Event Policies

Note: Throughout this section, the term "home department" refers to the department to which your student organization belongs.

Home Departments include: Campus Recreation ("Campus Rec"), the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS), the Office of Religious Life (ORL), or the Pace Center for Civic Engagement (Pace).

Food, Alcohol and Eating Club Policies

Food Guidelines and Regulations

Food is often vital to the success of a student organization event, whether it’s from the Wawa, delivered by a local restaurant or a full-scale catered banquet. Keep in mind that there are certain safety regulations that must be heeded when it comes to serving food at your event. You may need to notify the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), the Office of Risk Management, and possibly apply for food licenses with the Princeton Borough.

Consider the following food guidelines when planning your event. In addition, ODUS will evaluate each event on a case-by-case basis and make additional suggestions when you register your event with ODUS.

Events that may require proper food licensing and insurance:

  • A large-scale event that is fully open to the general campus community, public or any consumer, regardless of whether the food is pre-packaged or prepared specially for the event, or whether food is sold or given away.
  • Event Examples: Communiversity, TASA's Night Market, the Southern Pig Roast
  • An event that serves food that is prepared on site by an outside caterer.
  • Event Examples: Banquet cooked in the Fields Center by an outside caterer

    If you think your event falls into this category, the caterer must provide certain types of insurance for your event. Contact Missy McGinn in the Office of Risk Management.

  • A food truck
  • In order to operate on campus, food truck vendors must submit a completed permit application and appropriate fee to the Princeton Department of Emergency & Safety Services. For more information on the town's regulations surrounding food trucks, please visit the Department of Public Safety's page here.

NOTE: Any food for such an event must be prepared in a kitchen licensed as a retail food operation or all food must be brought to the event site for preparation at the time of the event. Currently, the Murray-Dodge and Carl A. Fields Center kitchens are the only licensed kitchens on campus available for this type of use. These kitchens are available by pre-arrangement on a first come-first served basis and can accommodate a limited number of groups or events. The only alternative is to seek permission from other licensed kitchens off campus, which must pass EHS and Health Department approval.

The only exception to preparing foods in a licensed kitchen is bake sale-type events for which baked goods which do not require refrigeration or any other type of temperature control for food safety are prepared. These baked goods may be prepared in a home, dorm, or other unlicensed kitchen. However, these bake sale events still require notification of EHS and completion of the application process. Applications for such events are required by the Health Department at least two weeks before the event.

If you think your event falls into one of the categories above, please contact Jacqueline Wagner at EHS. Be sure to contact her sufficiently in advance of your event to n proper licensing by the University and the Borough (usually at least two weeks notice).

Events that do not require food licensing or insurance:

  • Any event that is for a designated set of participants at which food is prepared by the group or brought in for the group's own use.
  • Event Examples: Class study breaks, organization meetings, group dinners, etc.
  • Any event where the food is dropped off and served within an hour of delivery.
  • Event Examples: Papa John's Study Break, etc.

Please also note that certain locations on campus have their own particular food restrictions (i.e., outside food may not be brought into a dining hall; only Princeton Dining may cater events in the Frist Multipurpose Room, etc.). Be sure to inquire about any such restrictions when planning your event.

Finally, always be mindful of good food handling practices and good personal hygiene to ensure that food is prepared and served in a clean and sanitary way. For guidance on good food handling practices, see Guidelines for Temporary Food Service on Campus.doc.

There are a number of regulations that must be heeded in order to safely serve food at an event. Complying with these regulations may require notifying Environmental Health & Safety, the Office of Risk Management, and/or applying for a food license through the Princeton Borough.

If you have questions about food safety policies or procedures, please contact Jackie Wagner, Biosafety Officer in Environmental Health and Safety.

Events that do not require food licensing or insurance:

  • Any event that has a designated set of participants at which food is prepared by the group or brought in for the group's own use (e.g., class study breaks, executive board meetings, group dinners)
  • Any event where the food is provided by an approved caterer*, and is dropped off and served within an hour of delivery (e.g., Papa John's Study Break)

*To determine whether a caterer or vendor is approved, please contact Jackie Wagner

Preparing Food for an Event

Purchase food from approved sources, such as grocery stores that are licensed by the health department. Do not use home-processed foods, except if preparing baked goods such as cookies and cakes that do not need to be refrigerated for a bake sale. Never use home canned goods.

  • Food must be prepared and stored in a licensed kitchen.

  • Meet with representatives of EHS and Princeton Regional Health Department to review your temporary food service permit.

  • Keep potentially hazardous foods* cold (below 41ºF) or hot (above 135°F).

  • Preparation of meat dishes or other potentially hazardous foods a day ahead of time is strongly discouraged because such procedures have frequently contributed to foodborne illness.

  • Thawing of foods must not be done at room temperature. Thaw under refrigeration, in a microwave oven or as part of the cooking process.

  • Foods that are to be reheated prior to service must be heated quickly to a minimum of of 165ºF and held above 135ºF until serviced. Sterno is designed to hold foods hot, not to reheat to a temperature of 165°F.

  • Cook these meats, or foods containing them, to the indicated minimum internal temperatures:
    Pork: 145ºF
    Poultry: 165ºF
    Ground beef, meats, fish: 155ºF

Purchasing Food from a Restaurant or Caterer

All foods must be prepared by a food facility that is licensed and has received a Satisfactory rating from a regional health department within the last 12 months.  It is the student’s responsibility to obtain a copy of the Health Certificate.

  • Food should be transported as quickly as possible, and not until just prior to the commencement of the event.
  • Food should be transported in a clean vehicle and covered or wrapped during this period to protect it from contamination and to maintain its temperature. It is highly recommended that the food vendor deliver the food.

  • Food should be covered when displayed for public access or kept in a manner such that contamination or handling from the public cannot occur.

  • Keep potentially hazardous foods cold (below 41ºF) or hot (above 135ºF). You may not use sternos or steam to reheat a dish that has been delivered cold and is to be served hot.

  • Food must be served within an hour of delivery to the event site.

Alcohol Policies

Students of legal drinking age wishing to sponsor an event with alcohol must obtain approval from ODUS at least two weeks in advance of the event and comply with all guidelines established by the University. All participants in and attendees at the event must also be of legal drinking age.

Consider the following when planning to serve alcohol at an event:

  • Advertising: Alcohol cannot be the focal point of the publicity for the event
  • Amount of alcohol purchased: The amount of alcohol purchased should reflect a realistic estimate of the number of persons attending your event
  • ID: Only guests of legal drinking age may enter the event. Proper identification (with a photo and birth date) is required
  • Security: The presence of both Safeguards and Public Safety Officers is required at the expense of your student organization
  • Serving: Alcohol may only be served by the Princeton Bartending Agency Dining Services, or Shoprite Liquors of Pennington
  • Posted information: Signs clearly stating the University's alcohol policy (available here) must be displayed
  • Provision of food and non-alcoholic beverages: Whenever alcohol is served, there must be readily accessible food and non-alcoholic beverages. The amount of food should be based upon the number of people and should be of sufficient quantity and quality that attendees will be encouraged to eat while drinking.
  • Room regulations: Occupancy restrictions, fire codes, and other regulations of the space must be strictly observed

For more information, please see section 2.2.9 of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities.

Eating Clubs

  • If a student organization wishes to hold an event at an eating club, the club must provide a guarantee to your group's home department that the club will not serve alcohol anywhere on the premises for the duration of the event.
  • This guarantee must be provided by filling out the Eating Club Event Form [LINK] at least one week in advance of the event.
  • Both the undergraduate president of the club and the eating club manager must sign this document to demonstrate that the club is committed to abiding by these policies. If the eating club opts to go on tap after the conclusion of your student organization's event, there must be a clear delineation between the end of the event and the club going on tap.
  • One example of an acceptable form of delineation is closing the club for half an hour after the student organization event.
  • Student organizations must hire Safeguards to staff all entrances and exits to the eating club. Safeguards are responsible for ensuring that guests present their PUIDs upon entering the event.
  • The student organization sponsors are responsible for ensuring that University policies are adhered to throughout the event. In case of an emergency, the sponsoring organization should work with Safeguards to contact Public Safety.

Scheduling, Contract and Co-Sponsorship Policies

Scheduling Events

Student organizations may only hold events during the academic year (between the start of Orientation and the end of Commencement). Because student groups are to make contributions to on-campus undergraduate life, ODUS does not approve events held during the summer months except under extenuating circumstances.

These events (like all others) must be approved by ODUS. Student groups are discouraged from holding events during midterms, reading period, and finals. Activities that take place in the vicinity of University residences, classrooms, the library, the chapel, and similar facilities must be conducted in such a way as to respect the necessity for maintaining a reasonable degree of quiet. As such, amplification in outside areas is strictly prohibited between 8:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. Events may not take place between the hours of 2:00am and 6:00am without the written permission of your group's home department.

All events must be registered with your home department:

  • Campus Rec: Contact Mitch Reum
  • ODUS: ODUS Student Events Registration Form (OSERF)
  • ORL: Religious Life Registration & Event Info page
  • Pace: Event Registration Form


Students may not sign contracts on behalf of the University or their student organizations. Because a guest, performer, or vendor is contracting with the University (and not an individual student), an administrator in your home department must review and sign all contracts.

In dealing with contracts and other similar documents, please note the following:

  • A contract is any document requiring signature for services or payment Use of the University's approved contracts is strongly recommended.
  • These documents are available through the University's contracting site.
  • Use of a University contract will typically expedite the payment process. If necessary, vendors may submit an addendum to this contract in order to confirm details for the event (i.e., amount of food, equipment required, etc.).
  • Review and signature of a contract may take 2-3 weeks depending on the complexity of the contract and/or the amount of funds committed. 
  • For student organizations, the review and authorization process is provided by your home department in consultation with the Office of General Counsel.
  • Students are not to make any offer or financial commitment verbally or in writing without prior permission from their home department.
  • These policies are in place to protect your individual liability.
  • Neglecting to comply with these policies may result in your being held personally liable for the financial terms of the contract.

(Co-)Sponsorship of Events

  • Student organizations may not co-sponsor campus events with outside organizations or entities. In addition, student organizations may not serve as proxy organizations through which outside entities operate on campus.
  • While we recognize (and extol) the benefits of partnerships, collaborations, and relationships with non-University entities, the logistical and financial responsibilities of student-sponsored events must reside with a recognized student organization and its leadership.
  • Non-University organizations wishing to sponsor an event in any fashion on campus must contact Conference & Event Services.

Specific Types of Events Policies

Road Races & Recreational Runs

  • All groups wishing to sponsor and/or organize a recreational run, walk, or road race of any kind must contact Jessica Ward, Interim Associate Director of Athletics for Campus Recreation.
  • In addition, please review the following checklist and protocol information regarding 5K runs or races from the Princeton University Campus Recreation Office. 
  • If the event is also a fundraiser, be sure to also review the policies on this page regarding Fundraising for Other Non-Profits

Protests & Demonstrations

Per Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, "free speech and peaceable assembly are basic requirements of the University as a center for free inquiry and the search for knowledge and insight." Student organizations can play a central role in planning protests and other demonstrations on campus. In order to assist with the planning of your event, please review the policies set forth in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities sections 1.2.3 and 3.2.3 and contact Dean Fisher, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students, as soon as possible. We are able to answer questions relating to University policies and are able to help you with the logistical details of organizing a protest or demonstration on campus. If you are planning a protest or demonstration off campus, you may be required to receive approval from the municipality where the protest or demonstration will take place.

Outdoor Events

See Conference & Events Services guidelines for use of outdoor spaces and noise.

The Department of Public Safety requires the submission of an outdoor cooking permit for barbecues. Additionally, if you intend to prepare food for consumption of individuals outside of your group, you must contact Jackie Wagner, the University's Biosafety Officer, for approval.

Any event held outside under a tent must comply with the instructions and regulations detailed by the Department of Public Safety in this document. You must also submit the Tent or Canopy Fire Safety Permit

Security, Noise and Special Effect Policies

Security Policies

Some types of events require additional security measures to ensure the safety and well-being of attendees. While each event is unique, consider the following guidelines to determine whether you will need to hire Safeguards and/or Public Safety Special Event Security for your event. If you do not comply with these regulations, your event may be cancelled. 

Review the information below carefully and consult your home department throughout the planning process. Note that there are costs associated with hiring Safeguards and Public Safety Special Event Security. These costs are non-negotiable and must be covered by the student organization. Ultimately, Public Safety and your group's home department have final say regarding the necessary security measures for your event.

Your event requires hiring Safeguards if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • Takes place at an eating club at any time Ends at 11:00pm or later
  • Requires a ticket, PUID, or other crowd-control measures
  • Involves alcohol
  • Involves non-Princeton students Is a large-scale social event

Visit the Safeguard website to request their services.

Your event requires Public Safety Special Event Security if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • Features a potentially controversial speaker or topic and ma draw a protest or demonstration
  • Features a dignitary, head of state, celebrity, or government official
  • Takes place in certain locations (e.g., Fine Tower, Carl Icahn, Maclean House)
  • Ends at 11:00pm or later Involves alcohol
  • Involves non-Princeton students
  • Is a large-scale social event

In order to register your event with Public Safety and request their services, you must fill out a Public Safety Events Registration Form at least 10 days in advance (in addition to filling out your home department's event registration form).

Sponsors are responsible for organizing a security briefing meeting prior to the start of the event with group members and security personnel. This meeting should review means of entry, egress, and general event set-up and logistics. The schedule of security coverage and emergency procedures should also be reviewed. Open lines of communication among all parties at an event are essential to ensuring its safety and success.


Activities that take place in the vicinity of University residences, classrooms, libraries, the chapel, and/or similar facilities must be conducted in such a way as to respect the necessity of maintaining a reasonable degree of quiet. As such, amplification of sound in outside areas is strictly prohibited between 8:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. Events likely to generate substantial crowd noise may also be restricted.

For events where noise may extend outside the University community, the organizing group must submit an application for a noise permit from the Princeton Borough at least two weeks in advance of the event. Information regarding noise permits and the application may be found on the Princeton Borough website.

We expect that student organizations will immediately comply with all requests from University administration, Princeton Public Safety, and Borough Police regarding. Student organizations are responsible for notifying departmental managers or administrators in departments/offices surrounding the event and should establish a contact person in the group to whom concerns may be directed. For events impacting residents calls, student organizations should contact either the college administrator (for residential colleges) or the Housing Office (for upperclass housing).

Props and Special Effects in Performances

If your event or performance involves any of the items or elements listed below, you must contact Jessica Popkin, ODUS Program Coordinator for Student Agencies & the Performing Arts Council, at least one week prior to their use in any performance or rehearsal. Jessica will provide the requisite written permission from both ODUS and the Department of Public Safety. Neglecting to secure a letter of permission will result in the prohibition of your use of these props and may result in the cancellation of your event or disciplinary action.

  • Prop weapons (knives, swords, guns, etc.)
  • Items suspended over the audience
  • Rigging or flying performers
  • Pits, trap doors, or other changes in elevation
  • Fog or smoke Strobe lighting
  • Lasers
  • Any unusual stage effect which raises health or safety concerns

Travel and Accommodation Policies


  • Student groups may choose to plan trips and events that require travel off campus. However, student leaders should be cognizant of the fact that all travelers must strictly adhere to the University's policies listed here, on the University Travel site, and on the Risk Management site.
  • Failure to comply with policy will result in prohibition of individual or group travel and, in particularly egregious cases, disciplinary action.
  • Groups must contact their home department before committing to any travel plans. In addition to reaching out to the appropriate department, all student organization travel must be registered by submitting a travel request in Concur.
  • Depending upon the complexity of your trip, the approval process may take several weeks. Plan ahead!
  • Vehicles The University has negotiated rates for faculty, staff, and students with Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and National car rental agencies. Students may not utilize other agencies. All rental arrangements must be made through the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
  • Driving a University-owned or -leased vehicle is an earned privilege for student drivers. All students requesting driving privileges on or off campus for organization-related activities must complete the Campus Vehicle Driver Certification [INSERT LINK] process prior to traveling.
  • For undergraduates, this includes Filling out the Driver's History Questionnaire Completing and online test and completing a behind the wheel test.
  • All University-owned vehicles or vehicles rented by a student organization are to be used solely for official University-related business. Insurance for these vehicles is primary for all liability occurrences. Any damages resulting from an accident while on personal business will not be subject to coverage by the University's insurance policy.
  • Additionally, students using University-rented or -owned vehicles will be subject to disciplinary action if these vehicles are used for personal reasons at any time.
  • Traffic violations are the responsibility of the person driving the vehicle. Student organization funds may not be used to pay traffic violation fees or fines. Unpaid tickets and/or citations can lead to a suspension of travel privileges for the group.
  • All traffic accidents, regardless of severity, must be reported to the Department of Public Safety immediately. If you are not on campus, please call Public Safety at (609) 258-1000. A detailed report of the accident must be submitted to your home department on the first full day after the the group returns to campus. This report will be distributed to the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Risk Management for insurance purposes.
  • Failure to comply with these procedures will result in prohibition of group travel. The University maintains the right to cancel any trip due to safety concerns (i.e., poor road conditions and storm warnings).
  • When using your own vehicle on organization business, your personal insurance is always primary, which means that you are liable for any accidents and for those traveling with you in your car.
  • Using a personal vehicle on University related business is an exposure to personal insurance coverage.

Other Modes of Transportation

  • University insurance does not cover transportation in fifteen passenger vans. Fifteen passenger vans are not permitted to be used for any student organization’s travel needs. Any group found using a fifteen passenger van for any travel may be subject to disciplinary action and will lead to a suspension of travel privileges for the group.
  • Golf Carts: Organizations using University owned or leased golf carts are required to follow University policy [INSERT LINK] governing such activity. Failure to comply with these policies will result in the revocation of golf cart privileges for the group responsible.
  • If the organization is traveling with a group of 30 or more students, it may be most cost-effective to charter a bus (either a coach bus or a yellow school bus). With this option, please keep the following in mind: Bus transportation costs typically start around $750 and coach buses may cost twice as much as a yellow school bus Pick-up and drop-off locations must be coordinated through the Office of Parking & Transportation [INSERT LINK]  Prospect Avenue is located in the Princeton Township (i.e., The Street does not belong to the University).
  • If you would like to use this as your pick-up/drop-off location, you must coordinate with the Office of Parking & Transportation and the Princeton Township Parking Department [INSERT LINK] . Inquire in advance what the company's policy is regarding tipping the driver Flight arrangements should be made through University Travel (finance@princeton.edu).

Other Policies

Lotteries, Raffles, & Door Prizes

  • When fundraising tickets are sold in the form of an admission charge or raffle ticket in order to support a student organization or outside organization/non-profit, NJ state regulations apply.
  • The State of New Jersey Legalized Games of Choice Control Commission oversees the operation of organizations registered to conduct games of chance, such as raffles and bingo. The regulations for these activities are extensive and student groups should be aware that securing proper registration is a time consuming process.
  • Should you choose to register your event in order to sell tickets, the forms should be submitted at least two months in advance.
  • Use of government-issued currency is not permitted in any gaming (i.e., poker, casino games, bingo, etc.).

Hosting Guests on Campus

Princeton student organizations may host guests from other colleges and universities. These guests are expected to carry and present their college IDs when requested, just as Princeton students are expected to carry and present their PUIDs when requested. Hosting guests unaffiliated with a college or university requires permission from your group's home department. Please note that while high school students may participate in student organization events, they may not be hosted on campus overnight. When hosting guests, please be aware that you are fully responsible for them and their conduct for the duration of their time on campus.

Student organizations are prohibited from housing students in any common area in University buildings. ODUS student organizations may not compensate hosts or otherwise incentivize hosting with cash or cash equivalents.

Student organizations that wish to allow Princeton students to bring non-Princeton students as guests to their events must abide by the following policies:

  • Safeguards must be hired to staff the entrance(s) to the event
  • Public Safety must be hired to staff the event
  • Each Princeton student will be permitted no more than one guest
  • Each Princeton student must present a valid PUID and each guest must present a valid school- or government-issued ID. 
  • Each Princeton student must sign a log agreeing to the following terms: I, the undersigned, acknowledge that I know my guest and take full responsibility for their actions at this event. I agree that, should by guest violate any rules of conduct as stated in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, I will be contacted and may face disciplinary action based upon those violations.
  • In order for your home department to approve the presence of non-University community members at your event, the event may not be advertised off-campus (e.g., via other universities' email lists, Facebook groups, flyers in town, etc.)

Hiring Relatives and Students

  • Hiring Relatives To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, student organizations are not permitted to hire relatives to provide services for financial gain without the written approval of their home departments.
  • Hiring Students Per University policy, students are not permitted to hire other Princeton University students for services (websites, posters, DJing, etc.). If an organization wishes to hire a student to do work for them, they must seek the explicit written permission of their home department prior to the work being done.

Fundraising for Other Non-profits and Humanitarian Relief Efforts

Student organizations are permitted to participate in fundraising efforts to support other non-profits (e.g., the Red Cross) and humanitarian causes. 

  • Fundraising should be conducted under the auspices of a recognized and registered student organization
  • Funds for donation to another non-profit may not be solicited from University departments, programs, organizations, etc.
  • Before you begin the process of registering and advertising your fundraiser, the student organization must contact the designated non-profit organization and request that the non-profits name be used in association with a fundraiser on campus. A written statement on the letterhead of the benefiting organization must be obtained by the student organization and submitted to an administrator in your home department via email. This letter should clarify the terms of the fundraiser as mutually agreed upon by the sponsoring group and the benefiting organization. Ensure contact information is included in the letter.
  • In order to set up tables for fundraising purposes, student or groups should obtain permission from those persons in charge of the facility at which they wish to solicit and should inform your home department of these locations using the Event Registration Form
  • University funds may be used to advertise fundraising efforts or to provide information and other educational materials to members of the University community. The cost of these expenditures should be modest in comparison to the amount raised directly for the relief effort, cause, or non-profit organization.
  • Donation by check should be strongly encouraged. Checks must be made out directly to the benefiting organization (i.e., Red Cross, CARE, etc.) This method of donation is also useful for the donor as they have the record of a cancelled check for tax purposes.
  • Should an organization need to accept cash contributions, it should articulate procedures that ensure the security and proper accounting of the cash collected. The organization should also review these procedures with a member of your home department's staff. 
  • Donations may be collected in three ways:
    1. Cash/check—Please see the bullet point below for information on how to obtain a cash box and see the section below for information on how to handle cash/check donations
    2. Via your student organization account—If you are selling tickets to a performance or event, the profits from the sale will be deposited into your student organization account. An administrator in your home department can then transfer the proceeds to the organization/cause you are supporting. See the section below for more information.
    3. Donors can give directly to the organization or cause—If the organization or cause has their own website or crowdfunding site, donors should be encouraged to provide their support directly whenever possible.
  • Your home department can provide a cash box to facilitate the collection of cash donations. Cash and checks should not be kept in an individual student's possession. Rather, the student organization should contact Public Safety to inquire about the use of a safety deposit box. Every day, when collection is done, the group should contact DPS for assistance in transporting the cash box back to Public Safety for safe keeping.
  • Prior to beginning the process of registering and advertising a fundraiser, the sponsoring student organization must contact the designated non-profit organization and request permission for use of their name in association with a fundraiser on campus. A written statement provided on letterhead or via email must be obtained by the student organization and submitted to an administrator in your home department. The letter should clarify the terms of the fundraiser as mutually agreed upon.

Upon completion of the fundraiser, the sponsoring student organization must:

  • Pick up cash/checks from Public Safety and return the cash box and key
  • Transfer the funds to the receiving organization by:
    1. Determining how much money you have raised for the receiving organization and notifying the organization via email (make sure to cc an administrator in your home department!)
    2. Bringing cash and/or checks to the Financial Service Center on the 7th Floor of New South, where they will be deposited into your group's account OR Notifying your home department that all collected funds are in your group's account and requesting that an administrator transfer the funds to the receiving organization
  • The sponsoring student or organization must provide your home department with a detailed summary report of the fundraiser. Special care should be given to delineate all costs, including a profit per item calculation, advertising and institutional support costs (i.e., printing & mailing, tables, etc.) The report should confirm how much money was raised, how much was donated to the designated charity and the date the donation was sent.