Registering social events at Penn
As part of the University’s community care efforts, all student groups must register social events they would like to host on campus, at an off-campus residence, or at a third-party venue. This includes all events where alcohol will be served as well as dry social events. All Penn community members are expected to review the University Alcohol and Other Drug Policy.
To help students manage risk, University Life provides professional bartending and security services at social events happening on or near campus that have been registered by undergraduate and graduate/professional student groups. Costs for these services are automatically subsidized for up to four (4) events per semester per student group. There is no separate process to receive funds; University Life will book and pay for these services for events cleared to move forward.
What's on this page
Registering events with alcohol
All members of the Penn student community—undergraduate, graduate, or professional—are expected to follow University policies and local, state, and federal laws always. These expectations extend to social events you may host, whether in on-campus spaces (such as fraternity houses or Houston Hall), off-campus residences, or third-party venues (such as restaurants).
All student organizations are required to register social events with alcohol, regardless of where the event will be held. Student group leaders should submit the appropriate registration form by the specified deadline and await response from University Life and/or an advisor (if applicable). Student groups should not publicize their event until they have received formal confirmation from staff.
Registering events without alcohol
Student organizations wishing to hold social events without alcohol should complete and submit a Dry Events form for review. This process does not apply to dry events for which student groups have already reserved space on campus (e.g., for meetings, speakers, grab-n-go events). Ultimately, registering social events without alcohol helps our Event Observer team and Penn Police differentiate between events on the weekends and assist hosts in maintaining a dry environment.
Costs associated with hosting social events
To help students manage risk, University Life provides professional bartending and security services at social events happening on or near campus that have been registered by undergraduate and graduate/professional student groups. Costs for these services are automatically subsidized for up to four (4) events per semester per student group. After those four events, student groups are responsible for the costs of bartender(s) and security. Staffing a registered event with alcohol can range in cost from approximately $500 – $850 (some events could cost less; others might cost more). This depends upon various factors such as the length of the event, the time of day, the number of staff, etc.
For events at third-party venues, student groups are responsible for any costs agreed upon with venue. Regardless of event location, student groups must also provide food and non-alcoholic beverages for their guests. Per the University AOD policy, at any event at which alcohol will be served, sufficient quantities of non-alcoholic beverages and food must be available to guests without cost.
Register your event
Are you ready to register your social event? That depends! Click through the tabs below to answer key questions before you submit your registration for review.
What type of social event would we like to host? What’s the purpose of our event? What would we like your community to get out of the event?
- Will alcohol be served at this event, or will it be a dry event? Dry events for which students can reserve space on campus are not required to register through University Life (e.g., organizational meetings, grab-n-go events, etc.). A dry social event taking place at an off-campus residence should submit a Dry Events form.
- Is there a theme? Themes that could be interpreted as cultural appropriation and/or cause harm to specific groups/identities will not be tolerated.
- What kinds of activities would guests enjoy doing?
Submit your registration form
Event registration for the fall 2022 semester will open on Monday, August 15. The first day student groups can host a registered event is Thursday, September 1. Any registration forms submitted for an event prior to September 1 will not be reviewed.
Please submit the appropriate event registration form based upon where you plan to host your social event—on campus or at an off-campus residence (blue button) or at a third-party venue (red button). If you’ll be hosting a dry social event with no alcohol, access the appropriate form via the gray button. Note: dry events taking place at third-party venues should still register by clicking the red button and completing our third-party venue form.
Groups should submit their registration for an event with alcohol at least two weeks prior to the event date. For dry social events, registration should be submitted at least one week before the event date.
Policies & guidelines
All members of the Penn student community—undergraduate, graduate, or professional—are expected to follow University policies and local, state, and federal laws always. These expectations extend to social events you may host, whether in on-campus spaces, off-campus residences, or third-party venues. Please read more about relevant policies and guidelines related to hosting a social event below.
- Code of Student Conduct
- The University Alcohol and Other Drug Policy – Provides more information about…
- General rules governing the use of alcohol
- Rules governing alcohol use at registered undergraduate social events
- Rules governing alcohol use at registered graduate and professional student social events
- Relevant federal and state laws
- Sober host monitors
- Drinking contests or games of any sort are expressly prohibited.
- No registered events may be held in basements or on rooftops, whether in on-campus or off-campus residences.
- Any event—registered or not—at which guests are in the basement, on the roof, and/or at risk of falling (e.g., in windows, on walls) will be shut down.
- Kegs of any amount of beer are not permitted at student-run events and are not allowed in any University-managed undergraduate residence.
- When an entity without a liquor license is providing service of alcohol (e.g., at events in off-campus residences or on-campus spaces), the following is prohibited per Pennsylvania law:
- Sales of alcoholic beverages at a cash bar
- Sales of tickets or entrance fees to an event where alcohol is served
- Donations or reimbursements to support the cost of an event where alcohol is served
- Sales of drink tickets or inclusion of drink tickets in entry fees at events where alcohol is served
- No University funds may be used to purchase alcohol for any event sponsored by an undergraduate organization.
- Advertisements/branding of social events should not center around nor promote the availability of alcohol at the event.
- Many University undergraduate student organizations are subject to policies regarding the possession and consumption of alcohol imposed by a parent organization.
- If the policies governing an individual organization impose more restrictive regulations regarding alcohol possession and consumption it will be necessary for that organization to follow its parent organization’s policies or risk sanctions. If, however, the parent organization permits the possession or consumption of alcohol where otherwise prohibited by University policy, the organization must comply with the University’s policy, notwithstanding its parent organization’s rules.
- Organizations such as athletic teams or performing arts groups may be subject to additional expectations by coaches, advisors, or sponsors.
- Organizations that live in, and host events at, private off-campus residences are subject to additional expectations set forth in rental agreements/leases and in personal communications with landlords.
- Social fraternities at Penn belong to the IGC and IFC Councils. All NIC (North American Interfraternity Conference) and/or IFC-member fraternities follow the NIC Standard Operating Procedures to enhance safety measures at events. Some of these include:
- The presence of alcohol products above 15% alcohol by volume (ABV) (“hard alcohol”) is prohibited on any chapter/organization premises or at any event, except served by a licensed and insured third-party venue
- Events with alcohol are limited to a 3:1 maximum guest-to-member ratio, meaning the total attendance must not be greater than three times the chapter’s total active membership. For all events, attendance must not exceed the local fire or building code capacity of the host venue.
- Attendance by non-members at any event where alcohol is present must be by invitation only, and the organization must utilize a guest list system.
- Bartending staff provided by University Life are responsible for serving the alcohol provided by the event host(s).
- Items such as cups, napkins, ice, etc. must also be provided by the host(s).
- Serving alcohol from glass containers is not recommended.
- Service of alcohol at all on-campus registered events must end no later than 1 a.m.; events may continue until 2 a.m.
- Generally, events with alcohol should not exceed more than four hours.
- Security staff provided by University Life is responsible for checking guests’ state-issued IDs at the entrance to the event and providing wristbands to those who are 21+ years old (to indicate they are of legal drinking age).
- If security will not be present, host(s) should discuss with the Program Coordinator for Community Care and/or their advisor an alternative plan to ensure only guests of legal drinking age are consuming alcohol at the event.
- In partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Police Department (UPPD), University Life’s Event Observers are responsible for working with host(s) to manage risk and promote student safety at events happening on campus or in an off-campus residence.
- Event host(s) and guests are expected to comply with UPPD and Event Observers’ requests and act respectfully.
- Even if your organization has registered your event, UPPD and/or the Event Observers can still shut down the event.
2022-2023 key dates
2022 Fall Semester
Monday, August 15 → Registration opens for events beginning on September 1
Friday, August 19 → Last day to submit registrations for social events happening September 1-4
Tuesday, August 30 → First day of classes
Thursday, September 1 → First day to host registered social events for undergraduate & graduate/professional student communities
Monday, September 5 → Labor Day (no classes)
October 6-9 → Fall Term Break
October 14-15 → Last days to submit registrations for social events happening October 27-29 (Halloween)
October 27-28 → Last day to submit registrations for social events happening November 11-13 (Family Weekend)
November 24-27 → Thanksgiving Break
Sunday, December 11 → Final day to host registered social events for undergraduate student community
Monday, December 12 → Last day of classes
December 13-14 → Reading Days
December 15-22 → Final Examinations
Saturday, December 17 → Final day to host registered social events for graduate/professional student communities
2023 Spring Semester
Friday, January 6 → Last day to submit registrations for social events happening January 19-21
Wednesday, January 11 → First day of classes
Monday, January 16 → MLK, Jr. Day observed (no classes)
Thursday, January 19 → TENTATIVE: First day to host registered social events for undergraduate & graduate/professional student communities
March 2-3 → Last days to submit registrations for social events happening March 16-18 (St. Patrick’s Day weekend)
March 4-12 → Spring Term Break
Saturday, April 22 → TENTATIVE: Final day to host registered social events for undergraduate student community
Wednesday, April 26 → Last day of classes
April 27-30 → Reading Days
April 27-28 → Last day to submit registrations for social events happening May 11-14 (Alumni Weekend)
May 1-9 → Final examinations
May 11-14 → Registered social events hosted by ALUMNI are permitted
Sunday, May 14 → TENTATIVE: Final day to host registered social events for graduate/professional student communities
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Before a social event...
Social event registration is the process through which all student groups at Penn—whether undergraduate, graduate, or professional—register events they would like to host on campus, at an off-campus residence, or at a third-party venue. Event registration promotes safe social environments within our community; it is a process to help manage risk, reduce harm, and look out for one another. It is a highly collaborative endeavor involving Penn students, staff, and neighbors and a key component of the University’s broader community care efforts.
That depends! If the primary purpose of your event is to socialize, it’s likely you should register the event with University Life. Events with alcohol must always be registered; dry social events happening in off-campus residences or at third-party venues should also be registered. Other dry events on campus such as organizational meetings, grab-n-go-giveaways, speakers, etc. do not need to be registered with University Life.
Events that are not registered—or, unregistered events—that are visited by UPPD and/or the Event Observers will be shut down and accountability measures will be discussed.
Event registration is chiefly for student-hosted social events, or parties. The process is in place to help ensure compliance with University policies and to promote safe, successful events within the Penn community. Reserving a space on campus is a separate process. After all, student groups can reserve space on campus for a variety of reasons. If you’re looking for a space to host your group, University Life Space & Events is a great place to start.
If you are looking to host a social event with alcohol in an on-campus space, registering the event with University Life does not guarantee your ability to use the space; approval to use a space for this purpose is up to the building manager or team. The Program Coordinator for Community Care is always happy to share ideas for spaces, discuss options, and make recommendations for next steps.
Yes! Groups should submit their registration for an event with alcohol at least two weeks prior to the event date. For dry social events, registrations should be submitted at least one week before the event date. Registrations submitted after these deadlines may result in the event being cancelled or rescheduled. For key dates to keep in mind as you’re planning events, check out the 2022-2023 key dates section.
That’s okay! While it’s important to have answers to the Who, What, When, Where, and How of your event before you register, we understand some details may still be taking shape. If you’re unable or unsure how to answer certain questions on the event registration form, simply make note of that, and the Program Coordinator for Community Care will follow up with any questions or concerns. It’s most important to make sure your form is submitted by the appropriate deadline for your event date.
No; submitting the appropriate registration form for your event is just the first step. Student groups should not publicize their event until they have received formal confirmation from staff that the event can move forward.
Next, that form is reviewed by the Program Coordinator for Community Care (Emily)—often in consultation with other offices such as OFSL or OSA—with an eye toward abiding by the University AOD Policy and other risk management best practices. Emily reaches out to the event host with any questions or concerns and/or sets up a meeting to further discuss the details. Emily or your group’s advisor will soon confirm if the event can move forward, and, if applicable, bartending and security arrangements will be made on your group’s behalf. Before your event gets underway, you’ll receive one final email with important information and resources to help ensure your event is a success.
It happens! However, some details are easier to change than others, especially if various staff members have already been made aware of your group’s original plans. As soon as a change comes up, please reach out to the Program Coordinator for Community Care by email/phone. They will advise on next steps, which could include submitting a new registration form.
Great question! Check out the Policies and guidelines section of this page to learn more. You’re also welcome to set up a meeting with the Program Coordinator for Community Care for further discussion.
During a social event...
From the University Alcohol and Other Drug Policy…
Each member of our intellectual community is responsible for his or her own actions and is expected to contribute to the Penn community and to respect the rights of others to participate in the academic and social life of the University. The following Alcohol and Other Drug Policy, with its emphasis on individual and shared responsibility, healthy and informed decision-making, maintaining a caring environment, and the promotion of genuine dialogue, is adopted in this spirit.
Put simply: Event hosts are responsible for hosting a safe event. This includes compliance with fire and life safety codes, having safe entrances and exits to the event, ensuring alcohol is responsibly consumed only by guests of legal drinking age, and more. Fortunately, by registering your event, you are engaging in thoughtful planning toward this goal with the help of Penn staff who are committed to students’ safety and wellbeing.
We understand events don’t always go as planned, and, if that happens, the important thing to do is reach out for help. University Life’s Event Observers are a great support resource and will be checking in with lead event contacts throughout the event. Don’t hesitate to ask for their help with troubleshooting any issues that may arise. For emergencies, save this number (do it now!):
- Penn Police Department: 215-573-3333 or 511 from a campus phone
- This is also the number to call to reach the Penn Medical Emergency Response Team, or MERT.
Yes. Medical Amnesty protects you from getting in trouble when you seek medical help for yourself or a friend due to alcohol or other drug use.
University Alcohol and Other Drug Policy, Section II, paragraph A3:
In cases of intoxication and/or alcohol poisoning, the primary concern is the health and safety of the individual(s) involved. Individuals are strongly encouraged to call for medical assistance for themselves or for a friend/acquaintance who is dangerously intoxicated. No student seeking medical treatment for an alcohol or other drug-related overdose will be subject to University discipline for the sole violation of using or possessing alcohol or drugs. This policy shall extend to another student seeking help for the intoxicated student.
The Event Observer (EO) team is comprised of part-time, temporary staff within University Life. Event Observers play an important role in our collective effort to manage risk, reduce harm, and foster a sense of belonging among all members of our community. They provide on-the-ground support during student social events—even in the late-night hours—which consists of checking in/communicating with the lead event contact(s), troubleshooting any issues, and helping to ensure guests’ safety in partnership with Penn Police.
EOs are not there to shut down any and all events; they will, however, address and shut down social events that are escalating in risk and/or events that were not registered with University Life.
Sober host monitors are members of the host organization who volunteer to serve in this role and, therefore, may not consume any alcoholic beverages during or immediately prior to the event. Per the University AOD policy, sober host monitors “have participated in training or taken other steps to develop the ability to, wherever possible (l) handle emergency situations, (2) respond to alcohol-related medical concerns, (3) identify and intervene with overly intoxicated guests, whether or not they require medical treatment, (4) and take any necessary steps to protect the health and safety of guests.”
There should be at least one sober host monitor for every 30 guests at events happening on campus or at an off-campus residence, or one monitor for every 50 guests at an off-campus third-party venue. Sober host monitors must be designated in advance of each event during the event registration process. Sober hosts must remain sober for the duration of the event.
It’s important to make sure your event ends at the time indicated on your registration form. Event Observers will know the timing of the event and expect host(s) to take steps to end the party on time. Also, service of alcohol at all on-campus registered events must end no later than 1 a.m., though events may continue until 2 a.m. Event Observers will confirm that any alcohol has been locked away at 1 a.m. Lastly, what’s your plan for cleaning up, especially as it relates to any trash that ended up outside and could negatively impact neighbors?
After a social event...
Should a group host an unregistered event, the Program Coordinator for Community Care shares that with the organization’s advisor and other relevant partners to create an accountability plan, identify opportunities for learning, and get future events registered. If warranted, Penn’s Center for Community Standards and Accountability (CSA) may become involved. The group may also be put on pause, meaning they wouldn’t be allowed to host registered events for a certain amount of time.
Please reach out and share that with Program Coordinator for Community Care Emily Giffin. Thank you in advance for helping us grow and continuously improve as a community!
Still have questions?
Please reach out to Emily Giffin, Program Coordinator for Community Care, for additional support.
The social event registration process is chiefly for student-hosted events. University Life does not subsidize the cost of bartenders and/or security at social events hosted by Penn staff or faculty. However, you are welcome to reach out to Program Coordinator for Community Care Emily Giffin if you would like assistance making staff arrangements, and she will connect your directly with someone who can help.
Resources & additional considerations
- Looking for a supplier for event-related services? Visit Penn Procurement Services for more information. You can use the Supplier Search tool to find approved/preferred contract suppliers by name, type, commodity (e.g., catering), postal code, or classification (e.g., woman-owned).
- Learn more about the University Alcohol and Other Drug Policy, including the requirement that sufficient quantities of non-alcoholic beverages and food must be available to guests without cost at any event at which alcohol will be served.
- If most of your attendees will be Penn students under the age of 21, please reach out to Emily to discuss options for security that will help ensure safe, legal consumption of alcohol.