Events and Parties Policies

Authorized Campus Locations and Times
Host Responsibilities

The College defines an event as an academic, intellectual, cultural, and/or social gathering, which is open to all, current Swarthmore students, in a designated campus space in which alcohol may/may not be present for the entirety of the event. Funds and approval for College events can be obtained through the Student Budget Committee (SBC) and approved through the Student Engagement Office at least one (1) week in advance of the event.

The College defines a party as a private social function where alcohol may be served, in a designated campus party space and more than thirty (30) students are present. Under no circumstances may any College funding be used to purchase alcoholic beverages.

A College party may be held on or off campus and may only be sponsored by Swarthmore students. All parties held on campus are automatically subject to this policy. If held off campus, a party becomes subject to this policy if either of the following conditions are met:

1. College funds or funds from the Social Affairs Committee (SAC) of Student Council or the SBC, or from any approved student organization, are used in whole or in part to sponsor the event. This includes expenses that are reimbursed at a later time.

2. The social function is broadly advertised on campus in such a way as to invite student attendance. This includes verbal, written, or electronic personal invitations to individual students.

Social functions (with alcoholic beverages) are divided into the following two types:

  1. All-College events

    Individual students or student organizations may apply to SAC to obtain funds to assist in sponsoring an All-College event, to be held by those students or student organizations. SAC meets weekly to review event proposals and allocate funding. Under no circumstances may any College funding be used to purchase alcoholic beverages. There may not be a charge
for All-College events, and they must be open to all members of the student body. It is customary to admit those with Tri-College ID and personal guests with proper ID, but that is at the discretion of the hosts.

  2. Fundraisers

    Students holding an event to raise funds for a nonprofit or humanitarian cause may advertise that donations are encouraged, but they must not serve as an entry fee to the event. Advertisements for the event may mention that it is a fundraiser. No amounts of the donations may be used to purchase alcohol.

Authorized Campus Locations and Times

Students over the age of 21 are permitted to possess and consume alcohol in their own residence hall rooms without special approval, provided fewer than thirty (30) people are present; beer is not served from a keg; and there is no disorder. Designated campus party locations may be authorized by a member of the Dean’s staff.

Alcoholic beverages are specifically excluded at all athletic contests or related events. Alcoholic beverages may not be served at parties or other events that take place during orientation periods, vacation periods, reading days, or final examination periods.

Duration. Social functions are expected to begin and end at a reasonable, specified time. In general, functions may not exceed four (4) hours in duration and should end no later than midnight Sunday through Wednesday and by 2 a.m. for Thursday through Saturday night events. Thursday parties lasting beyond midnight must be in non-residential party spaces. Undue noise or unwanted guests may nullify previous agreements.

Alcohol Permits. After reserving space for a social function, the student must register the function by obtaining and submitting an Alcohol Permit from the Office of Student Engagement. An Alcohol Permit is required if: a) there are more than thirty (30) people will attend; b) there is
a keg; or c) the party will be held in Paces or Olde Club. This permit must indicate the name of two (2) responsible hosts who must be at least 21 years of age and one of whom must have TiPS Training. Alcohol Permits are due at least one (1) week in advance of the proposed party.  Alcohol that is present at the party and not included on the Alcohol Permit will result in a referral to the College disciplinary process. No Alcohol Permits will be issued during New Student Orientation, vacation periods, reading days periods, or final examination periods. Detailed instructions for hosting a private party may be obtained from the Student Activities Office.

Publicizing. Private parties may not be advertised on campus. These events are by invitation only. However, all Student Activities funded events are required to be publicized on campus and must be open to all students. Generally, advertising is permitted for any party that is open to all students and is free of charge. Advertising (posters, flyers, chalkings, table tents, email, written, and verbal invitations) for All-College social functions must NOT refer to availability of alcoholic beverages, either graphically or in words. If there is any question as to whether or not some form of advertising meets this criterion, it should be cleared in advance with a dean, the alcohol and other drugs counselor, or the Student Activities Office. A $50 fine will be imposed for any illegal advertising or inappropriate signs.

Host Responsibilities

By signing the party permit, the hosts agree to be responsible for compliance with party guidelines before, during, and following the event; they will be held accountable for any violations. Failure to obtain a permit and display it at the event will result in the illegal party being closed down.  Both party hosts must meet with SwatTeam representatives before the party can begin. In addition, the Dean’s Office may subject the hosts to further sanctions.

During the party. While the social function is in progress and when alcoholic beverages are available (whichever is longer), the hosts and SwatTeam must be in attendance, at all times. It is ultimately the responsibility of the hosts to regulate the serving of alcoholic beverages and to observe all College guidelines regarding social events. Failure to provide the proper number of SwatTeam members for a party will result in the function being shut down.

The serving of alcoholic beverages must be controlled responsibly to:
i) refrain from serving alcoholic beverages to underage persons;
ii) prohibit non-Tri- College persons, except authorized guests, from entering the party; and

iii) prohibit visibly intoxicated persons from obtaining alcoholic beverages at the party.

It is the responsibility of the host(s) to ensure that the following regulations are adhered to:

  1. The Alcohol Permit must be displayed clearly for the duration of the event, and hosts must indicate what type/how much alcohol is being served on the permit. If the permit is not displayed, the party cannot begin.
  2. SwatTeam/ID checkers must be stationed at the doors to regulate entry into the party and to ensure that alcoholic beverages are not carried out of the party. Guests over the age of 21 will be provided a wristband indicating they are of the legal drinking age.
  3. A Swarthmore student is generally permitted to bring one (1) non-College guest to a party (this includes Tri-Co students as well).  For private parties, the hosts must generate a guest list to be provided to the SwatTeam members before the party begins.  Failure to produce such list will result in guests not being allowed into the space. The guest and the student responsible for the guest must sign in at the door. Bryn Mawr and Haverford students are usually welcome to Swarthmore events; they must bring ID and are not allowed to bring a guest. Faculty and staff members are not permitted to attend student parties unless attendance is required for a job-related function.
  4. Signs must be posted at all times during a party at which alcoholic beverages are served stating, “You must be 21 years of age to consume alcoholic beverages in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
  5. At any social function where alcoholic beverages are served, alternative nonalcoholic beverages
must be served at the same location with equal prominence. These alternative beverages will include drinks such as cider, sparkling grape juice, soda, or water that are appealing to a wide variety of tastes.
  6. At any social function where alcoholic beverages are served, substantial food, such as fruits, vegetables, and/or pretzels, must also be served.
  7. If non-alcoholic beverages or food run out during the course of the party, alcoholic beverages may no longer be served.
  8. There is to be no smoking at indoor parties.

If, in any event, the hosts are unable to uphold the guidelines and keep the party under control, they should call the Office of Public Safety at ext. 8333. Public Safety officers are free to enter registered and unregistered parties, at any time.

After the party. Cleanup is the responsibility of the host(s) or sponsoring organization and must be done immediately following the event. The College will impose a monetary fine, ranging from a minimum of $50 to several thousand dollars (depending on the scope of the damage) for failure to comply with agreements regarding space cleanup and/or destruction to College property.  In addition, hosts and/or sponsoring student organizations will be help responsible for any damages to the facility or equipment in that space.


A student-sponsored event with more than thirty (30) people generally should be staffed by SwatTeam members to help check IDs, provide crowd control, and serve as a liaison to public safety in the event that safety issues should arise. SwatTeam will be delegated to parties and assigned specific duties by the Student Activities Office and SwatTeam Managers, based upon the size and scale of the party:

  • Fraternity Houses: 7 SwatTeam members
  • Olde Club: 6 SwatTeam members
  • Pace’s Cafe: 6 SwatTeam members
  • Dorm Lounges: 2 SwatTeam members

SwatTeam members are required to be present and on the scene 
in order for a party to be held. However, the event remains that of the host and the hosts are ultimately responsible for what happens during their event. SwatTeam members are also responsible for checking in with the party hosts at least twice during the evening. In the event that event/party protocol is not being followed and/or an emergency arises, SwatTeam members will be in contact with Public Safety to address the safety issues/concerns.

SwatTeam members will be selected and trained by the Assistant Director of Student Activities and SwatTeam Managers and with the assistance and guidance of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Counselor and Educator and Public Safety. SwatTeam members must wear their SwatTeam t-shirts while working, be paid an hourly fee, and may not consume alcohol before or during the party.

Their duties will include:

1. door/ID-checking, wristbanding guests, and crowd control;

2. refusing entry to visibly intoxicated persons;
3. ensuring that party guidelines (party permits and required food and drink) are followed;

4. support hosts in enforcing non-smoking policies;
5. regulating alcohol that is brought into or taken out of the party (when allowed);

6. enforcing the end time for parties;

7. alerting hosts to visibly intoxicated students;

8. helping obtain escorts for intoxicated persons to the Health Center or to their residences; and
9. contacting public safety if they require assistance or in any emergency situations.