Planning Off-Site Events

Northwestern Alcohol Policy
Northwestern University’s alcohol policy requires all student events with alcohol to receive approval from Legal. This includes any event at a venue where alcohol is available for purchase, even if no school or club funds are paying directly for alcohol. 

When organizing an event at a venue that serves alcohol, the venue must sign off on the alcohol rider and provide a certificate of insurance. The process takes at least 2 weeks to receive approval from Legal, or longer depending on venue agreement.  We strongly encourage you to plan 5-6 weeks in advance for such events. Advertising for events and payments cannot occur until we have received approval from Legal. 

2-4 months before event


The following documents are needed to send to Northwestern University’s general counsel all together: 
1. Signed alcohol rider by the venue. (Please read Grad Student Alcohol Policy)
2. Certificate of insurance from the venue, naming Northwestern University as the insured for $3 million dollars 
3. Invoice or quote
4. Graduate Student Event Planning Signature Form

A contract is NOT required by the university.  However, if the vendor requires one, it requires signature from Legal and must be submitted along with the documents specified above. Document must indicate Northwestern University as the customer. 

Students may NOT sign anything for the venue.
 All signatures must come from the University. If a contract is signed by a student, it will make them personally responsible for fulfilling the terms of the contract and remove the University from having any responsibility or liability. 

If the venue requires a deposit, the legal paperwork must be completed before any payment can be processed. 

1 to 2 months before event

  • Finalize all paperwork with off-site venue. If there is a contract, be sure it has been signed and approved by Legal before marketing.
  • Once all paperwork is signed and approved, create event in KelloggGroups.
  • Begin marketing in eNews. Send announcement and event details (including RSVP link) to Kerry Van Malderghem.
  • If there is a contract, submit check request for payment to venue to Courtney Williams (include all completed paperwork indicated above).

Payment Process
Northwestern University will no longer reimburse for contracted services paid out of pocket. Therefore, if you have a contract with a vendor for an event, you can NOT pay with your credit card and get reimbursed. You must pay the vendor with a check issued by Northwestern University. 

However, if additional charges (excluding alcohol) are added after check payment has been submitted, students may pay the remaining balance and seek reimbursement through the COFO office. Additional charges for alcohol must be paid by a Northwestern-issued check.  Please make sure the vendor agrees to this before any contracts are signed. 

If there are unused funds, and the vendor needs to issue a refund back, please have them make the check out to Northwestern University.  An invoice/receipt must also be submitted, including details of the original amount and any remaining amount to be refunded.

If you have an event that falls under this policy, please contact Courtney Williams

3  days before event 

  • Send reminder to registered guests. 

Post Event

  • If collecting fees at the door, be sure to turn ALL such revenues to Courtney Williams within one week of the event.
  • Request reimbursement if applicable.  Please click here for more info.