4: Get Your Ducks In A Row- Location, Equipment, Safety

Choose a Location*
A good bee yard will take into account the needs of the bees and the needs of your group. 

The bees will be happy with just about anywhere that is sunny, stable, and protected from strong winds.  They're so easy.
People, on the other hand, can be more difficult.

You want a place that is easy for students to get to, somewhere on campus or nearby.  If it's too far, harder to get students to come out.  
You need enough space to keep your hives, space to move around the hives, and space to store your equipment.  At a general rule, you want your hives to have about a meter of free space in all directions.  More space on the entrance side is nice for the bees.  More space is nice for you to gather around the hives.  [not in front of the entrance]
You want a place away from regular foot traffic, and where you can put up some safety signs up warning people of bees in the area.  Find out how close local beekeepers keep their bees to public areas.  In many cases, it's pretty close. 
If the area is fenced in, that will force bees to fly upwards upon exit, instead of outwards. This allows you to be closer to foot traffic.  Keep in mind that a fence can be loosely interpreted.  A chainlink fence with beautiful flowering vines on it will do the same job as a concrete wall (see photo below).  Keep your costs down wherever possible.

Rooftop beekeeping is very popular in cities, and brings in some of the nicest honeys around.  If your school will allow you access to a roof, go for it.  In Paris, bees are kept on top of the opera house.  In New York City, they're kept all over the place.  Awesome views too.  
So far, we've only heard of one rooftop student beekeeping initiative. 
Here's what they said about their special location:
Location is probably best when it incorporates some kind of exclusion to the general public in addition to normal considerations for the bees (moisture, sunlight, etc.).  That was one of the benefits of putting our hives on the roof of the school.  Students couldn't access the apiary unless they were in the club.  Plus, the fact that most honeybee foraging is done in the tree canopy in my area was a key to convincing the administration to allow the honeybees.  Because honeybees travel mostly between the roof of the school and the tree canopy, there was not a noticeable increase in the number of honeybees on school grounds (believe it or not). 
*Choosing a location is very likely to be done earlier, as the location is quite important when getting permission*

Here's an example of bees and houses, living in harmony, in Holland:

This is not a good place to keep bees.  Only because that's a door with nothing on the other side.  Wales, Atlantic College. 

Notice in the below photo how this beekeeper has used green fences to keep her neighbors happy.  In the back, you see rhododendrons, providing thick coverage.  The wooden stakes with metal lattice support vines during the warmer months, when bees will be out foraging.  So keep in mind, fences are a flexible idea! 

Rooftop hives deserve some special attention!
They're out of the way, there's plenty of space, and it's easy to restrict passage to only bee-club members. 
Unfortunately, school administration tends to freak out when they think of the rooftops.  Well, beekeeping on roofs is very common is major cities, and a great source of honey.  From London, check out the students at the London School of Economics, and their rooftop hives!

*There are no bees in that equipment yet, but there will be soon!

Get Some Equipment
Equipment is where you can spend lots, or little.  I'd suggest starting with little.
At the very basic, you will need: a smoker, a veil, and a hive tool.
...oh yeah, and a beehive!

In the BEGINNING, it is very practical to start with standard hive/frame/wax etc.  Everything is made to fit together, and you'll save many headaches by keeping with the norm.  After you've done that for a while, there's no reason why not to branch out, but at the start, keep your life simple!

For protective equipment, it's no fun to start off beekeeping getting stung all the time.  But that doesn't mean you have to buy the full body white bee suit with double layer suede calf gloves.  If you wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants (lighter colours are better) with sturdy shoes, you should be fine.  
I do my beekeeping without gloves.  Check with your locals, many bees are docile enough to do so, others not so much...

Keep in mind that if you're starting small, like with one hive, you really can only have about 5-6 people maximum around a hive at once.  Thus, you don't really need to buy 80 veils for every single person that signed your petition to have a beekeeping activity. 

You only need one smoker, but invest in a good one, cause a good one will last a lifetime.  If you have two smokers, you're more likely to lose one. 

Hive tools, like scissors, are notoriously easy to lose.  I assume they all congregate to a similar location in the world.  Hive tools come in all shapes and sizes, but it's basically a metal object to open the hives, pull frames, and give some leverage.  If you get a chance to check out a beekeepers hive tool, you'll see that it's something you could probably make yourself, but buying at least a couple from the start is a good idea. 

The other BIG equipment sink is going to be the actual wood ware for housing the bees.  That means brood chambers, supers, frames, wax foundation.  This is the sort of stuff that you might get with your first beehive, or donated (be sure to CLEAN IT).  You can also build it yourself, either from scratch, or assembly.  Under the useful links, you can check out some places that offer free plans for making your own.  You might also consider building a top bar beehive.  Building the hives is also a great time to get other sorts of students involved, such as any woodworking classes, architecture classes, or even the arts department. 

Check the external sites listed to see about places to order equipment.  If you can assemble it yourself, that will cut down costs.
Keep in mind that bee equipment is BULKY.  You'll need a place to store stuff that can be locked.  You might be lucky enough to have the funding to buy a small shed, or a nearby University owned building to store stuff.  If nothing else, the smaller things (protective gear, smoker, hive tool) can be put into a waterproof box and locked. 

Storing equipment in your room is only a temporary solution...
Although it does make for good conversation...

Bee Safe
Since safety always seems to be an issue, make your life easier by making your program 'safer'. 
While there's no need to let everyone in the world know about the exact location of your bees (cause that will just highlight people who have a problem with it), you need to have some safety signs around the immediate vicinity. 
It's also a good idea to let the college medical center know about the location of your hives.  If you really want to make them feel special, ask them to draft a sort of "emergency response".  That way, if there's a problem with the bees, your group will know exactly what to do, according to the medical professionals at your school.  [And that way, if you do what they suggested, you're in the clear!]
As an added bonus, I'd also let the campus police know about your hive locations.  To keep everyone safe.  But also to let them know that if there's a report of some sort of problem with bees, that your group should be contacted first.  That could be especially useful if there's a swarm reported nearby, where other people are freaking out, but your group can catch the swarm for your own use!

There's an example of an emergency info sheet below, with the personal information removed.  Feel free to use it, but please, add your own location, names, phone numbers...

Car carrying bees with a magnetic safety sign.  Also useful when parking in dodgy areas...

Safety sign at UWC-Atlantic College. 
Note they've also got a shed, which helps with the bulky equipment problem...

College Beekeeper,
Jan 9, 2011, 1:37 PM