Party Information

There are three ways to officially have a party with alcohol on campus.

The first is offiicially registering your party with the College. Registering a party is easy and has great advantages—the use of residential lounges, potential funding, being able to have kegs and event support. The second way is to have a small, informal gathering in your room or suite that is less structured. Lastly, you can also arrange for a caterer to help with the event at a campus venue.

These pages will hopefully demystify and explain the whole process and help you on your way.


Party Regulations Overview

a. Private Parties

Private parties are those parties held in residential lounges that are connected to or in the student’s residential building. The College has approved spaces in residence halls, academic interest and social houses. A current list of approved party lounges and the corresponding residences may be found on the Party Registration page.

  1. All private parties within residential lounge areas at which alcoholic beverages are consumed must be registered prior to 12:00 p.m. on the Friday before the event unless otherwise noted by the dean of students
  2. Party Hosts must be at least 21 years old and must have completed a College-approved Party Host Workshop.  
  3. Hosts for parties in small houses must be a resident of that location.
  4. Party Hosts must be present and may not consume alcohol before or during the party.
  5. Private Parties are open to invited Middlebury College students. Party hosts are responsible for keeping an accurate guest list. Guests who are not Middlebury students must have a DPS-issued guest pass and attend the party with their hosting student. 
  6. Party Hosts must ensure that proper I.D. checking procedures are followed consistently throughout the party.
  7. Party Hosts are responsible for regulating the number of guests in order to maintain safe occupancy of the space. Party hosts are expected to call the Department of Public Safety to help limit attendance if crowding during the party becomes a problem.
  8. Party Hosts and guests are responsible for abiding by the College's prohibition on smoking in campus buildings.
  9. The amount of alcohol allowed will be determined at the discretion of the dean of students or designee, based on the location of the event, anticipated attendance and the capacity of the room determined by the safety officer.  Registered alcohol may not be taken out of the event.
  10. During the undergraduate academic year, parties in most residential areas may occur between the hours of 5:00 p.m. Friday and 1:00 a.m. Saturday, and 12:00 noon Saturday and 1:00 a.m. Sunday. Parties in Social Houses and Ridgeline Woods houses may end as late as 3:00 a.m. The maximum duration of any private party is five hours. Two parties may not be registered sequentially for the same space.
  11. Tickets may not be sold, donations may not be solicited, and money may not be collected from guests.
  12. Service of alcoholic beverages may not begin until the registered time. A Public Safety Officer will come by to conduct an initial party check at or after this time. 
  13. Bartenders must be at least 21 years old, must have completed a party host workshop and may not consume alcohol before or during the party, while serving in this capacity.  Hosts and bartenders must also be TIPS trained for events over 101 people.  
  14. Appropriate food and non-alcoholic beverages must be readily and continuously available to guests whenever alcoholic beverages are served.
  15. Guests may be served only one drink per visit to the bar.
  16. Bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) parties are not permitted. Unregistered alcohol may not be brought into any event
  17. The noise ordinance of the town of Middlebury prohibits loud noise or disturbance after 10:00 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and after 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights (i.e., Saturday and Sunday mornings). Noise complaints may be registered at any time. Party hosts are responsible for ensuring that party noise is not excessive. Guests and hosts are responsible for ensuring that while traveling to and from parties they do not disturb neighbors. Violators are subject to fines up to $1,000 by the town and penalties imposed by the College.
  18. Registered spaces must be cleaned by noon of the day after the party, unless otherwise instructed by a student's Commons office. If special custodial service is required following a party, the party host(s) will be billed for that service.
  19. Residential spaces with designated and secured keg storage areas must return registered kegs as soon as possible after a party. These spaces have alternate uses and cannot be used for long-term storage.  For residential spaces without designated storage areas, kegs must be returned by 5 p.m. on the day following the party. Kegs found after this time will be considered "unauthorized" and are prohibited. Kegs may not be stored in student rooms or common areas.

b. Social House Private Parties

1.  The maximum length of any social house party is five hours, except for the Mill which has a four-hour maximum. These five hour parties are permitted up to five kegs.  For five hour parties with five kegs, the fifth keg may not be tapped until the beginning of the last hour of the party.

2. All parties in Social Houses are assumed to be sanctioned by the full membership of the house. House residential areas may not be used for private parties of individual members during a registered party.

3. All Social House members assisting with the party must complete TIPS training.

4. Except as noted in this section, all other private party regulations apply to social house parties.

5. Hard alcohol (alcohol punch, shots, mixed drinks, etc.) may not be served or present at registered parties with the exception of registered semi-formal parties and parties at The Mill. At designated semi-formal parties, each social house member may bring one guest. No other students, other than members and guests, may be present. At a semi-formal, party hard alcohol punch may be served to students of age. Party hours will be for a four-hour period.

The Mill is permitted to host registered parties where hard alcohol is served as a special exception.  Any violations of the policy standards will result in the immediate revocation of this exception.

 Service of Hard Alcohol

  • The amount of alcohol must be clearly designated on the Party Registration Form.
  • Hard alcohol may only be served in a closed cooler that is able to closed and secured. 
  • Students are responsible for properly cleaning coolers at the conclusion of the event.
  • Hard alcohol may only be served as a mixed drink or punch following a preapproved recipe. Recipes may not exceed the alcohol by volume ratio of beer (5.4%). A DPS officer must be present at the time of preparation.
  • At the party, a list of ingredients and alcohol volumes must be clearly displayed at the bar so that guests can see what they are being served.
  • Coolers must be located behind the bar and controlled by the designated bartender.

c. Catered Events

Parties or events held in the McCullough Student Center, Proctor Dining Hall, Ross Dining Hall and Atwater Dining Hall must be licensed under the College’s catering permit if alcoholic beverages are to be served.  Parties held in other campus spaces, such as residence hall lounges, social houses, athletics facilities, non-residential spaces may be catered. All events funded by the Student Government Association Finance Committee at which alcohol is served must be catered because student fees collected for dissemination through the Finance Committee cannot be used by individuals for the direct purchase of alcohol.

  1. All catered events must be scheduled through the Department of Events Management.
  2. Events using  a caterer must be registered with the state up to 21 business days in advance as required by the Vermont Department of Liquor Control.
  3. Catered events must be registered by a Middlebury College student, faculty or staff member.
  4. Tickets for a catered event may be sold prior to the event, at the door, and/or at a cash bar.
  5. Catered events may be advertised, but publicity and posters may not make reference to alcoholic beverages, other than to remind students to "please bring two forms of i.d."
  6. The caterer’s staff will be in charge of serving all alcoholic beverages. For all catered events the catering manager will determine the appropriate bar staffing and amount of alcohol for catered events.
  7. At the discretion of the Department of Event Management, Department of Public Safety officers or private security may be required (at the organizer's expense) for any catered event where alcoholic beverages are being served.
  8. Except as noted in this section, all other party regulations apply to catered events.

d. Outdoor Parties

  1. Private parties may be held outdoors if they are an extension of an approved party location such as a small house. Parties in open spaces such as McCullough Quad or Battell Field must be catered.
  2. Outdoor parties must be registered within a clearly defined area, contained with a physical barrier (i.e., a fenced off area) approved by the Department of Public Safety, and alcohol may only be consumed within that area. The host has the same responsibility as for an inside party.
  3. Outdoor parties may not start before 5:00 p.m. on Friday or before 12:00 noon on Saturday.
  4. Outdoor parties must stop serving alcohol and playing music by 8:30 p.m.
  5. Outdoor parties are scheduled at the discretion of the Department of Event Management and the Dean of Students or designee.

e. Venues, Parking Lots and Tailgate Area

  1. The Department of Public Safety will designate the tailgate area for use during any athletic event. 
  2. The Tailgate area will open for parking 4 hours before the start of the game (weather permitting).
  3. Alcohol is prohibited at all athletic venues, parking lots and the tailgate area.
  4. Loud music is not allowed at or near athletic venues, parking lots and the tailgate area. Please be respectful of others.
  5. Restroom facilities are located in the stadium. People at the tailgate area must use the restroom facilities in the stadium and are not permitted to cross the highway into the woods. 

 

Registered Party

A party in a residence hall lounge or small house hosted by an individual student where students serve the alcohol and guests are invited.  A complete list of locations can be found on the Party Registration page.

Registered Party Details

Why all the rules?

Middlebury College is a part of the State of Vermont. No getting around that. As such everyone at the College is required to follow all of the state’s laws. Just like you follow the speed limit and other traffic rules, you are required to abide by the states liquor laws. Party registration is designed to help you understand all the laws. 

What’s a Party Host Workshop (PHW)?

Any student who is 21 years old and wants to register a party on campus must complete a Party Host Workshop. Offered regularly through the Department of Public Safety the workshop provides an overview of College policy and state law concerning parties with alcohol. Once you successfully complete the workshop—which takes about 30 minutes—you will be able to host parties for the remainder of that academic year.

Next step - Registration

After attending a PHW you will complete a Party Registration Form online. This form includes the name of the host (that’s you) and cohost (if you have one), type and amount of alcohol, location, and beginning and ending times. As a host you are the one in charge so you may not be the DJ or in the band. The deadline for registering a party is 12:00 p.m. on the Friday before the party. Plan ahead—you can register weeks or even months in advance.

TIP: It can be easier to host a party with a friend—co-hosts for parties are encouraged. Also, enlist some friends to help with the party. Not only can they help with set up and clean up but they can give you a hand in making sure the room doesn’t get out of control.

Is there any help out there?

Of course there is—this is Middlebury. Commons Coordinators, MCAB, Student Activities, student orgs, and social houses can all help with making arrangements and even covering some of the expenses such as the band, supplies, and decorations. 

The Guest List

You have likely heard a great deal about the guest list requirement—put into place at the request of the state of Vermont. Here are the basics of the guest list:

1. Guests must be invited with an actual invitation. Email is OK but word-of-mouth is not.

2. Everyone at the party must be on the Guest List and the guests must check in at the entrance. Hosts may add additional guests on the night of the party if they forgot to invite someone.  

3. Hosts may invite up to twice the capacity of the space to a function.

4. Guest Lists must be available for DPS at all times. Lists must be kept.

The BIG NIGHT

So the night is here. You have your space, food, beverages, entertainment, and decorations. The invitations went out and the guests are about to arrive—now what?

1. Be nice to Public Safety. They will help check the party in and out and can lend a hand if you need them.

2. Don’t get overwhelmed by demanding party-goers. Be calm. If someone is being difficult you can ask them to leave. It’s your party after all.

3. Remember your manners—clean up the space when you are done. No one likes a mess.

4. Have fun!

THINGS YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER!

Here is a brief run down of some of the Vermont laws and College policies you don’t want to forget:

1. DO NOT SERVE ALCOHOL TO ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 21.

2. As party host you must be 21 or older, at the party, available, and sober.

3. You may only let in your invited guests. If you have a popular event you will also want to watch to make sure you stay below the capacity of the space.

4. You must check all IDs, including those of your friends. If they don’t have an ID, don’t serve them. If they're over 21 and forgot their ID, tell them to run home and get it.

5. You may not advertise for a private party. It wouldn't be very private would it? If you want to invite the whole campus to the party check with Student Activities about registering a Licensed Party.

6. You must be 21 to serve as a bartender.

7. Only the alcohol you register can be at the party—people can not bring in their own. Kegs must be returned to the place you bought them after the party—not back to your room.

8. You cannot serve people who are visibly intoxicated. This is both the law and common sense.

9. You may not sell alcohol. This means that you cannot collect money in any way. No selling cups, no door fee, no cover charge, no tip jar, no requested donation...you get the idea.

10. You must have food and non-alcoholic beverage available. It’s a party after all. Get food people actually like to eat, buy soda you would drink anyway, and keep any leftovers.

11. No drinking games, hard alcohol or smoking. None. Kein. Niente. Nada.

12. And last but certainly not least: Every Party Host is responsible for everything that happens as a result of that party, including cleaning up after the party. Do your best to make sure that people are getting home safely at the end of the night. Do not let people drink and drive.

Informal Gathering

Small, informal gatherings held in individual rooms, suites, and small houses occupied by of-age students

Informal Gatherings Details

The College also allows for small, informal gatherings held in individual rooms, suites, and small houses occupied by of-age students. 

Informal gatherings may take place in designated senior spaces and the Social Houses. The number of students at an informal student gathering may not exceed the fire code capacity of the residence. For informal student gatherings of between 20 and 30 students, one 1/4 keg containing beer or hard cider may be registered by students who are 21 years of age or older. In some of the smaller senior spaces that accommodate at least 13 students, one "beer log" containing beer or hard cider can be registered at an informal gathering. A complete list of spaces is available from the Department of Public Safety.

The following criteria must be met for informal gatherings at which a 1/4 keg or ‘beer log’ is served:

  1. Informal gatherings may take place beginning on the Friday after the first week of the academic term. Informal gatherings may not be held during the College recesses. Informal gatherings are permitted until the Sunday after the last Friday of classes.
  2. Informal gatherings may occur between the hours of 5:00 p.m. Friday and 2:00 a.m. Saturday, and 12:00 noon Saturday and 2:00 a.m. Sunday. Only one gathering may be registered for a given student space in a 12 hour period.
  3. The serial number from the 1/4 keg or beer log must be registered with Public Safety before it is transported to campus by the host calling Public Safety and giving their name, ID number, and the time and place of the gathering.
  4. Unregistered alcohol may not be present in the senior space/social space. If other alcohol is present, the keg/log will be considered “unauthorized”.
  5. Kegs/beer logs must be returned by 5:00 p.m. the following day.
  6. For the purposes of this policy a 1/4 keg is a container holding 7.75 gallons of beer (aka quarter barrel, pony keg). A beer log is a container holding 5 gallons of beer (aka 1/6 keg, cornelius keg, corney keg, soda keg).

Catered Event

A function that is registered with the state of Vermont and service is provided by the College or an outside caterer.

Catered Event Details

There are some great advantages to having professionals (either the College or a non-College caterer) help with your party. If the event is run through Dining Events—aka licensed—it can be advertised, you don’t need a Guest List, you can charge for the event, and it can be held in a public space such as the McCullough Student Center or Coltrane Lounge. Moreover, liability for the service of alcohol is deferred by the caterer's liquor license. Student organizations, Commons, Social Houses, and individual students may all arrange for licensed parties through the Department of Events Management.

What's the difference?

There are some distinct differences between a licensed party and a private party:

Private

Licensed

Registered by noon the Friday before the event

Registered 10-21 business days in advance

Restricted to invited guests

Open to campus

Limited invitees

No invitations required

Guest List required

No Guest List required

No advertising allowed

Advertising permitted

Residential locations only

Any campus location with approval

Liability resides with the host

Liability resides with hired caterer

No charging allowed

Charging permitted

Host must be 21

 

Host may have to live where the party is registered