.
  4. When the police arrive, meet with the police. Do not ask faculty, staff or others to meet the police on your behalf. 

In case of a non-emergency, call the UCPD non-emergency number, (510) 642-6760.

Examples of non-emergencies are: to report vandalism or theft which occurred a day or more in the past.

Note: Both the UCPD emergency and non-emergency numbers appear on the back of Cal 1 Cards. 

When using your Cal1 Card to enter the locked, exterior doors of Calvin Lab, do not let others follow you into Calvin Lab. This may mean you need to walk around Calvin Lab to use the other locked door. You aren’t being rude, you are keeping everyone safe. 

UC Police Department would like to remind the campus community about the following safety tips:

  • Use and encourage others to have a safe means of conveyance at all times (e.g. traveling with a trusted friend or in a group, taking a taxi, or utilizing the free night safety services available to every member of the campus community such as BearWalk or the night safety shuttle:
  • If you need help, dial 911 or use a blue light emergency phone (located throughout the campus and identified by a blue light on top of the phone box or column).
  • Electronic devices are popular robbery targets. Being aware of your surroundings and keeping your devices out of public view can help reduce risk.
  • Please do not delay in calling law enforcement. UCPD strongly encourages the reporting of criminal or suspicious activity in a timely manner.

For more information regarding resources for victims of crime please refer to the UCPD Berkeley Resource Guide at

Social events & planning
Simons Institute celebrates collaboration and social connections, and we encourage any activities that may help facilitate this. During your time at the Institute we invite you to plan social activities outside of regular working hours to connect with your fellow program participants. We have created a few guidelines for how to organize informal gatherings, and the Simons Institute team is here to help you along the way.

Any program participant can initiate and organize a social event and we encourage you to do so if you have an idea you think will bring program participants together! In preparation, we ask you to please:

If you have any questions, please email simonsactivities [at] Happy planning!

Social media
We invite you to follow us on Twitter/X, YouTube, and Facebook. And please consider live-tweeting from our workshops and public lectures, using the hashtag #SimonsLive and tagging us @SimonsInstitute. See you there! 

Sports and recreation
Visiting scholars are eligible for a discounted Cal Rec Club membership for the
Recreational Sports Facility (RSF), Strawberry Canyon Recreation Area, Golden Bear Recreation Center, and Edwards Track. All of the following are available with membership: five outdoor swimming pools, strength training with Cybex machines and free weights, cardiovascular machines, aerobics and fitness classes, tennis, racquetball, squash, handball, basketball, volleyball, badminton, massage therapy, and much more. Membership information is available at the RSF cashier's station, open seven days a week, with calendars and program information posted on the website.

Faculty and staff (including visiting scholars) can also take advantage of fitness classes offered across campus. Certified fitness instructors lead a variety of classes including circuit training, yoga, Zumba, and more.

Smoke- and tobacco-free campus
The UC Berkeley campus is a smoke- and tobacco-free environment. More information regarding this policy can be found here.

Fragrance-free environment
Please avoid wearing scented products at the Institute. Be mindful and inclusive of individuals with chemical sensitivities in light of the debilitating, and easily avoidable, impacts of fragrances in the workplace.

Tea time
Tea time occurs every afternoon during the fall and spring semesters. Please check the weekly social events newsletter for exact times (usually between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.). This is an opportunity to take a short break, have a snack and a cup of coffee, and engage with other program participants. There will also be special Tea Times featuring local delicacies on occasional Thursdays — check your weekly social events newsletter for updates. Note: When COVID-19 public health policies require consumption of food outdoors, Tea Time will take place outside the back entrance until further notice (weather permitting).


End-of-semester logistics
The Institute will close at 5 p.m. on the last day of each semester. Your Cal 1 card will be deactivated automatically at that time, and we ask that semester visitors vacate the building by 5 p.m. that day.

Clear your office space. Remember to take all your personal belongings (and your Simons Institute mug!) with you when you leave. Place any unwanted items in the recycling and trash receptacles. If applicable, please return your borrowed monitor, cables, and other peripherals to our IT team (Room 126).

Lockers. Please remove any personal belongings from the day lockers located on the first and second floors.

Office keys. Please be sure to return all Institute keys in your possession (office, desk, bike room) to the facilities manager (Room 130) or, if not available, Room 146 by 4 p.m. on the last day of the semester.

Cal 1 Card: Please keep your card for your next visit. Your Cal 1 card will be deactivated automatically at 5 p.m. on the last day of the semester. This requires no action on your part. However, be sure to keep your card if you anticipate returning to the Simons Institute for a future program. We look forward to hosting you again under more normal circumstances.

Institute closure curing winter break. Please note that Calvin Lab will remain closed for the duration of the winter break, from the last day of the semester in December through the start of the semester in January, as campus cleaning and maintenance crews prepare the building for our incoming spring program participants.

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a service to our community. Although care is taken to provide correct information, there may be unintended errors, changes, or deletions without notification. Users of this information communicate, contract and do business with individuals, companies or firms at their own risk. The Regents, officers, agents and employees of the University of California shall not be liable for any errors or omissions in the compilation or printing of this information.