Alcohol Policy
Policy Governing Alcohol Service at Events sponsored by Graduate Student Organizations

Philosophy on Alcohol Service at Washington University in St. Louis
The Washington University in St. Louis Drug and Alcohol Policy affords recognized student groups the privilege of serving alcohol at certain events. As adults, students are expected to know and abide by all applicable state and federal laws and University policies and procedures. Ultimately, students are responsible for their own behavior; however, if a student group provides alcohol as part of their event they share in the responsibility to provide a safe environment for all attendees. If your group has questions, contact the Dean of your school or the office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

Any on or off campus event sponsored by a recognized graduate professional student group (registered by ProGradS or recognized by one of the eight schools) must comply with the Drug and Alcohol Policy of Washington University in St. Louis if it involves alcohol. This policy is available online at:  Any on campus event involving alcohol must have a recognized sponsoring group.

Distribution of Alcohol

In compliance with Missouri’s Liquor Control Law*, alcohol must be served in a controlled manner and not freely accessible. No one who is under the age of 21 or visibly intoxicated may be served. Alcohol must not leave the confines of the event.

Options Regarding Serving AlcoholThird Party Vendor – Student groups may contract with a third-party vendor, such as Bon Appetit, to acquire and serve alcohol. The third party vendor uses its own liquor license and provides bartenders.
Group Purchases the Alcohol – Student group members may order, set up, and control distribution of the alcohol at the event independently in compliance with this policy.

See Responsible Contact section.

Some University common spaces require a third party vendor; check Guidelines in advance with the appropriate reserving office,  Event Management, or school Dean’s office.

Student groups should check in advance with Event Management, school Dean’s office, or the appropriate reserving office for specific location guidelines. When alcohol is permitted, the space must be secured (or roped off as is necessary for outdoor locations) to ensure that proper admittance and alcohol distribution can be regulated easily and effectively.

Alcohol may be mentioned or implied in campus advertising of the event to graduate students, using conventional phrases such as “happy hour,” “beer & pizza,” “wine and cheese,” etc., but alcohol may not be the primary focus of an event. Events open to the general public and/or advertised off campus are not permitted to include alcohol.

School Deans or the ProGradS chair or their designees must be notified at least one week in advance of the event. At the discretion of Dean or Dean’s designee, University police may be notified, and private security guards may be required, to assist with safety of participants and security of facility, when total attendance involves more than 100 students. The cost of private security guards is the responsibility of the sponsoring Student group. The guards or designated group members are required to verify the age of each participant with identification that lists date of birth. If the event is held outside, or in an unsecured area, distinct identification (such as wristband or stamp) is required to identify attendees 21 years and over; this is to ensure that those passing through an event do not receive alcohol.

Responsible Contacts
At least one person (preferably two) from the sponsoring group must be designated as the Responsible Contact(s) for the event. Responsible contacts should not consume alcohol immediately prior to or during the event. The contacts are responsible for overseeing and ensuring the safety of the event, the distribution of alcohol, and the implementation of this policy. Contacts are to introduce themselves to the University Police as well as any security guards and serve as the point persons with these agencies. Responsible contacts, with the assistance of University police and security guards as needed, must be able to shut down an event if this policy is not being implemented effective or if other problems arise.

Food and Beverages
Food must be provided at all events where alcohol is served. Among the food there should be non-salty options readily available, free and displayed in an attractive manner. Non-alcoholic beverages also should be readily available and free. Water should be one of the non-alcoholic beverages provided. The food and non-alcoholic beverages should be replenished several times throughout the program so that they are constantly available.

The sponsoring group will be held accountable for any and all violations of this policy. Sanctions for a violation may include, but are not limited to, loss of space reservation privileges, loss of University student group registration, or other sanctions pursuant to the University Judicial Code (

There may be more specific guidelines and restrictions for the use of specific spaces on both the Danforth and Medical Campuses. Be sure to check in advance with the appropriate space reserving office. Contact Event Management (314-935-5234) for an updated list of contacts on the Danforth Campus.

*“Missouri’s Liquor Control Law makes it illegal for a person under the age of twenty-one years to purchase, attempt to purchase, or possess any intoxicating liquor. Section 311.325 RSMo. Violation of this provision can subject one to a fine between $50 and $1000 and/or imprisonment for a maximum term of one year. County and municipality ordinances contain similar prohibitions and sanctions.” To review specific provisions of applicable ordinances and statues, contact the Office of the General Counsel (935-5152). Washington University Policies and Procedures, Drug and Alcohol Policy:

Policy approved by the University Council 1/26/04; effective immediately.

(This policy was also reviewed and approved by Professional and Graduate Coordinating Committee; the Deans and graduate student associations of the eight graduate schools; an ad hoc committee of the Professional and Graduate Student Coordinating Committee drafted the original proposal 2002-2003.)