Events with Alcohol

Student Organization Events with Alcohol Policy & Procedures

Overview & Quick Tips

Student Organization events with alcohol must adhere to the Procedures to Host an Event with Alcohol, GW Student Conduct’s Alcoholic Beverage Consumption & Distribution Policy, and all federal, state, and local laws.

View the Complete Procedures to Host an Event with Alcohol

For graduate and undergraduate students planning events with alcohol, here are some important things to remember during the planning process:

  • We request that you submit the OrgSync form, "Registration for Events with Alcohol" form no less than nine business days in advance of the event.
  • The title of your event must not be related to consumption of alcohol (ie: event cannot be named "Kegs and Eggs").
  • You are expected to communicate with your assigned staff advisor, or the CSE Student Organization Resource Desk about your event prior to completing the registration form.
  • You will need to have one sober monitor present for every estimated fifty attendees (1:50) for graduate student events and one sober monitor present for every estimated twenty-five attendees (1:25) for undergraduate events.
  • You will need to have a primary and secondary contact, who are sober for the event.
  • Food and non-alcoholic beverages have to be provided to guests
  • You must secure an event authority for your event through a recognized security provider or through the third party vendor of your event.
  • Events hosted between Sunday and Thursday must stop serving alcohol by 11:30 p.m.
  • Events hosted on Friday or Saturday must stop serving alcohol by 1:30 a.m.

If you have questions or need guidance during your planning of an event with alcohol, please communicate with your assigned staff advisor or reach out to [email protected]


Procedures to Host an Event with Alcohol

I. Regulations, Requirements and Procedures pertaining to University-sponsored activities registered by Undergraduate, Graduate and Professional student organizations
The following procedures are required to host a university-sponsored activity at which alcohol beverages are consumed, served, or sold:

  1. Student Organizations officially recognized by the Center for Student Engagement are permitted to register a university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages are consumed, served, or sold.  Student Groups and individual students are not permitted to register a university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages are consumed, served, or sold.
  2. Student Organizations wishing to initiate a university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages will be served must comply with all university policies and all applicable federal, state and local laws pertaining to the procurement, sale, and/or distribution of alcoholic beverages.
  3. Student Organizations wishing to initiate a university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages will be served must complete the "Registration for Events with Alcohol" form in OrgSync.
    • Student Organizations must submit a registration form for a sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages will be served for activities, including but not limited to, those that are advertised by, partially or wholly funded by, hosted or co-hosted by, or facilitated on behalf of the Student Organization(s) which take place on or off university premises. 
    • Registration forms must be submitted in OrgSync at least nine (9) business days in advance of the event.
    • Student Organizations will receive an email from the OrgSync system, once the event registration form is submitted, confirming registration. Events are not considered approved until this email is received.
  4. University-sponsored activities at which alcoholic beverages are served may not take place during the time frame to include the day after the last day of classes until the conclusion of final exams. These days include, but are not limited to, university reading days, make-up days, or final exam days.
  5. The presence of an Event Authority is required at any university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages are to be served.
    • Any sponsored activity which is held on university premises must utilize GWPD as the Event Authority.  GWPD will determine the number of Event Authorities needed for the sponsored activity.
    • An Event Authority must have the ability to monitor all areas of the university-sponsored activity, to include all entrances, designated spaces for the activity, and the distribution of alcoholic beverages.
    • Event Authorities must identify all persons who are 21 years of age or older to confirm that those persons are eligible to be served an alcoholic beverage.  Only those persons identified as being over the age of 21 shall be permitted to deliver or consume alcoholic beverages at a sponsored activity and a system, such as wrist bands, shall be used to identify those individuals of legal drinking age.
    • If the sponsored activity is taking place at a Third-Party Vendor site or with a University-Approved Vendor, regardless of location, employees from the respective vendor must be identified as Event Authorities and those individuals will have the same responsibilities as university officials, GWPD officers or representatives of a D.C.-certified security agency.
    • Event Authorities must be notified by the sponsoring organization(s) of the authorized system and procedures pertaining to the distribution of alcoholic beverages prior to the activity taking place (i.e. notification of the "cash bar" system, the "bring-your-own-beverage" (BYOB) system, or the "drink ticket" system).
  6. Student Organizations intending to host or co-host a university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages are consumed, served, or sold must identify the "Primary Contacts" and "Secondary Contacts," for the sponsored activity, on the registration application.
    • The "Primary Contact" will be responsible for the Sponsor(s) overall adherence to university policy and the law at the sponsored activity.  This student will oversee the implementation of the authorized system for the distribution of alcoholic beverages at the sponsored activity (i.e. the "cash bar" system, the "bring-your-own-beverage" (BYOB) system, or the "drink ticket" system).  This individual will work with Event Authorities and any university official in addressing any violation(s) of university policy and the law and in circumstances when the health and safety of attendees may be at risk.
    • The Secondary Contact student will assist the "Primary Contact" in complying with university policy and the law at the sponsored activity and working with Event Authorities and any university official in implementation of the authorized system for the distribution of alcoholic beverages at the sponsored activity (i.e. the "cash bar" system, the "bring-your-own-beverage" (BYOB) system, or the "drink ticket" system).  Examples of responsibilities for the "Secondary Contact" could include the delivery and distribution of alcoholic beverages in exchange for a "drink ticket."
    • "Primary Contacts" and "Secondary Contacts," who fail to adhere to their respective responsibilities at a university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages are served may be subject to removal from the sponsored activity, be ineligible to participate in a sponsored activity in the future in the same role or be subject to administrative and/or disciplinary action by the university.  Should this occur, the student organization(s) that sponsored the activity may also be subject to administrative and/or disciplinary action by the university.
    • "Primary and Secondary Contacts" can count towards the number of required sober monitors.
  7. Student Organizations intending to host or co-host a university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages are consumed, served, or sold must identify the required number of sober monitors for the sponsored activity.
    • Sober monitors are enrolled students in the sponsoring organization(s) who will refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages the day of and during the sponsored activity.
    • Undergraduate Student Organizations must identify at least one (1) sober monitor for every twenty five (25) anticipated attendees at a sponsored activity.  Professional & Graduate School Student Organizations must identify at least one (1) sober monitor for every fifty (50) anticipated attendees at a sponsored activity.
    • The responsibilities of a sober monitor will include but are not limited to, assisting the "Primary Contact," the "Secondary Contacts," Event Authorities, and any university official in addressing any violation(s) of university policy or the law, or assisting in circumstances when the health and safety of attendees may be at risk.  A sober monitor must be aware of and follow the authorized system for the distribution of alcoholic beverages at the sponsored activity (i.e. the "cash bar" system, the "bring-your-own-beverage" (BYOB) system, or the "drink ticket" system) and must stay at the sponsored activity throughout its duration.  A sober monitor will also ensure that food and non-alcoholic beverages are available for consumption at the sponsored activity.
    • Sober monitors, who fail to adhere to their respective responsibilities at a university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages are served may be subject to removal from the sponsored activity, be ineligible to participate in a sponsored activity in the future in the same role, or be subject to administrative and/or disciplinary action by the university.  Should this occur, the student organization(s) that sponsored the activity may also be subject to administrative and/or disciplinary action by the university.
  8. Unless otherwise specified by other published university policies, alcohol may only be served during the following hours:  Sunday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 a.m.
  9. Food and non-alcoholic beverages must be provided for consumption throughout the duration of the sponsored activity.
  10. Drinking contests or games of any kind are not allowed at registered events.
  11. Alcohol cannot be donated for a university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages are consumed, served, or sold.
  12. Businesses or companies in the alcohol industry cannot co-sponsor university-sponsored activities at which alcoholic beverages are consumed, served, or sold.
  13. Advertisements: All advertisements, promotions and social media campaigns for registered events must include the following statement: "Alcohol will be available via the (INSERT DISTRIBUTION METHOD) for individuals 21 and over with a valid, government issued ID."
  14. Beverage Distribution: Alcoholic beverages may be served or sold to individuals who are over the age of 21 at university-sponsored activities under a "cash bar" system, a "drink ticket" system, or a "bring-your-own-beverage" (BYOB) system as described within these procedures.
    • Only one system of alcoholic beverage distribution may be utilized at a university-sponsored activity.
    • Unless otherwise specified by other published university policies, alcoholic beverages may only be served by personnel of a University-Approved Vendor or a Third-Party Vendor that is certified/licensed to serve alcohol, except when utilizing the BYOB system, and must follow the authorized system for the distribution of alcoholic beverages (i.e. the "cash bar" system, or the "drink ticket" system).
    • For activities occurring in the Marvin Center, all servers shall be under the supervision of a manager provided by the University-Approved Vendor.
    • The vendor/server must provide written acknowledgment of its understanding, compliance, and enforcement of these procedures and its respective jurisdictional laws, to include D.C. laws, governing the service of alcohol as part of the registration process.
    • The university expressly prohibits the use of an "open bar" to serve alcoholic beverages at a university-sponsored activity when sponsored by undergraduate, graduate, or professional student organizations.
    • Individuals attending the sponsored activity may not bring alcoholic beverages to or remove alcoholic beverages from the designated area of the sponsored activity, except as specifically provided for in a BYOB system authorized by these procedures.
    • If the sponsored activity is a fundraiser, the "cash bar" distribution system must be utilized. Monies collected from alcohol sales cannot be counted towards funds raised.
  15. Drink Ticket System Activities:
    • A drink ticket must be purchased from a Third-Party Vendor or a University-Approved Vendor to be exchanged for one alcoholic beverage during the university-sponsored activity.
    • Whenever drink tickets are sold, the Third-Party Vendor or a University-Approved Vendor must have a current license or certification within the appropriate jurisdiction associated with the lawful procurement, sale, and/or distribution of alcoholic beverages.
    • Professional & Graduate School Student Organizations, if authorized by their Staff Advisor, may pre-purchase alcoholic beverages from a Third-Party Vendor or a University-Approved Vendor for distribution to persons of legal age during a university-sponsored activity.  In these circumstances, a person of legal age must be provided a drink ticket in order to obtain an alcoholic beverage during the sponsored-activity.
    • A person can purchase/be distributed up to six (6) drink tickets at the university-sponsored activity.  Drink tickets can be purchased/distributed only at the time of an individual’s arrival. The number of drink tickets available for distribution to each person attending a sponsored activity shall be limited depending upon the intended and/or remaining duration of the sponsored activity. The number of tickets available declines in line with the time remaining time of the sponsored activity.
      • Events less than one (1) hour in length or remaining: 1 drink ticket
      • Events one (1) hour in length or remaining: 2 drink tickets
      • Events two (2) hours in length or remaining:  3 drink tickets
      • Events three (3) hours in length or remaining:  4 drink tickets
      • Events four (4) hours in length or remaining:  5 drink tickets
      • Events five (5) hours in length or remaining: 6 drink tickets
  16. BYOB Activities:
    • Each person of legal age may bring a maximum of six (6) twelve (12) ounce cans/plastic bottles of beer, wine coolers or malt beverages.
    • Upon entering the sponsored activity, the alcoholic beverages are to be placed in one central location to be monitored by Sponsors of the activity who are of legal age.  Individuals who possess or handle the distribution of alcoholic beverages through the BYOB system must refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages the day of and during the sponsored activity.
    • A person of legal drinking age who brings an alcoholic beverage(s) will be provided one ticket for each standard drink brought into the sponsored activity.
    • Any person of legal drinking age  who wishes to acquire an alcoholic beverage that he/she brought to the sponsored activity must show his/her wristband and provide the ticket to obtain an alcoholic beverage.   Only one alcoholic beverage may be acquired at a time by a person of legal drinking age.
    • Cases, twelve packs, or other alcohol containers larger than 12 ounce beers, malted beverages, or wine coolers are not permitted at the sponsored activity.  Squeeze bottles, water bottles, pitchers, tumblers or other bulk containers are also not permitted.
    • All persons who handle, transport, serve or distribute alcoholic beverages must be of legal drinking age.
    • All alcoholic beverages brought into or from a sponsored activity must be in a closed and sealed container and the individual in possession of the alcoholic beverage must be at least 21 years of age.
    • At the conclusion of a BYOB activity, a person of legal drinking age may trade in his/her remaining drink tickets in exchange for the respective number of alcoholic beverages.  Once the alcoholic beverages are obtained, the person receiving them must immediately leave the sponsored activity.
    • At the conclusion of a BYOB activity, the sponsoring organization(s) must immediately dispose of any remaining alcoholic beverages.
  17. The Third-Party Vendor, University-Approved Vendor, Event Authority, and the Sponsor(s), are responsible for managing the property during the sponsored activity and have the authority to supervise the delivery, storage, service, consumption, and removal of alcoholic beverages to and from the location of the activity.
    • If the Sponsor(s) violates this Policy or other university policies, or if public safety concerns so warrant, the Third-Party Vendor, the University-Approved Vendor, Event Authority, a university official, and law enforcement officials shall have the absolute right to terminate the activity or the service of alcoholic beverages at the activity.
    • If directed to terminate the sponsored activity, the Sponsor(s) must immediately cease the activity.
  18. Sponsors are responsible for the behavior and conduct of their members and their guests at any sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages are consumed, served, or sold.  Violations of law, these Procedures, or other university policies at an activity at which alcoholic beverages are consumed, served, or sold may result in administrative or disciplinary action for the hosting or co-hosting student organization or the respective individual students.
  19. Should a violation of university policy be determined prior to a sponsored activity taking place, the assigned Staff Advisor in the Center for Student Engagement, the Staff Advisor of a respective Academic College or university department, Health Promotion and Prevention Services, or the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities shall have the absolute right to immediately cancel the sponsored activity’s registration.  Should this occur, the Sponsor(s) must immediately cancel the sponsored activity.
  20. Should violations of university policy or the law occur at a sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages are served, which are observed by the Sponsor(s), Event Authority, university officials, including GWPD officers, a law enforcement agency, representatives of a D.C.-certified security agency, a Third-Party vendor, or a University-Approved Vendor, those individuals are authorized to take appropriate action to resolve the violation, to include the termination of the sponsored activity.
  21. Pursuant to university policies governing undergraduate and graduate Student Organizations entering into binding contracts with non-university companies, contracts between Third-Party Vendors & University-Approved Vendors and Student Organizations must be submitted to the assigned Staff Advisor at least 6-8 weeks prior to the intended activity’s date.  All contracts are to be reviewed by the Staff Advisor and must comply with these procedures.
  22. Promotion and publicity of sponsored activities cannot occur until the activity is approved and registered and must follow these procedures and the other published guidelines of the university’s Posting Policies, including but not limited to the following policies:
  23. Promotion and publicity material for a sponsored activity, including but not  limited to, banners, posters, palm cards, flyers, or any form of electronic media, etc. may not advertise personal messages, promote or emphasize illegal activity, drugs, alcohol, sexual situations, or contain sexual innuendos.
  24. Publicity in the residential facilities must follow guidelines of the Poster Policy, published by GW Housing.

II. Amendments and Modifications
1.  The George Washington University reserves the right to update and modify any of the terms and regulations contained within these Procedures, at any time and in our sole discretion, by posting a change notice or a new procedure on our website.
2.  Health Promotion and Prevention Services, within the Division of Student Affairs, is the responsible university office for these procedures.  You can review the most current version of the terms and regulations of these Procedures at any time on this site.


Appendices
Appendix A: Investigation and adjudication of violations pertaining to university-sponsored activities at which alcoholic beverages are served.

  1. All reported violations of these Procedures pertaining to undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students, student organizations or groups shall be referred to the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities, which may investigate the matter for administrative and/or disciplinary action pursuant to the "Code of Student Conduct."
    • Individual students who violate these Procedures may be charged and sanctioned, if found in violation, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the "Code of Student Conduct."
    • Student organizations or groups that violate these Procedures may be charged and sanctioned, if found in violation, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the "Code of Student Conduct."
  2. Student organizations or groups that violate these Procedures may face sanctions, including but not limited to, required educational sessions or meetings for its membership, the revocation of the organization's eligibility to sponsor activities with alcoholic beverages, the restriction of the organization’s ability to sponsor activities with alcoholic beverages, and/or revocation of the organization’s official registration with the university.
  3. While an alleged violation of these Procedures is being investigated, the university, which includes but is not limited to, an academic college or university department, the Center for Student Engagement, the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities, and Health Promotion and Prevention Services, reserves the absolute right to revoke the registration for any pending university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages may be served for the sponsoring organization(s).
  4. During the investigation and/or as the result of administrative or disciplinary action taken against the sponsoring organization(s) by the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities, the sponsoring organization(s) shall be informed of the decision regarding their ability to host, co-host or register a future university-sponsored activity at which alcoholic beverages are consumed, served, or sold.

Appendix B - Definitions

  1.  "Event Authorities" of a university-sponsored activity, include but are not limited to university officials (for example, GWPD officers, or other university employees), representatives of a D.C.-certified security agency, and individuals employed by a  Third-Party Vendor or a University-Approved Vendor, who will provide services (for example, age verification) at such activities.
  2. The "bring-your-own-beverage" (BYOB) system approved by the university is defined as: Each person of legal age may bring a maximum of six (6) twelve (12) ounce cans/plastic bottles of beer, wine coolers or malt beverages.
  3. The "cash bar" system approved by the university is defined the purchase of an alcoholic beverage from a Third-Party Vendor or a University-Approved Vendor with cash, to include the use of a credit/debit card, whether the activity is to take place on or off university premises.
  4. The "drink ticket" system approved by the university is defined as a single ticket exchanged for a single alcoholic beverage.
  5. "Legal age" means 21 years of age or older.
  6. An "open bar" system approved by the university is defined as university-sponsored activity at which consumption is not limited and distribution of alcoholic beverages is provided at no cost to individuals.
  7. The "Primary Contact" is sober and responsible for the student organization’s overall adherence to university policy and the law at the sponsored activity.
  8. "Staff Advisor" is the staff member assigned as the staff advisor to the student organization. Advisor assignments are made by the Center for Student Engagement. Organizations that do not have a staff advisor should utilize the Student Organization Resource Desk and [email protected].
  9. The "Secondary Contact" is sober and will assist the "Primary Contact" in complying with university policy and the law at the sponsored activity.
  10. "Sober monitor" is a member of the student organization that is sponsoring the activity. They are required to refrain from consuming alcohol the day of and for the duration of the sponsored activity.
  11. "Sponsors" of a university-sponsored activity means the student(s), or student organization(s) initiating, conducting, directing, or supervising the activity.
  12. "Student" means any currently enrolled person, full-time or part-time, or on continuous enrollment, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies, whether or not in pursuit of a degree or any form of certificate of completion.
  13. "Student group" means students who are associated with each other, but who have not complied with formal university requirements for registration as a student organization.
  14. "Student organization" means any number of students who have complied with university requirements for registration with the Center for Student Engagement as a student organization.
  15. "Third-Party Vendors" means business establishments maintaining a current license or certification associated with the lawful procurement, sale, and/or distribution of alcoholic beverages in their respective jurisdictions.
  16. "University" means the George Washington University and all of its undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, divisions and programs.
  17. "University-Approved Vendors" means Third-Party Vendors that have been approved by the university for work at university-sponsored activities.
  18. "University premises" means buildings or grounds owned or leased by the university, or in which the university has an ownership interest, including, but not limited to, buildings or grounds in which students reside and university food service facilities are located; Marvin Center facilities; Columbia Plaza; and facilities operated in the name of any officially registered student organization.  This definition is not limited to buildings or grounds owned or leased by the university at the Foggy Bottom campus.
  19. "University-sponsored activities" means events and activities initiated by a student, student organization, or university department, faculty member, or employee that: Are expressly authorized, aided, conducted, or supervised by the university; or  Are funded in whole or in part by the university; or Are initiated and conducted or promoted by an officially-registered student organization, university department, faculty member or employee.