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Social Events on Campus 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(s). 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, student events are not open to the general public without approval from either the Events Management Team, or a member of the sponsoring College office. Student events can be categorized as either large open events, social gatherings without alcohol, or social gatherings with alcohol. All events must follow the below guidelines and policies.

Typically, guest(s) of enrolled students are permitted at campus events; student hosts are responsible for the conduct of their guests on campus and will be held accountable for any violation of the Student Code of Conduct or other rules of the College committed by a guest. Guests will be asked to sign in for large scale events on campus for safety needs. Guests must stay with their hosts for the entire duration of the event. Each host is able to check in one guest only.

Defining Events

A College event may be 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, local state law, and/or any additional expectations of the event space. 

  • 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. 

Many club and organization events will fall under this category of event. All club and organization leaders should be familiar with the Club Handbook and the Student Budget Committee policies in regards to hosting events on campus. All club and organization treasurers are responsible for following the Treasurer Handbook when using their Student Budget Committee allocations.

All events on campus must be free to attend for all students. There should be no perceived entry fee or charge to attend.

If groups are looking to collaborate with other offices or clubs for funding, please contact the Office of Student Engagement staff for support in the use and coordination of these funds. 

All students are eligible to register an event during the academic year. Alcohol Registered Events (A.R.E.s) have further restrictions on scheduling. Please below for more details regarding A.R.E. 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 for the purchase of 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

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. 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. Please contact the Office of Student Engagement if you have any questions as to whether a designated campus space is suitable for your event. If you have additional questions about reserving a space please review SwatCentral Instructions - Students and/or contact the Events Management Office at

Social Events

Social Events are broken down into multiple categories and can be open or closed as defined above. The College further differentiates between alcohol registered events (A.R.E.s) and dry events (events where alcohol is not present). Depending upon these categories, students must abide by the below processes and policies.

General Host Responsibilities for ALL Social Events 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 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 alcohol-free event (please contact Public Safety for support in regard to any difficulties with alcohol at an event or if you would like to proactively seek guidance regarding best practices to restricting and/or removing alcohol from an event).
  • Hosts are to ensure there is no smoking or vaping at any student event on campus (please see Smoking for additional information).  
  • 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) may be requested by contacting the Office of Student Engagement.
    • Deep cleaning must be completed by 2:00 PM the following day after the event. Please advise the Office of Student Engagement ( if cleanup is expected to stretch into the next day. This helps to ensure you have access to the space as needed for clean up purposes only.
    • The College may impose a monetary fine and other educational sanctions, 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 event, the hosts are unable to uphold these guidelines or meet host responsibilities, or there is an emergency, they must 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.

Social Events without Alcohol

While there is less risk perceived at events without alcohol, the College expects all students to still abide by all expectations surrounding events on campus. For this reason, the Office of Student Engagement may reach out to meet with event hosts ahead of their event to review safety measures. Reasons, while not inclusive, for staff to request a meeting might include:

  • Size of event, 
  • Open event, especially if off campus guests are permitted, 
  • If an event has a large number of campus partnerships, requiring resource coordination across campus offices,
  • Previous history of host conduct at events,
  • Location of event (i.e., outside with potential of weather or safety concerns).

All social events hosts are encouraged to go through the Hosting Event workshop. Though mandatory for all hosts for Alcohol Registered Events (A.R.E.s), it is highly recommended for ALL hosts as it will provide great tips and tools for successful events on campus overall.

Social Events with Alcohol

Alcohol Registered Events (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.E.s require advance registration and approval of a College Alcohol Permit. If hosting an A.R.E., you are responsible for reading through and following all policies listed below.


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, and/or some events at off-campus locations).


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
  • Sharples Community Commons
  • Upper Tarble
  • Women’s Resource Center
  • IC Big Room
(Exceptions can only be made with express permission from the Division of Student Affairs).

*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
  • 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. Typically, students will receive confirmation of your space request no later than 48 hours before your event, and earlier if possible. 

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. If you have any questions about reserving an appropriate space for your event, please contact the Office of Student Engagement. 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 OSE 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 Hosting Events workshop during the academic year for which they are hosting the event.

Additionally, all hosts of the registered event must meet with Public Safety to review and sign the A.R.E. Permit prior to the event starting. This meeting time will be determined during the week of the event and listed on the alcohol permit.

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, SWATstruck, 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 Division of Student Affairs may identify days each semester 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 with an Alcohol Permit is the second Friday after classes begin each semester.

Alcohol that is present at an event but not approved and specifically not included on the Alcohol Permit, will be removed, disposed of, and the event 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 Alcohol 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, camelback 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 Alcohol Permit, the hosts agree to be responsible for compliance with the College’s Social Events on Campus policy and local, state, and federal law before, during, and following the event. 

*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 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 host responsibilities listed above, the A.R.E. hosts must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Read and adhere to all expectations outlined in the “Social Events on Campus Policy” section above.
  • Hosts must attend the College’s Hosting Event workshop during the academic year for which they are hosting an event.
  • At least one host must be over the age of 21.
  • Hosts must assist Public Safety in A.R.E. walkthroughs (pre-event walk-through and mid-event walk-through) and emergency response.
  • Alcohol 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 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 event cannot begin.
  • While the event is in progress and/or when alcoholic beverages are available (whichever is longer), the hosts must be in attendance at all times.
  • Hosts are expected to regulate the serving of alcoholic beverages to only attendees over the age of 21. 
  • Hosts must have an operational plan (i.e., who’s at the door, but also who’s walking around, serving the actual alcohol, etc.) and discuss that plan with a member of the Office of Student Engagement and Public Safety during their pre-event check-in. 
  • 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 must serve and regulate the serving of alcoholic beverages and observe all laws and College guidelines regarding A.R.E.
  • Hosts shall not consume alcohol at least 8 hours prior to, and for the duration of, their hosting responsibilities.  
  • Hosts are required to prohibit visibly intoxicated persons from obtaining alcoholic beverages at the A.R.E. (when in doubt, please call Public Safety to request support for any visibly intoxicated person).
  • 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 pizza, fruits, vegetables, and/or pretzels, must also be provided at all 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. 

*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 (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  or foreign government issued ID with a birth date. If there is a disagreement as to the validity of an ID, a host 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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