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Events and Parties Policies

The College defines an event as an academic, intellectual, cultural, and/or social gathering, held by students or a student organization, in campus space. Events can be open to the entire campus community, open to all enrolled students, or closed events held for a smaller group of students and/or members of an organization. Usually, events are not open to the general public without written permission from the Office of Student Engagement. Typically, guest(s) of enrolled students are permitted at campus events; please see the guest policy for additional information on the College’s guest policy. Both open and closed events follow the same expectations and process for registration. 

The College further differentiates between alcohol registered events (A.R.E.s) and dry events (events where alcohol is not present).  A.R.E.s are registered events where alcohol will be present, either provided by the host or brought by attendees, and/or alcohol will be served. All A.R.Es. require advance registration and approval of a College Alcohol Permit.  

Unless specifically authorized, in writing, by the Senior Associate Dean of Student Life or designee, no College funding may be used to purchase alcoholic beverages (written authorization may be given for senior only events, associated with senior week/senior class only events at off-campus locations). 

A College event may be held on- or off-campus and may only be sponsored by Swarthmore students. All events held on-campus are automatically subject to this policy. An individual and/or organization holding an event off-campus may be subject to the student code of conduct and/or Pennsylvania state law.  

  • Open events are defined as an event where all students are permitted to attend. Open events may or may not be open to the larger campus community.
  • Closed events may be held for a smaller group of students and/or members of an organization. A guest list may be required depending on the size and scale of the event. 

*No A.R.E. event should charge an entry fee at anytime.

If a student is unsure about whether their event is ‘open’ or ‘closed’, they make seek advisement from the Office of Student Engagement. 

Any violations of these responsibilities will be referred to the Senior Associate Dean of Student Life and/or Office of Student Engagement for appropriate follow-up and possible adjudication through the College’s Student Conduct process.  

Public Safety should be contacted for any emergencies and/or safety issues at any time during an event/party. 

Additionally, if A.R.E. or other College protocols are not being followed, concerns for health and safety are observed or reported, and/or risky behavior (such as binge drinking, etc.) is observed, the event/party may be canceled or ended early by Public Safety or other College staff.

General Host Responsibilities for Student Events and Parties on Campus 

Only students who are actively enrolled at the institution may host an event on campus. 

  • Hosts and/or hosting organizations (hosts) are responsible for reading all of the event and party policies outlined in the Student Handbook. 
  • Hosts must attend the College’s A.R.E Hosting Training during the academic year for which they are hosting an event.
  • At least one host must be over the age of 21.
  • Hosts are responsible for reserving the event space and requesting an alcohol permit when alcohol will be present at the event. 
  • Hosts are responsible for any damage to campus space or property that occurs during or as a result of their event. 
  • Hosts are responsible for the safety of the event attendees. 
  • Hosts are responsible for determining if guests of enrolled students will be allowed at their event.
  • Hosts are responsible for restricting and/or removing alcohol from any alcohol-free event.
  • Hosts are to ensure there is no smoking or vaping at any student event on campus.  
  • Hosts are required to clean the event spaces immediately after the event. This includes removing all trash and returning the space to its original condition. If deep cleaning of the event space is required and/or additional cleaning supplies are needed, it is the responsibility of the host to make appropriate arrangements to acquire these items. Cleaning supplies (includes mops, vacuums, and spray cleaning bottles) can be acquired by contacting the Office of Student Engagement. (Advance notice is needed to obtain cleaning supplies, please request these supplies a minimum of three (3) business days in advance of your event).

If, during an event, the hosts are unable to uphold these guidelines or meet host responsibilities, or there is an emergency, they should contact Public Safety at 610-328-8333 or ext. 8333 for assistance.

*Please note that failure to maintain campus spaces may result in restrictions on your or your group’s ability to host future events.

There are several additional expectations for hosts of Alcohol Registered Events outlined in the “A.R.E. Events - Host Responsibilities” section below.

Event Funding

Chartered organizations should use their Student Budget Committee (SBC) allocated budget for event funding. Chartered Organizations may also request supplemental funding through the weekly SBC application process. Individual students and non-chartered organizations may request limited funds through OSE for events. All OSE funded events are required to be open to all students. No College funding, including SBC funds, may be used toward the purchase of alcohol for student events


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

Publicizing Events 

Generally, advertising is permitted for any event that is open to all students and is free of charge. Conversely, closed events are not permitted to be advertised on campus and are generally by invitation only. Advertising (posters, flyers, chalkings, table tents, email, written, verbal invitations, social media posts, and banners) for all College events must NOT refer to availability of alcoholic beverages, either in writing or in graphics/gifs. If there is any question as to whether or not some form of advertising meets this criterion, it should be cleared in advance with OSE. Inappropriate advertising will be removed and the individual and/or organization may be restricted from hosting the event/party, or future events for subsequent/multiple violations. For additional information, see the Banners, Chalkings, and Poster policy. The standard method for advertising open student events is through the reserved student digest.

Authorized Campus Locations and Times

Designated campus spaces for student events can be found on SwatCentral and may periodically change; an updated list of available student spaces can be found in the Office of Student Engagement. 

Event Reservations: Students or student organizations are required to register their event, in the form of a space reservation, if the event is held in a designated campus space with more than ten (10) attendees. A student may reserve a space for alcohol-free events through “SwatCentral”, the campus event management system. If you have additional questions about reserving a space please review Swat Central Instructions - Students and/or contact the Events Management Office at Alcohol-free event reservations must be made at least 48 hours before the event. For A.R.E.s, students must also complete an Alcohol Permit Request form by 12:00PM(noon) on the Wednesday prior to an event occurring that week. The Alcohol Permit Request form can be found on the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) website.

Duration: All events are expected to begin and end at a reasonable, specified time. A.R.E functions may not exceed four (4) hours in duration and should end no later than midnight Sunday through Wednesday and by 2:00 AM for Thursday through Saturday night events. Thursday events lasting beyond midnight must be in non-residential spaces. Requests for events occurring on Fridays and Saturdays in residential spaces that are scheduled to go beyond midnight, will be reviewed for impact to the residential community. It may be necessary to limit the requested event to midnight if there are considerable noise concerns raised by residents of that community. Undue noise or unwanted guests may nullify previous agreements. Students and student organizations are limited to hosting no more than one A.R.E within a 24-hour period. An Alcohol Registered Event may not take place in multiple locations. There must be at least one hour between the end of an A.R.E and the beginning of the next scheduled event (A.R.E or alcohol-free event) in the same location.

Alcohol Registered Events (A.R.E.s) may not be registered or held in the following locations:

  • Academic Classrooms
  • Athletic Facilities
  • Black Cultural Center
  • Bond Memorial Hall
  • College Amphitheater
  • Dining Center
  • Upper Tarble (exemption may be made for All-Campus events, with permission from the Dean’s Office)
  • Women’s Resource Center
  • IC Big Room
(Exceptions can only be made with express permission from the Dean of Students Office).

*Alcoholic beverages are specifically prohibited at all athletic contests or related events. 

The Office of Student Engagement generally approves space reservations 1-2 weeks before an event is to be held. Any student may request to use a residential or student social space, and those requests are generally reviewed in the order they come in. The Office of Student Engagement will work with you or your group to identify possible alternative space, if your desired space is unavailable. When determining if a space reservation is approved for an event, including those with alcohol, OSE may take the following factors into consideration before confirming a reservation:

  • Availability of student/professional staff (including Party Associates)
  • Impact of event on residential community
  • Time of the semester
  • Duration of event
  • Weather
  • Accessibility of space
  • Location and proximity to public bathrooms
  • Size of event
  • Frequency of event
  • General health and safety concerns
  • Previous history of meeting or failing to meet host expectations.

If a requested space is not available and/or the location is not the most appropriate for an event, the Office of Student Engagement may confirm your event for another location. You will receive confirmation of your space request no later than 48 hours before your event, and earlier if possible. 

A.R.E. Events: Alcohol Permits 

All A.R.E. events require an approved alcohol permit. Prior to requesting an A.R.E. permit, students must reserve an appropriate space for their event using Swat Central. After reserving space for a social function, the student must register the function by obtaining and submitting an Alcohol Permit, which collects the information required for hosting an event with alcohol. An A.R.E. Permit is required if: a) ten (10) or more people are present or expected to attend, b) if there is a keg, and/or c) the party will be held on campus.

Students or student organizations hosting an A.R.E., must complete an A.R.E. Permit Request form, by 12:00 PM (noon) on the Wednesday prior to an event occurring that week and must also have a confirmed space reservation. The A.R.E. form can be found on the Office of Student Engagement website and will review all event submissions.

For events with an expected or actual attendance of between 10 and 74 people, two (2) responsible sober hosts must be indicated on the Alcohol Permit application, one (1) must be over the age of 21. For events with more than 75 people expected or in attendance, three (3) responsible sober hosts are required to be indicated on the Alcohol Permit, two (2) must be over the age of 21. All hosts must have attended the College’s A.R.E. Host Training during the academic year for which they are hosting the event.

Additionally, all hosts of the registered event/party must meet with Public Safety to review and sign the A.R.E. Permit prior to the event/party starting. 

Alcohol Permits will not be approved and alcoholic beverages may not be served at parties or other events that take place during the early return period, New Student Orientation, the first week of the Fall and Spring academic semester, vacation periods, reading days, final examination periods, or large-scale Admissions Offices events (e.g. Discover Swarthmore, SWATstuck, and SWATlight). 

In the event of a large-scale campus event (such as, Halloween Party, Winter Formal, Worthstock, etc.), or inclement weather or campus emergency, the Office of Student Engagement or the Student Affairs Division may identify days each semester during when students may not register events with alcohol. When possible, these dates will be announced with as much advance notice as is reasonable but advance notice may not always be possible. The OSE reserves the right to limit the total number of events. on any particular day if staffing or other resources are not available to safely support the event. The first available date to register an event/party with an A.R.E. Permit is the second Saturday after classes begin each semester.

Alcohol that is present at an event/party but not approved and specifically not included on the Alcohol Permit, will be removed, disposed of, and the event/party may be canceled or ended early, with the host(s)/organization typically referred to the College student conduct process.

A.R.E. “BYO” Policies

Approved hosts are permitted to hold open/closed BYO events if approved through the Alcohol Permit process. Attendees over the age of 21 are permitted to bring one (1) six pack of beer, or one (1) 750ml bottle of wine. No other type of alcohol is permitted. All alcohol must be dropped off with the open/closed A.R.E. host(s) prior to the start of the event. Hosts are expected to coordinate with attendees to determine the requested amount of alcohol prior to the submission of the A.R.E. Permit. At some large-scale campus events, students 21 and older may bring beer or wine for personal use which must be checked-in, prior to the event beginning, and at the designated location.

At any time if the hosts or College officials determine there is additional alcohol present, brought in after the check in period, or, deceptively disguised in a secondary container (tumbler cup, backpack, camelbak hydration pack, etc), that alcohol shall be confiscated, removed, and disposed of. Responsible parties will typically be referred to the College Student Conduct Process.

A.R.E. Event: Host Responsibilities

Hosts and/or hosting organizations are responsible for reading and following all of the event and party policies outlined in the Student Handbook. By signing the A.R.E. Permit, the hosts agree to be responsible for compliance with the College’s Event and Party policy and local, state, and federal law before, during, and following the event. 

While the social function is in progress and/or when alcoholic beverages are available (whichever is longer), the event/party hosts and Party Associates (if applicable) must be in attendance at all times. It is the responsibility of the hosts to regulate the serving of alcoholic beverages to attendees over the age of 21. Hosting an open event/party without the approved or required presence of Party Associates members for a party will result in the function being canceled or ended early, and responsible parties being subject to the Student Conduct Process, as well as the possibility of losing the privilege of hosting future A.R.E. events.

*If you feel that you may not be able to meet A.R.E host expectations at any time, you are encouraged to convert your event/party to an alcohol-free event. The Office of Student Engagement is available to assist you in transitioning your event to one without alcohol.

In addition to the general event and party host responsibilities listed above, the A.R.E. hosts must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Read and adhere to all expectations outlined in the “Events and Parties Policy” section above.
  • Meet with Party Associates representatives and Public Safety before the A.R.E. will be permitted to begin.
  • A.R.E. Permit and signs must be posted in clear view at the entrance and where the alcohol is being served at all times during an event/party stating; “You must be 21 years of age to consume alcoholic beverages in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” and also must indicate what type/how much alcohol is being served on the permit. If the permit is not displayed, the party cannot begin.
  • Hosts must assist Party Associates in being stationed at the doors to regulate entry into the A.R.E. and to ensure that alcoholic beverages are not brought into or carried out of the A.R.E. 
  • Only guests over the age of 21 will be provided a wristband or marking indicating they are of the legal drinking age. The sharing or reuse of wristbands is strictly prohibited and will result in referral to the student conduct process.
  • Hosts or servers must regulate the serving of alcoholic beverages and observe all laws and College guidelines regarding A.R.E.
  • All alcoholic beverages may only be dispensed by A.R.E. hosts or a server identified by the host. Servers must be designated by A.R.E. hosts and have been A.R.E. Host Trained. 
  • Hosts/servers shall not consume alcohol at least 8 hours prior to, and for the duration of, their hosting/serving responsibilities.  
  • Hosts are required to prohibit visibly intoxicated persons from obtaining alcoholic beverages at the A.R.E.
  • Hosts will identify and request that problematic attendees leave the A.R.E. In the event that problematic attendees are uncooperative, the host will contact Public Safety for assistance. 
  • Hosts must assist Public Safety in A.R.E. walkthroughs (pre-event walk-through and mid-event walk-through) and emergency response.
  • Alternative non-alcoholic beverages must be served during the entirety of the A.R.E. 
  • Substantial food, such as fruits, vegetables, and/or pretzels, must also be provided at all A.R.E.
  • There is to be no smoking, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or vapes, at any A.R.E.
  • At all times during an A.R.E. hosts are required to wear the A.R.E. Event Host strap in a highly visible location, so that both attendees and Public Safety are able to easily identify the event hosts, should consultation need to occur or if a problem arises. 
  • Hosts are required to clean the event spaces immediately after the event. This includes removing all trash and returning the space to its original condition. If deep cleaning of the event space is required, cleaning supplies (includes mops, vacuums, and spray cleaning bottles) can be acquired by contacting  the Office of Student Engagement. Deep cleaning must be completed occur by 2:00 PM the following day after the event. Cleanup is the responsibility of the hosts and/or sponsoring organization, and must be done immediately following the event. The College may 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 (including Swaudio equipment). In addition, hosts and/or sponsoring student organizations will be held responsible for any damages to the facility or equipment in that space.

*If, during an A.R.E., the hosts are unable to uphold the guidelines and keep the A.R.E. under control, they are required to call Public Safety at 610-328-8333 or ext. 8333. 

Guests at A.R.E. Events:

Enrolled Swarthmore students are permitted to host one (1) non-College guest to an event/party (including Tri-Co students). The guest, accompanied by the student host, must check in at the door. All guests are required to provide either a current Tri-Co or valid United States government issued ID with a birth date. If there is a disagreement as to the validity of an ID, a host, Party Associates, or the guest should seek advice from Public Safety or the Office of Student Engagement. Usually, events are not open to the general public without written permission from OSE.

College employees are not permitted to attend student-hosted A.R.E., unless their attendance is directly related to their role and responsibilities as an employee of the College.

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