Middlebury

 
Party Information

Registering a party has great advantages—the use of dorm lounges, potential funding, and legal kegs. This guide will hopefully help demystify the whole process and help you on your way.

There are four ways to legally have a party on campus.

1. Registered Party

  • A party in a lounge or other public area or Social House hosted by an individual student where students serve the alcohol and guests are invited.  

2. Informal Gatherings

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

3. Licensed Party

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

4. Licensed Venues - The Grille, Dining Halls and 51 Main

  • An event in a venue that has a state liquor license.

Registered Private Party

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 take this workshop. They are offered through the Department of Public Safety every other week and provide 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 need to find a place for your party and begin planning. go/scheduling can help you find a space and make any requests for items to be delivered to the party like band boxes or tables (NOTE: There may be a charge for items requested—make sure to ask first). The big rule to know is that that you must live in the same location as the party space—e.g. Gifford residents can register parties in Gifford Annex Lounge or the Gamut Room.

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 3:00 p.m. on the Thursday 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, Commons Councils, MCAB, Student Activities (SA), 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 best place to start is with your Commons Council. They have special funds available for students like you who want to throw a party. Yes, they will give you money to help throw a party! 

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.

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

4. For each guest invited the host must keep track of the guests and the guests of guests.

5. Guest Lists must be typed and 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 big 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 at the party, available, and sober.

3. You may only let in your invited guests.

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 campus to the party check with Campus 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.

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

9. You may not sell alcohol in any way. 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, no nothing.

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 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.

13. Kegs must return to the place you bought them after the party—it can not go back to your room.

Informal Gatherings

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).

Licensed Party (Catered)

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.

But where is the money???

You may be saying to yourself, that’s fine but that’s wicked expensive. Your SGA and Commons Council to the rescue! Any student may apply to the Commons Council for assistance in funding a party—food, decorations, bands, djs, and event alcohol if the event is licensed. For more information attend your next Commons Council meeting. The SGA Finance Committee can provide funds for student organizations to do the same.  

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

 

 


Licensed Venues

There are several licensed venues— College dining halls, The Grille, McCullough Social Space and 51 Main—which serve alcohol as licensed establishments. It is possible to stage an event in any of these spaces.

For all venues you will need to contact the Department of Events Management for scheduling.

Party Policies

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 in the registered 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 my 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. Bands and DJs performing at private parties must be declared at the time of the party registration. Bands or amplified music in residential spaces must stop playing by 1:00 a.m.
  12. Tickets may not be sold, donations may not be solicited, and money may not be collected from guests.
  13. Service of alcoholic beverages may not begin until a Public Safety Officer arrives to open the party and conducts an initial party check. Alcoholic punch must be mixed in the presence of a Public Safety Officer and the party host.
  14. 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
  15. Appropriate food and non-alcoholic beverages must be readily and continuously available to guests whenever alcoholic beverages are served.
  16. Guests may be served only one drink per visit to the bar.
  17. Bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) parties are not permitted. Unregistered alcohol may not be brought into any event
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.

3. 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.

4. All Social House members assisting with the party as hosts, door monitors, bartenders or crowd managers must complete TIPS training.

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

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. Tailgate Parties and use of the tailgate area

  1. The Department of Public Safety may designate a tailgate area for scheduled athletic contests. Alcohol may be consumed only within the designated area.
  2. Tailgating is allowed 2 hours before the start of the game. 
  3. Tailgating is permitted only before the athletic contest and during intermissions. No tailgating is permitted during the actual athletic contest.
  4. Alcohol is prohibited in the stadium and anywhere outside the tailgate area.
  5. Amplified music is not allowed in or near the tailgate area.
  6. Restroom facilities are located in the stadium.  People in the tailgate area must use the restroom facilities in the stadium and are not permitted to cross the highway into the woods.
  7. Kegs or other common containers are not allowed.
  8. Tailgating must end one-half hour after the conclusion of the athletic contest. 

f.  Informal Gatherings

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).

g.  Licensed Venues on Campus: McCullough Social Space, The Grille; Proctor, Ross, and Atwater Dining

  1. Serving hours will be set at the discretion of the Dining Services or Grille Management and in accordance with state law.
  2. Positive proof of age is required to purchase or possess alcoholic beverages. The bartenders and/or managers will determine the validity of identification. Valid forms of identification include a valid driver's license with photograph, a state-issued liquor control i.d. card, a passport, a military i.d. card, or a photographic non-driver i.d. card issued by Vermont or another state. A Middlebury College i.d. is not considered a valid primary form of identification for the purchase of alcohol but can be used as a valid secondary form of identification.
  3. Dining bartenders and managers reserve the right to refuse service of alcoholic beverages to anyone.
  4. A patron may be served only one alcoholic beverage at a time.
  5. Events at the Grille may be prepaid by the host, at the door, and/or have a cash bar.
  6. 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."