Policies on Alcohol Outside of Jacobs (FAQ)


1. Off-Campus Approval Process

Good news! This process is a simple one. Just follow the steps below and wait for approval.

1. Look to see if your desired event venue is on the "pre-contracted venues list". Please note, venues not on that list may take 3 or more weeks to get them approved.

2. No matter what venue you choose, please make a reservation with the venue to hold a spot. Never put money down to do so. Do not advertise any event until it has been fully approved.

3. Submit an "Event Planning Form"  to groupeventsupport@kellogg.northwestern.edu or see Mike Rice in the Student Affairs Office, Room 104. If the venue needs a contract signed (anything with a signature line) it will need to be processed as well. Please remember, students are never permitted to sign contracts or agreements. See the FAQ regarding contracts below for more info.  

4. The Club Coordinator will contact the vendor and make sure all the necessary paperwork is submitted for approval.

5. You will be contacted when your event has been approved. Once approved, you may begin advertising the event and payment may be made to the venue (see payment options FAQ below).

6. Get a tax exemption form from the Student Affairs (RM 104) front desk to give to venue. Please see the reimbursement instructions further down this FAQ page.

2. What events need pre-approval?

Northwestern University’s alcohol policy requires all student events associated with alcohol to be pre-approved. This includes any event at a venue where alcohol is available for purchase, even if no school/club funds are paying directly for alcohol. The approval process is easy. See "Off-campus Approval Process" FAQ.
Students are never permitted to bring their own alcohol to any event.

3. Approval Turn-around Time?

Please submit the "Event Planning Form" no less than 15 business days in advance of an event. If you are holding the event at a venue not listed on the "Pre-contracted venues list", please submit no less than 20 business days in advance of the event.

If you need a check cut for payment of the event, please submit the event form 20 business days in advance of the event.

This amount of lead time is required in order to give our staff and the venue enough time to process the required paperwork, as well as to ensure the venue has enough time to properly staff and accommodate your event.

4. Wet and Dry Tickets Policy

When you are selling tickets for an event that has the price of alcohol incorporated into the ticket price, you must include a dry ticket option for a lessor price than the wet ticket.

We generally advise that you have dry purchasers pick up  thier tickets, wristbands, or whatever item is used to identify a dry ticket purchaser directly from a club officer.

5. Venue contracts Policy

All student event contracts need to be reviewed and approved by Northwestern University through the Student Affairs Office before any deposits or payments are made. Submit all contracts (anything with a signature line) along with your "Event Planning Form" to groupeventsupport@kellogg.northwestern.edu  a minimum of 20 business days in advance of your event. 

It takes a minimum of 20 business days to process contracts. Deposits and final payments on contracts will be done directly from the SOFO or KSA account and will take an additional 10-15 business days to be processed after a contract is fully approved. If a University check is needed for an event, please be sure to take processing time into account when booking your event.

Students are not permitted to sign contracts on behalf of 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.

Payments to performers or individuals

For payment to performers or individuals  (DJ, Referee, Bands, etc.) follow the steps below:

  1. If the performer/individual provides a contract, use the same approval process as the contracts section above.
  2. If the performer/individual does not provide a contract, you will need to have them sign this NU contract, and submit it through the approval process.
  3. All individual performers (i.e. not incorporated, or an LLC) will need to be paid by itemized invoice and University Check. Students may never pay individuals directly.
  4. Along with the itemized invoice, have the vendor fill out and submit a W-9 signed in this calendar year.
  5. Once the contract is approved through Student Affairs, your group treasurer can submit the itemized invoice, w-9 and a completed SOFO voucher form to the metal box in the Club Coordinator's Office in RM 104.

6. Food is required to hold a club event.

All events must have food at them. You do not have to buy every attendee a meal, but some type of food must be available throughout the duration of your event.

7. Events can be 5 hours max

Your event can be no longer than 5 hours in duration.

8. Drinking Games are prohibited at club and school events


Drinking games are prohibited at club/school group events.

9. What drinks can be served at off-campus events?

Beer, wine and mixed drinks are permitted, but please remember that the vendor must serve non-alcoholic drinks for $1 or less (usually water is free).

In contrast, On-Campus events are beer and wine only.

10. Paying venue/vendor once event is approved

Please note, payment should only be made once an event has been approved. Payment may be made in two ways:

Option 1: Most commonly, a student will charge the event to their personal credit card, get an itemized receipt from the venue, and file for reimbursement (How to file is listed on this FAQ Page).

Option 2: A check can be cut from club funds for payment for an event.
To do so, your club treasurer will need to submit an itemized invoice, venue completed w-9 form and a completed SOFO Voucher Form (can be picked up from Mike Rice in Student Affairs, RM 104) to the metal drop box in Mike's Office. Once all the paperwork has been signed and approved by both the vendor and NU a check can be cut. Please mark that you need a check cut on the "Event Planning Form".

For events where attendance may vary, please get invoice for minimum required attendance for the venue. Any amount over and above the initial invoice amount will need to be paid by student credit card and reimbursement.

Please note that invoices take 2-3 weeks to pay a vendor (processnig time, plus snail mail). Please be sure to set vendor expectations.

11. Reimbursement Process

Please note : All purchases made at or from a venue that serves alcohol must get prior approval in order to be reimbursed.

Follow the instructions on this link to submit for reimbursement.

12. My club/group is holding the event in a student’s apartment; can we buy the alcohol and serve it ourselves?

No. All alcohol must be purchased from a catering company. That same company must supply the licensed bartenders for the event. Even though it is at a private residence, you must have a licensed bartender(s) to serve the alcohol as student group/club functions are school affiliated.

13. Outdoor Events On-Campus Process


Each of these steps in important and should be done in the order below. You are responsible for completing each step.

2-4 Months Prior to Your Event

Step 1
: Request space at Norris Outdoors - Make sure to read the instructions carefully, especially the bit about the approval process.The "continue" button is at the bottom of the page.

Step 2
: Wait to receive approval for the space you requested from Norris Outdoors (approval timeframe discussed on submit site).

Step 3: Contact Mariellen Gibson or Carole Cahill to create an event work order.

Step 4: Obtain a sound permit from the City of Evanston if you will have music at your event (live band, DJ, etc.) - click here

1-2 Months Prior to Your Event

Step 5: If alcoholic beverages are being served, contact Jennifer Lilyquist in Kafe Kellogg (847-467-4175). If the alcohol is being donated contact groupeventsupport@kellogg.northwestern.edu for help hiring bartenders (Note: alcohol can purchased through Kafe Kellogg or donated by a company, but not both). Fencing will be required to define the event area. For this fencing contact Tim Spahn at Facilities Management .

Step 6: Contact Tim Spahn at Facilities Management to arrange for outdoor garbage receptacles.

Step 7: If electricity is needed, contact Facilities Management electrical shop
s-hayworth@northwestern.edu or j-mcdonagh@northwestern.edu.

Step 8: Notify Northwestern University police if security is required – 847-491-3456.









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