Off-Campus Event Approval Process and Policies

Below are the policies and procedures for holding an Off-Campus event with alcohol. If you have any questions, please email or see the Club Coordinator in the Student Affairs Office (RM 104).


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 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 or see the Club Coordinator 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 #5 below for more info on how to process a venue contract for approval).  

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 #10 below on paying a venue/vendor after approval).

6. Get a tax exemption form from the Student Affairs (RM 104) front desk to give to venue (See #11 below for info on the reimbursement process).

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

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.
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  a minimum of 15 business days in advance of your event.

Performers and Individuals (Sole Proprietorships)

NU does require that we get a contract for services provided by an individual (DJ, Referee, Bands, etc.) who's company is not an LLC or INC:

  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. These individual performers will need to be paid by itemized invoice and University Check. Students may never pay individuals directly. Please see #10 below to learn how to pay once approval of your event has been granted.
Once approval is granted, deposits or payments on contracts can be done. Please see #10 below to learn how to pay a vendor/venue once approval of your event has been granted.

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 approval is granted

See the instructions on this link

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. Club Events not permitted at Student Apartments


Student clubs are not permitted to host events at member’s apartment buildings, be it a student’s individual unit or a shared apartment building space. The reason for this is that your apartment building does not carry the insurance or licenses NU requires of a venue needed to host an official club event.  Apartments also require that the tenant takes on full liability for an event, which is also not permitted for official club events.

You are able to host non-affiliated events at these locations, but this should be done in a way that does not associate it with any Kellogg club or student organization.

If you have any questions, please contact

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