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 or a registered group of, 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) or other funding sources and approved through the Office of Student Engagement at least two (2) weeks in advance of the event.

The College defines a party as a social function where alcohol may be served, regulated by the Alcohol Permit, in a designated campus party space and more than ten (10) students are present. Unless specifically authorized in writing by the Associate Dean of Students, 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 21 years old).

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 an individual and/or organization holds a party off-campus they may be subject to the student code of conduct and/or Pennsylvania state law.  

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

1. All-College Events/Parties: Individual students or student organizations may apply to Student Budget Committee (SBC) and/or Office of Student Engagement to obtain funds to assist in sponsoring an All-College event, to be held by those students or student organizations. SBC and Office of Student Engagement meet weekly to review event proposals and allocate funding. There may not be a charge for All-College events/parties, and they must be open to all members of the student body. All Swarthmore students are permitted to host one (1) guest (including Tri-Co) but that is at the discretion of the hosts. All guests are required to provide either a Tri-Co or State issued ID. Again, under no circumstances may any College funding be used to purchase alcoholic beverages.

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 ten (10) people are present; beer is not served from a keg; and there is no disorder. Designated campus event/party locations are authorized by a member of the Office Student Engagement and/or 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, the first week of the Fall academic semester, vacation periods, reading days, final examination periods, or large scale Admissions Offices events (i.e., SWATstruck). The first available date to register an event/party with an Alcohol Permit is the first Saturday after classes begin each semester.

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 2:00AM 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: Prior to requesting an Alcohol 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 Alcohol Permit is required if: a) there are more than ten (10) people will attend; b) there is
 a keg; or c) the party will be held in a registered event/party location. This permit must indicate the name of two (2) responsible hosts, one of whom must be at least 21 years of age. Both hosts must have attended the College’s Event/Party Host Training. All Alcohol Permit requests, must be received by Wednesday at 5:00 P.M. on the week of the requested event.  Additionally both hosts of the registered event/party must meet with the Office of Student Engagement and Public Safety to review and sign the Alcohol Permit by no later than 12:00 P.M. on the Thursday of the week of the requested event/party.

Alcohol that is present at the party and not included on the Alcohol Permit will be removed and will result in a referral to the College student conduct process. No Alcohol Permits will be issued during New Student Orientation, the first week of the Fall academic semester, vacation periods, reading days, final examination periods, or large scale Admission Office events (i.e., SWATstruck). The first available date to register an event/party with an Alcohol Permit is the first Saturday after classes begin each semester.

Event/Party Host Responsibilities: By signing the alcohol permit, the hosts agree to be responsible for compliance with party guidelines and local, state and federal law before, during, and following the event. Event/party hosts must not consume alcohol for the duration of the event/party.  Failure to obtain an alcohol permit and display it at the event will result in the event/party being closed down.  Both event/party hosts must meet with SwatTeam representatives before the event/party can begin. In addition, the event/party hosts may be held accountable for any violations of the student code of conduct.

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. Illegal advertising or inappropriate signs will be removed and the individual and/or organization will be restricted from the ability to host an event/party until meeting with the Office of Student Engagement. 

Host Responsibilities

During the party. While the social function is in progress and when alcoholic beverages are available (whichever is longer), the event/party hosts and SwatTeam must be in attendance, at all times. It is the responsibility of the hosts to regulate the serving of alcoholic beverages and to observe all laws and College guidelines regarding social events. Hosting the event/party without the approved presence of SwatTeam members for a party will result in the function being shut down.

During the event/party, the hosts responsibilities are:

i) to control the serving of alcoholic beverages;

iI) to refrain from serving alcoholic beverages to underage persons;

ii) to prohibit non-Tri-College persons, except authorized guests, from entering the party; and

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


It is also the responsibility of the event/party 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/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.
  2. SwatTeam & organization/individual host member ID checkers must be stationed at the doors to regulate entry into the event/party and to ensure that alcoholic beverages are not carried out of the event/party. Only guests over the age of 21 will be provided a wristband indicating they are of the legal drinking age. The sharing of wristbands is strictly prohibited and will result in referral to the student conduct process.
  3. A Swarthmore student is generally permitted to bring one (1) non-College guest to a party (this includes Tri-Co students).  For private parties, the hosts must generate a guest list to be provided to the Office of Student Engagement and the SwatTeam members before the party begins.  Failure to produce such list will result in guests not being allowed into the space. The guest, accompanied by the student host, must sign in at the door. 
  4. 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.”
  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 any event/party.

If, in any event/party, the hosts are unable to uphold the guidelines and keep the party under control, they are required to call the Office of Public Safety at 610-328-8333 or ext. 8333. Public Safety officers are free to enter registered and unregistered parties, at any time.

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.  

After the party: Cleanup is the responsibility of the hosts and/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 (including Swaudio).  In addition, hosts and/or sponsoring student organizations will be help responsible for any damages to the facility or equipment in that space.


A registered event/party, where alcohol is present, will 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 Office of Student Engagement and SwatTeam Managers, based upon the size and scale of the party.

SwatTeam members are required to be present and on the scene in order for a party to be held. Though SwatTeam is present, the hosts maintain responsibly for what occurs during their event. 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 by the Office of Student Engagement and SwatTeam Managers and trained by members of the Dean’s Division and Public Safety. SwatTeam Managers will also attend and be a part of the Event/Party Host training sessions.  

Their duties will include (and typically be completed in tandem with event/party host organization members):
1. door/ID-checking, wristbanding guests, and crowd control;

2. refusing entry to visibly intoxicated persons;
3. ensuring that party guidelines (event/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. providing a safe walk for persons to their residences, at a student's request; and
9. contacting public safety if they require assistance or in any emergency situations.

All SwatTeam members must follow these four guidelines:

  1. Never make physical contact with a student,
  2. Always provide a safe walk home through a well lit area,
  3. Must wear SwatTeam t-shirt while working, and
  4. May not consume alcohol before or during the event/party.