Visitors 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 in 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, Berkeley Email
  2. During Your Visit
    1. Acknowledgment in Publications
    2. Bicycle Loan Program
    3. Building Access and Office Keys
    4. Emergency Alerts & Alarms
    5. Code of Conduct Compliance
    6. Community
    7. Current Health Directives
    8. Food and Beverage Are Prohibited in the Auditorium and Room 116
    9. IT Guide
    10. Parking
    11. Photos and Videos
    12. Program Mailing List and Emails from the Institute during the Program
    13. Recycling and Conservation: Cal Zero Waste 
    14. Reimbursements
    15. Room Reservations
    16. Sports and Recreation
    17. Smoking and Tobacco Are Prohibited on Campus
    18. Tea Time
  3. At the Conclusion of Your Visit
    1. End-of-the-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

The Simons Institute provides a list of landlords that make their homes available to our visitors to rent. Visitors are welcome to use this list to contact landlords to arrange for a rental during their visit. For access to this housing list, please contact simonshousing [at] Please note that while we are happy to provide this resource to our visitors to make finding housing easier, the Institute cannot assist with any issues or disputes between landlords and program visitors. To learn more about housing, please visit our Accommodation web page


Cal 1 Card, CalNet ID, 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. You can find more information about the office and the Cal 1 card at this website: Please note that Simons Institute visitors are exempt from the policy requiring an appointment to receive a Cal 1 card. Proceed to the Cal 1 card office and tell the staff that you are a researcher with the Simons Institute and thus are approved to receive your Cal 1 card on a priority basis. 

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 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 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 Loan Program

For more 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 (subject to change for Summer 2022): 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 key card access. 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 for our staff to remove.


Room 216 Is a Drop-in Office Space Only

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.  

NOTE: Please DO NOT stick name tags on desks or other surfaces. They are extremely hard for our staff to remove.


Emergency Alerts & 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 Compliance

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


Food and Beverage Are 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, 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.


Photos and Videos

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

Video and/or audio recording equipment may be used at the Simons Institute for the purposes of recording for online distribution and archiving. If you wish to be seated off camera in our auditorium, please notify a staff member. 


Program Mailing List and Emails from the Institute during the Program

Listserv: Each program gets a listserv email. 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



To add your banking information into the campus reimbursement systems, the Institute’s reimbursement specialist will email you a “supplier invitation” with instructions at the beginning of the semester. If you have received a reimbursement 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 can submit their first per diem reimbursement claim once they have been at the Institute for 30 consecutive days. A per diem reimbursement claim can then be submitted every 30 consecutive days thereafter. Receipts do not need to be submitted.

Short-term visitors, those at the Institute for less than 30 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


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.


Smoking and Tobacco Are Prohibited on Campus

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


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-the-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).


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

Office key return

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 During 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 matter of service. Although care is taken to provide correct information, there may be unintended errors, changes or deletions without notification. Users of this list 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 list.