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Planning Events with Alcohol

Updates from Lexington

How can alcohol be present at a chapter event that is compliant with Sigma Nu’s Risk Reduction Policy and Guidelines?

Sigma Nu’s Risk Reduction Policy and Guidelines contains specific information outlining what a chapter cannot do related to having alcohol present at a chapter function. This article addresses two ways alcohol can be present at a chapter function compliant with the Fraternity’s policies.

It should be noted that all chapters must adhere to not only the Fraternity’s policies but also to all applicable laws of the land and to the rules, regulations, policies, and guidelines of the host institution and Interfraternity Council. In cases in which the policies differ, the stricter of the two policies should be followed.

Third-Party Vendor

A chapter can arrange for alcohol at a function by securing the services of a licensed third-party vendor (such as a catering company or bar service) to facilitate a cash bar. The vendor would be responsible for providing the alcohol and bartenders. The alcohol would then be sold by the vendor’s bartender(s) on a per-drink basis to members and guests of legal drinking age. Chapter members should review the FIPG third-party vendor checklist with the vendor prior to hiring their services.


Chapters can use a BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage) format. BYOB guidelines are provided in the FIPG Manual beginning at page 14. Using this format, members and guests who are of age to legally consume alcohol must bring their own beverages if they wish to consume alcohol at the event. All alcohol is collected and stored at a central location with a system in place to ensure they are only provided the alcohol that they personally brought to the event.

For example, you could provide guests with a raffle ticket for alcohol they bring to the event with the other copy of the raffle ticket being taped onto the beverage container which is then stored in a central location. The guest would then go to that central location, present his or her raffle ticket, a member of the chapter would identify the corresponding raffle ticket taped on the beverage container, and then give that beverage to that guest.

BYOB guidelines provided in the FIPG Manual provide that an individual of legal age may bring one six-pack of twelve-ounce beers or one four-pack of wine coolers to an event for personal consumption.

More information on organizing social events can be found in the Social Planning Guide.

With football season underway, keep in mind that the Risk Reduction Policy and Guidelines applies to ALL chapter social events, including chapter-sponsored or organized tailgate functions. Helpful tips for navigating the unique risk management challenges that tailgate functions pose are discussed in further detail in the Fraternity’s We Have A Situation resource and a “Tailgating Best Practices” advisory from Holmes Murphy, the Fraternity’s insurance broker.

As always, your chapter’s Leadership Consultant is available to help answer questions or provide further guidance.

© 2015-2022 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: (540) 463-1869 | Fax: (540) 463-1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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