A. Overview

The Social Event Policy reflects the student social climate that the Gettysburg College community strives to establish and maintain regarding campus social life, including the appropriate role of the use of alcoholic beverages by community members. Its success depends on the cooperative efforts of students, faculty, administration, and alumni in both understanding and upholding the spirit of personal responsibility and respect for self and others that is embodied in this Policy.

The Social Event Policy also reflects the College’s goals around safety, well-being, and inclusiveness. Student social events must promote safe and informed alcohol use and support the care of all community members and guests. The environments of social events must be free of harassment, discrimination, violence, and sexual violence.

The College supports the choice not to drink alcohol and actively discourages and sanctions the irresponsible use of alcohol. In compliance with Pennsylvania laws and the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, the College does not approve of the consumption of alcohol by students or guests under the age of 21, on or off the campus. Inappropriate behavior involving the furnishing or consumption of alcoholic beverages will result in appropriate disciplinary proceedings and penalties. The College recognizes and cooperates with law enforcement authorities in their enforcement efforts pertaining to alcohol, and will seek to educate students about the use, abuse, and laws pertaining to alcohol.

B. Alcohol/Drug Related Emergency Response

Through its policies and practices, the College encourages all individual students and organizations to take responsibility for the health, welfare and safety of other students who may be suffering from alcohol poisoning, intoxication, or related injury or illness. In situations where intoxicated students are in of need medical assistance, the health of the intoxicated student MUST always be the main priority for all members of the College community.

Students and organizations taking proactive measures to ensure student safety will be supported by the College. Individuals and student organizations proactively seeking assistance from the College, police, or medical authorities, in cases where the safety and well-being of another person(s) is at risk, the reporting individual or organization will not be charged with violations of the College’s Social Event Policy.

  • The reporting individual or organization may be asked to participate in a follow-up conversation and education as appropriate. 
  • The individual for whom assistance was sought will be subject to the guidelines of the Alcohol and Drug Policy Points System and Policy.
  • Individuals consistently or repeatedly engaging in behaviors requiring intervention after initial conversations and education have taken place will not be considered for amnesty.
  • Utilizing the College’s amnesty policy does not preclude the College, or other authorities, from taking action for other serious violations of the Code of Conduct, or local, state, or federal law. 

The College is deeply concerned about students who need medical assistance due to extreme intoxication. Because of the serious nature of this issue, the College will provide appropriate support and education for those students who received assistance.

C. Alcohol Policy Review and Advisory Board (APRAB)

The Alcohol Policy Review and Advisory Board is actively involved in reviewing events, evaluating the impact of the Social Event Policy and assessing the effectiveness of its procedures. Members of this Board will consist of staff involved in planning the events including: the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students Office, Student Activities and Greek Life, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Public Safety, and two student members appointed by Student Senate.

The College’s Alcohol Policy Review and Advisory Board (APRAB) must approve any exceptions to the Social Event Policy no fewer than two (2) weeks in advance of an event.

APRAB shall:

  1. Coordinate the registration of all on-campus events at which alcohol will be served in conjunction with the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life.
  2. Oversee the review and approval of proposed student social events with alcohol.
  3. Determine appropriate settings, locations, and scheduling of events at which alcohol is to be served.

D. Procedures for Hosting Social Events

All students and student organizations have a responsibility to follow the Social Event Policy procedures outlined below. Any exceptions to these procedures must be approved, in advance, in accordance with APRAB Section C.

1. Definitions

The terms defined in this section are intended to be used in the context of social events.

A. BYOB events: Guests of legal drinking age may bring alcohol, for personal consumption, with them to the social event.

B. Host Provider events: The Host provides the alcohol for those of legal drinking age at the social event.

C. Host:  Any Gettysburg College student, group of students, organizations, or living group (e.g. College Houses) that:

1)      Pays for or provides alcohol; directly or indirectly.

2)      Registers a social event in any College space including residence hall, fraternity, indoor, or outdoor space.

3)      A fraternity, sorority, College House, or other student organization is considered a host when renting or providing space to another organization sponsoring an event. Fraternities, sororities, College Houses, or other student organizations on social probation are ineligible to host events with alcohol.

D. Guest: Any person present at a social event, other than a Host or a member of the Host organization.

E. Social Event: A gathering of students and their guests which must be registered with the College. An event, indoor or outdoor, must be registered with the College if one or more of the following criteria apply:

1)      Alcohol is provided, served, or made available by a student or organizational host or alcohol is brought by guests (BYOB).

2)      There is the potential for music or noise to be heard outside the building or beyond the property in which the event is taking place.

3)      An event at which there will be guests coming and going from the site of the event throughout the event.

4)      Other criteria deemed appropriate by the office overseeing the registration process for the student organization in question.

2. Social Event Registration

A. Social events with alcohol at which students will be present and meet the criteria in section D.1.E above must be registered with the College and may be reviewed by the Alcohol Policy Review and Advisory Board (APRAB) prior to the event taking place. Event eligibility is contingent on the approval of the event by the College division with primary responsibility for the sponsoring group and College Life (see Section C of this policy). If there are concerns with a proposed event, APRAB may review, make recommendations, and make a final determination. Social events that include alcohol and students must be approved by the governing department.  For example, events sponsored by academic departments must be approved by the Provost’s Office; events sponsored by athletic-affiliated groups must be approved by the Director of Athletics; and events sponsored by alumni or parent groups must be approved by the Vice President for Development, Alumni, and Parent Relations.

 B. Social events with alcohol may not occur prior to the second Friday after classes begin in the fall semester. First-year students are not permitted to attend social events with alcohol until the third Friday after classes begin in the fall semester.

C. Sponsoring departments and organizations are encouraged to register all social events which include students, if alcohol is served or not.

D. Any event hosted on Friday or Saturday at or after 10:00 p.m. by a fraternity or sorority in residential fraternities, or other campus or non-campus venues, must be registered with the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life in CUB 240 by 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday prior to the event. For planning purposes events hosted on a day or time outside of Friday or Saturday after 10:00 p.m. are encouraged to register two weeks in advance.  This guidance will allow for adequate staffing considerations by OSAGL for this event. 

E. Events held in College Houses or other residential spaces, other than fraternity houses, at which alcohol will be served must be registered with and approved by the Office of Residential and First Year Programs by 5:00 p. m. on the Wednesday prior to the date of the event.

F. Events hosted by other student organizations at on campus venues such as the Attic, Ballroom, Quarry Pavilion, etc. or held off-campus, must be registered with the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life at least two weeks prior to the date of the event.

G. The person registering a social event with alcohol must be an officer or House Leader of the hosting organization and be present at the event. At least one member of the hosting organization must be 21 years of age or older and present at the event. This must be documented as such on the registration form.

H. Social events with alcohol may take place only between 5:00 p.m. Friday and 2:00 a.m. Sunday. Any exceptions to this timeframe, including philanthropic events, must be approved at least two weeks in advance of the planned event by the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life and/or APRAB.

I. All Social Events must conclude by 2:00 a.m.

J. Appropriate and adequate non-alcoholic beverages and food/snacks must be as easily and readily available. All food and beverages provided must be unopened until the event occurs.

K. Events with alcohol must be no more than 4 hours in duration.

L. Forms must contain all requested information and proper signatures before a Social Event can be approved. Co-sponsored Social Events require a signature from a representative of each sponsoring Host. A $25.00 fee will be charged for all social events.  

M. Alcohol may be served at religious ceremonies with the approval of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

3. Host Responsibility

A. Host Training: Student servers at social events with alcohol are required to complete the TIPS training course. At least two TIPS trained servers must be present at all times during the social event with alcohol. Student servers at social events with alcohol must abstain from consuming alcohol or any substance which may impair judgment. Details on these training courses can be obtained from the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life.

B. Conduct of Guests: Hosts are responsible for the conduct of guests.  See the College’s Alcohol/Drug Related Emergency Response Policy for more information on assisting students in need of medical attention.

C. Serving of Alcohol: Only those individuals who show proof of being 21 years of age or older may consume alcoholic beverages at Social Events with alcohol.

1)      Hosts of social events with alcohol must issue a wristband to all individuals in attendance who are 21 years of age or older. The wristband must be worn by the individuals consuming alcohol at the event.

2)      The host must ensure that no visibly intoxicated person is served or consuming alcohol.

3)      Each social event with alcohol must have one designated bar area from which all alcohol will be distributed only to those of legal drinking age.

4)      All alcohol brought to a BYOB social event with alcohol must be delivered immediately by the guest to the host and provided to an authorized server.

D. Guidelines Specific to BYOB Events 

1)      Students who are 21 years of age may bring no more than 12-ounces of beer, malt beverage, cooler, or cider or 4-ounces of wine for each hour of the length of the event.

2)      No alcoholic beverage exceeding 16% alcohol by volume is permitted at a BYOB event.

3)      Unused alcohol will be returned to the owner or disposed of at the end of the event.

E. Responsibility and Accountability of Hosts

1)      Hosts are responsible for ensuring the safety of all guests in attendance at their event.

2)      The Host will be held accountable for any violations of College policies or Pennsylvania law that occur at their social event. Individual violators will also be held accountable for their actions.

3)      Hosts are responsible for setting up, cleaning up, and maintaining order at their social event and for any damage resulting from the event.

F. Co-Sponsoring Events

1)      Organizations and College Houses may co-sponsor a social event only if the co-sponsor is a registered student organization, a recognized fraternity or sorority, or residential living group of Gettysburg College. Co-sponsors assume the same responsibilities and accountability for the event as the primary host.

4. Prohibited Activities

A. Distribution and consumption of alcohol in a manner which violates law or college policy including distribution of alcohol to individuals under the age of 21.

B. Serving of alcohol to visibly intoxicated guests.

C. Common sources of alcohol are prohibited at social events:

1. Kegs: Serving alcohol from kegs or any other alcohol-dispensing device requiring a tap is prohibited in fraternities and residential facilities. Students under 21 are prohibited from possessing tap systems.

2. Juice, punch, ethyl (grain) alcohol, or other consumable liquid containing hard alcohol. Hard alcohol includes beverages containing 16% or more alcohol by volume.

D. Drinking games, tables or equipment for drinking games, funnels, chugging contests, etc. or any activity which encourages irresponsible or high-risk drinking.

E. Putting pressure on guests to consume alcohol, or maintaining the expectation that they will or should.

F. No fraternity, sorority, College House, or other student organization or facility is eligible to host more than one social event with alcohol per day.

G. Charging for the Sale of Alcohol/Charging Admission to Social Events.

1. No host, host organization, or other person may charge, sell, or receive any form of consideration from guests or for their social events with alcohol unless they obtain the appropriate liquor license from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

2. Use of College Funds. College funds may be used to purchase alcohol only with the prior approval of APRAB.

5. Quantity of Alcohol

The maximum permitted amount of alcohol is the quantity sufficient to serve each person of legal age one drink (12 oz. beer, malt beverage, cooler, or cider, 4 oz. wine) per hour of the social event with alcohol. The quantity of alcohol permitted at each social event with alcohol will be reviewed during the social event registration process.

6. Department of Public Safety (DPS)

A. All social events held in non-residential, on-campus locations must be reviewed and approved by DPS and/or APRAB at least two weeks in advance of the planned event to determine if DPS officers will be required to support the event. 

B. Non-college or private security staffing must be approved by the Department of Public Safety at least two weeks in advance of the planned event.

C. All events hosted at a fraternity house must have a Department of Public Safety officer or approved private security officer present for the duration of the event. Exceptions may be made for closed events as approved by OSAGL and DPS.

D. Student social events with alcohol requiring Public Safety or security staffing will be assessed a fee at the time of registration.

E. For events with alcohol held in residential facilities (fraternities or College Houses), under normal circumstances, Department of Public Safety officers will typically:

1)      Visit each registered Host Provider or BYOB social event one-half hour prior to the scheduled start time to check on compliance with these procedures. The pre-party check will include verification that the alcohol to be served at a Host Provider event is present in the designated serving area.

2)      May conduct a mid-event compliance check if there is evidence or information of alcohol being supplied by a host at an event registered as BYOB.

3)      Visit each registered social event after the designated ending time of the event again to check on compliance with these procedures and to assist students with any issues involved with closing down the party. Post event walkthroughs will happen at the end of the event or at the request of the Host.

4)      May work with the leadership of the sponsoring organization to end a social event prior to its scheduled end time in the event College policy has been violated or there is evidence or information to believe College policy has been violated.

Revised by the Student Life Committee in May 2011