Student Handbook

Planning an Event Where Alcohol Will be Served

Revised August 21, 2018

The following procedures and guidelines are provided to encourage responsible use of alcohol when it is provided at events. The University reserves the right to prohibit consumption of alcohol at certain events and in certain facilities. It further reserves the right to limit the days and hours of social events, the way alcohol is served and the amounts of alcohol that may be made available at a given event. Conversely, the University may stipulate areas where such beverages may be consumed under special and unique circumstances.

Initial Planning

Members of the sponsoring organization must meet with the Dean of Students at least ten days in advance of the event to discuss all aspects of the event. The meeting should occur before any commitments for purchases or contracts need to be made. (Those expected to attend must be indicated.)

Responsible Hosts

Sponsoring student groups must provide between 5 and 8 trained individuals for every 100 guests expected in attendance. Training will be held at least twice each semester. Individuals who are responsible for monitoring the entrance, checking IDs, supplying refreshments or generally hosting the events are responsible for all aspects of the event, including controlling the entrance and exits, refreshments and the condition of the facility following the events.

Distribution of Alcohol

  1. It is essential that every effort be made to assure that no one under 21 is served alcohol. Wristbands or hand stamps will be used to designate individuals who have provided proof that they are at least 21.
  2. Only those individuals with proper wristbands or hand stamps can be served alcohol.
  3. Alcohol should be directly handed to individuals who have the appropriate wristband or hand stamps.
  4. No alcohol can be consumed by those behind the bar or serving.
  5. No one should be served alcohol to or beyond the point of intoxication.
  6. Only one beverage per person is to be served at a time.
  7. The bar should close at least a half hour before the ending time of the event. Other refreshments must continue to be available.
  8. Alcohol should never be the main attraction.
  9. Adequate supply of food other than snacks must be provided along with alternative beverages.
  10. Alcohol cannot be sold without a liquor license.


In publicity of events alcohol cannot be specifically referred to by words, symbols or designs.

Host, Hostess and Bartender Liability

Pennsylvania courts have held that if a person is furnished alcohol illegally to the point of intoxication, and as a result, injures himself or someone else, the person furnishing the alcohol can be held liable for the injury. Involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges have been successfully filed against establishments and individuals that have served visibly intoxicated minors who were injured or killed in alcohol-related incidents.

Managing Legal Risks

Social hosts, servers or organizations risk being sued each time they hold a social function. Damages for alcohol-related injuries and deaths have ranged from a few thousand dollars to over $21 million. Even if the lawsuit is unsuccessful, legal fees can still pose a substantial financial burden for the defendant.