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Events and Parties Policies

General Host Responsibilities for Student Events and Parties on Campus

Event Funding  


Publicizing Events 

Authorized Campus Locations and Times

A.R.E. Events: Alcohol Permits

A.R.E. Event: Host Responsibilities

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. 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. Usually, events are not open to the general public without written permission from the Office of Student Engagement. 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 Associate Dean of Students 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 where all participants are over the 21 years old). 

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, without an entry fee.  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. 

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 Director of Student Conduct and/or Office of Student Engagement for appropriate follow-up and possible adjudication through the College’s Student Conduct process.  

In the event that event/party protocol is not being followed and/or an emergency arises at any event, SwatTeam members will be in contact with Public Safety to address the safety issues/concerns.​

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 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 dry 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) supplies can be acquired in the Office of Student Engagement during regular business hours and on the weekends between after 12:00 PM. -2:00 PM. 

*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.

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. Students and student organizations may also request supplemental funding through the weekly SBC application process. Individual students and non-chartered organizations may request limited funds through the 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 

All OSE sponsored/funded events must be publicized on campus and open to all students. 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, and verbal invitations) 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 the OSE. Inappropriate advertising will be removed and the individual and/or organization and may be restricted from hosting the event/party. 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 dry events through “SwatCentral”, the campus event management system. Dry event reservations must be made at least 48 hours before the event. For A.R.E., students must also complete an Alcohol Permit Request form, by 5:00PM 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. 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 dry 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
  • Sharples Dining Hall
  • Upper Tarble (exemption may be made for All-Campus events, with permission from the Dean’s Office)
  • Women’s Resource Center

*Alcoholic beverages are specifically excluded 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.  When determining if a space reservation is approved for an event, including those with alcohol, the OSE may take the following factors into consideration before confirming a reservation.

  • Availability of student/professional staff 
  • 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

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. 

Alcohol in Residence Halls: 

Students and their guests over the age of 21 are permitted to possess and consume alcohol in their own residence hall room without special approval, provided fewer than ten (10) people are present; alcohol is not being provided to any individual under the age of 21, beer is not served from a keg, and there is no disruption to the community. Students are required to comply with the Student Handbook policies and applicable Pennsylvania State laws. 

A.R.E. Events: Alcohol Permits

All A.R.E.s 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 5:00 PM 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 responsible hosts must be indicated on the Alcohol Permit application. For events with more than 75 people expected or in attendance, three responsible hosts are required to sign the alcohol permit.  The alcohol permit must include the name of the responsible hosts, one of whom must be at least 21 years of age. 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 the Office of Student Engagement and 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, including inclement weather or campus emergency, the Office of Student Engagement or the Dean’s Office may identify additional days each semester during which 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 given. The OSE also 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 first Saturday after classes begin each semester.

Alcohol that is present at an event the party but and not approved specifically included on the Alcohol Permit will be removed and will result in a referral to the College student conduct process.

A.R.E. “BYO” Policies

Approved hosts are permitted to hold 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. All alcohol must be dropped off with the closed A.R.E. host 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 campus events students 21 and older may bring beer or wine for personal use which must be checked in at the event in the designated location. 

A.R.E. Event: Host Responsibilities

Hosts and/or hosting organizations are responsible for reading 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 SwatTeam (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 the event/party without the approved or required presence of SwatTeam members for a party will result in the function being shut down.

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 SwatTeam representatives and Public Safety before the A.R.E. will be permitted to begin.
  • The A.R.E. Permit must be displayed clearly for the duration of the event/party, 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.
  • 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 at which alcoholic beverages are served stating; “You must be 21 years of age to consume alcoholic beverages in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
  • Hosts must assist SwatTeam 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 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.
  • 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) supplies can be acquired in the Office of Student Engagement during regular business hours and on the weekends between after 12:00 PM. -2:00 PM. 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). 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:

Typically, an enrolled Swarthmore student is 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 Government issued ID with a birth date. If there is a disagreement as to if an ID is considered valid, a host, SwatTeam staff or the guest should seek advisement from Public Safety or the Office of Student Engagement. Usually, events are not open to the general public without written permission from the OSE. Typically, 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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