Alcohol Policy for Undergraduate Student Events

Undergraduate students and student groups are afforded the privilege of serving alcohol at certain events. With this privilege come expectations regarding the safety and welfare of those in attendance.

Students are expected to know and abide by all applicable state and federal laws and university policies and procedures. Students are responsible for their own behavior; however, if alcohol is a part of an event, student organizers and sponsors must share in our efforts to provide a safe environment for the attendees.

All events with alcohol need to be registered online through Event Builder found on Portfolio. Approval for the event should be obtained on Event Builder no less than 15 business days before the event is scheduled to take place. Note: Failure to obtain approval for an event with alcohol on Event Builder in this time frame will likely lead to the event being rescheduled or cancelled.

To access Event Builder the student planning it should log in to Portfolio, select the organization’s portfolio page, select “Events,” then “+Create Event.” Note: Only officers within the organization who have been granted permission to create events will be able to put information on Event Builder and submit events for approval. To give permission, an administrator for the organization’s portfolio page will need to grant permission to appropriate members for this task. Information on how to manage an organization’s roster on Portfolio’s roster is available under the welcome page of Portfolio.

Fraternities and Sororities governed by Inter-fraternity Council and Women’s Panhellenic Association should refer to Social Management and Training Guidelines set forth by their national/international organizations.

Eligibility to Sponsor an Event with Alcohol

Students who plan to undertake the responsibility of planning an event with alcohol a “Programming with Alcohol Workshop” early in the event planning process. These workshops are offered by Student Involvement and Leadership staff once a month. See the Student Involvement website for details.

Responsible Contacts

At least four individuals, including but not limited to those who are planning the event, must be designated “Responsible Contacts.” More may be required based on the size, type and location of the event. Training for those wanting to serve as responsible contacts is offered by SIL staff twice a month. See the Student Involvement website for details.

New members to the community and/or organization are not to serve in this role. Responsible contacts are expected to oversee the implementation of these policy guidelines throughout the entire event. They agree not to consume any alcohol during any portion of the event, including set-up, clean-up and through transportation back to the university. The responsible contacts must remain the same individuals throughout the entire event.

Focus and Publicity

Alcohol may not be the main focus of an event. Alcohol may not be mentioned on publicity for the event.

Events open to the general public and/or advertised off campus are not permitted to include alcohol as part of their event.


On and off campus events where alcohol is served will be held at approved venues/spaces. A list of approved venues/spaces can be found on the SIL website and on a drop down menu located within Event Builder. Additional information including menu options, pricing, etc. can be found in venue folders located in the SIL office. It is important to note that the approval of new venues can take up to 30 days. Groups are asked to plan accordingly.

Venues/spaces where undergraduate events with alcohol take place should provide space that is clearly set apart from the rest of the facility if it is open to other patrons or groups. Ideally the student group event will be held in a separate room. If attendees leave the space where the event is taking place, they cannot return.

All events must conclude and be completely cleaned up by 2 a.m., or one hour before the venue closes, whichever is earlier.


When alcohol is present at an event off campus, transportation must be provided by the group hosting the event. It is expected that attendees avail themselves of transportation both to and from the event. Buses and other vehicles used for this purpose need to be registered with the Parking and Transportation Office. For information on the bus policies, please refer to Parking & Transportation Services.

Alcohol Types

  • Beer and wine are permitted.
  • Hard liquor, including but not limited to grain alcohol, punches or any mixed drinks are not permitted at events.
  • Glass bottles are not permitted on campus and are discouraged at off campus venues.

Distribution of Alcohol

Distribution of alcohol is only permitted through a third party vendor with a valid liquor license. Appropriately credentialed third party server(s) must always be present; alcohol cannot be left unattended. A central point of distribution must be designated to allow for proper identification.

Only one cup at a time, not to exceed 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine, may be served to attendees of legal age. The responsible contacts and security staff are responsible for ensuring alcohol does not leave the event. If a person appears to be intoxicated, he or she is not to be served. Alcohol distribution must conclude 30 minutes before the event ends.

The selling of alcohol may not be a fundraiser for the sponsoring group.

Limitation on Free or Subsidized Alcoholic Beverages

Student Union groups hosting an event with alcohol may use money in their SU fundraising account to provide up to three alcoholic beverages free or at a reduced cost to each guest of legal age for consumption during the entirely of the event. Tabbed wristbands will be distributed to attendees 21 years or older to track the number of free/subsidized drinks received. Alcoholic beverages ordered in excess of the limit (no more than three) will be charged at full price to the individual student ordering the drink.

Food and Nonalcoholic Beverages

Equally attractive non-alcoholic beverages and nonsalty foods must be readily available, free and visible. Water must be one of the nonalcoholic beverages. Food must be available when the alcohol distribution begins and replenished as necessary throughout the event. Food options should be substantial for the purpose of offsetting the effects of alcohol. Suggested food options include pizza, pasta, sandwiches and heavy appetizers.

Attendance and Proper Identification

For participants who intend to consume alcohol, Washington University identification, with valid driver’s licenses or state/federal issued identification cards must be checked at the point of entrance. Fake identification will be confiscated, and the student risks a referral to the University Judicial Administrator and/or off-campus authorities in addition to university fines up to $500. The line for admission should be in a well-lit area and well-organized. A security guard will be responsible for checking for proof of legal age and affixing wristbands.

Individuals under the age of 21 must show Washington University identification and will receive a wristband of a different color with no drink tabs affixed to it. A responsible contact from the planning group must remain at this location throughout the event to monitor compliance with these guidelines.

Guest Policy/Sign-In

At events where guests are permitted, each Washington university student is allowed to bring one guest and is responsible for the conduct of his or her guest. Guests must enter with their hosts. Guest misconduct could lead to a referral to the University Judicial Administrator for the Washington University student, and the guest could be subject to prosecution off campus. Verification of age and identity will be required of all attendees at the entrance to the event (driver’s license or state/federal issued identification card) and guests, along with their student hosts, must sign in. The sponsoring group must develop a system for identifying and tracking guests. The process of signing in guests must be managed by a responsible Contact. The completed guest list must be turned in at the end of the event for inclusion in the event packet.

Guests Under 18 and Prospective Freshmen

Guests under 18 years of age are not permitted at events where alcohol is present. Prospective freshmen, regardless of their age, are not permitted to attend events where alcohol is served.

Expectations of Responsible Contacts

Responsible contacts are required to introduce themselves to the security guards, venue representative and Washington University Police. One responsible contact should serve as the primary liaison with these individuals/agencies. A responsible contact should be stationed at the following locations: the entrance to the event, where buses are being boarded by event participants, and on each bus going to the venue or returning to the university.

The responsible contacts agree to end an event where these guidelines are not being followed or other significant problems arise jeopardizing the security of the event or safety of students. Security staff should be available to assist in closing down an event per the contacts’ request. When events take place on campus, University Police are also available to assist with closing down an event. University staff may close an event at any time if the security of event is jeopardized or the safety of students is at risk. A university staff/faculty/adviser may be required to attend large scale events.

Security Staffing and Expectations

Trained security staff is required at all undergraduate events with alcohol. For events on campus this staff will come from a licensed and bonded security company; however, some off-campus venues may prefer to have their own staff serve in this capacity. A detailed security plan is required on Event Builder. Such plans must be prepared and reviewed with assistance from a WUPD representative. Information regarding who will be providing security must also be provided. Responsible contacts agree to ensure that security staff is in place to serve in the capacities is outlined below.

For all events requiring security, a minimum ratio of three guards plus one additional guard for every 50 attendees is required. The sponsoring group is responsible for contacting and arranging for guards or ensuring the venue provides appropriate security staff. The stationing of guards must be determined prior to the event, and the plan must be submitted through Event Builder and reviewed before approval for the event will be given.

At least one guard is to be stationed at the main entrance of the event to check for Washington University student identification, monitor guest policy, and help determine if anyone appearing to be intoxicated should be refused entry. A second guard will be assigned to the point of alcohol distribution to check identification for proof of legal age and assist with pulling drink tabs from wristbands. Other guards will serve as a roamer and will be responsible for monitoring legal drinking, access to event space and monitoring all entrances. Additional guards may be required based on the nature of the event and expected attendance. Security costs are the responsibility of the sponsoring group.

An event packet will be prepared by SIL staff. This packet will include:

  • A printed copy of the approved Event Builder plan
  • Wristbands, both with tabs for those who are 21 years or older and wristbands without tabs for attendees who are under 21
  • Postevent evaluation forms for completion by both security staff and responsible contacts

The event packet will be left at WUPD station on the South 40 for pick up by a member of the security staff hired for the event.


At the end of the event, completed postevent evaluation forms (in sealed envelopes provided), extra wristbands and the completed guest list will be placed back in the packet and returned to WUPD by a representative of the security company. It is the responsibility of the students completing postevent evaluations to note any issues or concerns that arose during the course of the event.

Washington University Police Department

By way of the Undergraduate Events with Alcohol Registration Form, WUPD will be notified of all on campus programs where alcohol has been requested and may require the presence of officers, or will schedule random patrols as deemed necessary. Additional costs associated with Washington University Police may be incurred and will be the responsibility of the sponsoring group.

Emergency Service Team (EST)/Clayton Emergency Medical Team

Some large events may require EST and/or Clayton Emergency Medical Team. It is the responsibility of the sponsoring group to make arrangements and cover all expenses. EST must be contacted 10 working days in advance. EST will require a space to set up their operation and will need to be in radio contact with the responsible contacts and security.

Postevent Clean-Up of the Event with Alcohol

For any event on campus where alcohol is being served, the student planning the event must make arrangements for custodial  services of WFF and/or Top Care (for events outdoors), when the space reservation is made. Service requests should include additional trash cans and recycling bins. Large events must have cleaning staff during the hours of the event to remove trash and clean restroom facilities. All expenses are the responsibility of the sponsoring group.

Expectations Regarding Compliance

A reminder, students and members of student groups who knowingly or recklessly violate a published university policy, rule or regulation; or participate in conduct which one should reasonably know to be a violation of a published university policy, rule or regulation may be found to be in violation of the University Judicial Code. Sanctions for such violations include, but are not limited to, loss of room reservation privileges, loss of funding and loss of group recognition as well as a referral to the University Judicial Administrator or other conduct official for the purpose of review for consideration of further appropriate action.

Updated as of Feb. 1, 2013