Events and Parties Policies

Authorized Campus Locations and Times
Host Responsibilities
Party Associates


The College defines an event as an academic, intellectual, and/or social gathering, in a designated campus student-activities space and in which no alcohol is 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 Activities Office at least one (1) week in advance of the event.

The College defines a party as a social function where alcohol is served, in a designated campus party space and more than ten (10) students are present and includes every College party, whether an All-College party or a private party. 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 three types:

  1. All-College events
    Individual students or student organizations may apply to SAC to obtain funds to assist in sponsoring an All-College party, to be held by those students or student organizations. SAC meets weekly to review party proposals and allocate funding. Check the SAC bulletin board in Parrish for more information on submitting party proposals. Under no circumstances may any College funding be used to purchase alcoholic beverages. There may not be a charge
for All-College parties, 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. Private parties
    Funding for private parties may not be obtained through the Student Activities Office. No fee may
be charged for admission to a private party where alcohol is served, nor may there be a “cash bar” or direct charge for alcohol. In addition, items cannot be sold that will be directly related to the consumption of alcohol (i.e., cups, wristbands, etc.). There may be no advertising, either verbally or in written form, for private parties. Individual invitations must be issued to all expected participants. The maximum number of invited guests, including a “bring a guest” clause, must not exceed one-third of the student body.
  3. 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 party. 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 ten (10) 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 and other public events. Alcoholic beverages may not be served at parties or other events that take place during orientation periods, vacation periods, or final examination periods.
Party spaces. Reservations for space are made by submitting a Party Permit, available from the Student Activities Office. Party permits are required for events exceeding thirty (30) guests. Use of facilities in residence halls must be approved by resident assistants (RAs) in that building and so noted on the party permit. Paces and Olde Club parties must be reserved by submitting a Party Permit form, too. Information about the security deposit and cleanup will be discussed with persons planning an event at the time they reserve the facility.

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.

Party permits. After reserving space for a social function, the student must register the function by obtaining and submitting a Party Permit form the Student Activities Resource webpage. A party permit is required if: a) alcohol will be served and 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 host training. Party permits are due at least one (1) week in advance of the proposed party. No party permits will be issued during New Student Orientation, vacation periods, or final examination periods. Detailed instructions for hosting an All-College or private party may be obtained from the coordinator of student activities.

Advertising. 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 coordinator of student activities. 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. In addition, the Dean’s Office may subject the hosts to further sanctions.

During the party. While the social function is in progress or while alcoholic beverages are available (whichever is longer), the hosts and party associates (Pas) 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 Party Associates 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 hosts to ensure that the following regulations are adhered to:

  1. The party 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.
  2. PAs/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; however, this is at the discretion of the hosts. 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 generally discouraged from attending 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 hosts or sponsoring organization and must be done immediately following the event. The facility manager may impose a charge for failure to comply with agreements about cleanup. In addition, hosts will be held responsible for any damages to the facility or equipment in that space.

Party Associates

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

30-75 Guests—one (1) ID checker and two (2) PAs managing the crowd/patrolling party space;

75-100 Guests—two (2) ID checkers and two (2) PAs managing the crowd/patrolling party space

100+ Guests—two (2) ID checkers and three (3) PAs managing the crowd/patrolling party space

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

PAs will be selected and trained by the PA coordinators and with the assistance and guidance of the alcohol and other drugs counselor and educator and public safety. PAs will wear their PA T-shirts, be paid an hourly fee, and may not consume alcohol before or during the party.

Their duties will include:

  1. door/ID-checking 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 residence halls; and
  9. contacting Public Safety if they require assistance or in any emergency situations.