Now that it has formally approved a new pilot governing alcohol use on campus, the University is turning its attention to the rollout of the program.
Beginning Oct. 19, the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Program Initiatives will begin accepting applications from student groups to register on-campus events under the pilot’s new guidelines. The first registered events can be held starting Oct. 25.
The pilot program — which was approved by the University last Wednesday and endorsed unanimously by the Undergraduate Assembly Sunday night — features several significant changes from Penn’s current alcohol policy.
For the first time since the University Alcohol and Drug Policy was implemented in 1999, the pilot program allows students to have mixed drinks at certain registered events. Currently, Penn’s alcohol policy prohibits all drinks other than beer or wine.
In addition, the pilot program — which will run for one year — calls for more on-campus spaces to be opened up for use by non-Greek student groups.
“Currently, there aren’t spaces for non-fraternity groups to have events with alcohol on campus, so their only options are to go off campus for parties in some capacity,” Director of Alcohol and Other Drug Program Initiatives Julie Lyzinski Nettleton said. “We are hoping to rectify that by creating spaces to have events on campus.”
Nettleton added that, given the relatively quick turnaround of the pilot’s implementation, student organizations and Greek chapters will need to act quickly if they hope to register events for late October.
“Groups are going to need to have all their ducks in a row in order to turn their registration in, so planning needs to start well before that first deadline,” she said.
For groups that hope to use on-campus spaces for events with alcohol, the registration process will be twofold.
First, similar to the steps required to book Penn facilities today, students will need to rent out the space in advance through individual building managers. Once students have booked the space, they will be required to submit an alcohol registration request using AOD’s online forms at least a week in advance of the event.
Whether alcohol will be permitted in different campus facilities will largely be determined on a building-by-building basis, said College junior and UA President Dan Bernick.
Moving forward, Bernick — a member of Penn’s Alcohol Policy Review Committee, which spent the past year reviewing the University’s alcohol policy — will work with the rest of the UA to inform the staffs at different campus buildings of the pilot and get their buy-in to allow events with alcohol.
“Getting the space is still going to be on a first-come, first-served basis, but in order to make the pilot work, we want to make sure there are enough spaces that are open to having alcohol to begin with,” he said.
Once event registration begins, Nettleton added, AOD will closely monitor the pilot’s effectiveness by looking at alcohol-related data across campus.
“The vast, vast majority of transports to the hospital today stem from students attending events off campus versus on campus. We have very few — sometimes zero — transports stemming from on-campus events,” she said. “It seems to be a fairly well-accepted fact among students that off campus is not only less safe, but that it’s also become more vibrant over the years. We’re trying to change that.”
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