While there are a large number of policies that Student Activities regulates, there are a few that you should be aware of as an advisor. Our student groups plan over 2000 events during the academic year and there are a few occasions when you should see some red flags during the planning process. Be on the lookout for any event your student group wants to host that requires a contract, alcohol, or off campus trip. We will touch upon some of the more important ones that cater to your role as an advisor; however, we do suggest becoming familiar with all our policies. Something to keep in mind if you advise both undergraduate and graduate student organizations is that we have a few policies that do not overlap for both groups.
We would love if all of our advisors were a part of the conversation with our student groups when they want to plan their events but we know the reality is our students are eager and tend to jump the gun. You may find that your students like to plan formals or events off campus at one of Boston’s local watering holes or luxurious hotels, or even take a harbor cruise. An important conversation to have with your executive board is to communicate to them and to their members that under no circumstance are the students able to enter into a contract with an off campus venue. All contracts must be submitted to Student Activities and we facilitate a review by the Office of General Counsel and receive the signature from an appropriate University personnel. When students come into Student Activities with a signed contract, the student who signed said contract is at that point liable for any and all expenses accrued. Students need to work with the venue to get a blank copy of the contract for our office to review.
In general, all non-university speakers, performers, or entertainers are required to sign a contract for their services. Boston University contracts always take precedence over any other contracts or riders. Sometimes performers/venues ask for deposits with a contract and typically we do not honor this request because the University prefers to pay the amount in full. Our advice to you is be invested in your group’s budget and learn what exactly they are paying for and if it is an appropriate use of funds.
Contracts are not needed for Boston University faculty or staff. University faculty and staff may not be paid for providing any service to an organization. If a student group is hosting lectures and/or performances by Boston University staff or faculty, student groups are asked to complete a Letter of Agreement to confirm the details of the event with the guest.
As a student organization advisor, your students may ask you to chaperone various trips and functions throughout the academic year. There are some circumstances when our office requires a chaperone to be in attendance at a program or event but this doesn’t always necessarily have to be you. A chaperone must be an exempt faculty/staff member.
Chaperones are required at all undergraduate student organization programs that involve the rental of a 12 passenger vehicle, events that involve alcohol, and programs that are hosted at an off campus rented venue. Student organizations are expected to cover all expenses for the chaperone.
If you advise an organization that arranges annual service trips abroad please know that a chaperone is required to attend the trip with the students. There is also a series of small trainings we hold with the chaperone and students who travel abroad which is explained in the International Travel policy section of this manual.
Occasionally our students get a little swanky and want to hold an event on campus with a cash bar, at a local watering hole, or at their annual formal ball. We realize our students are adults and we want to support them in creating a successful event but manage it in a safe way.
Our student organizations may request to have alcohol served at their functions, however we have a few guidelines before we can give them the okay. The process can take some time so we expect all paperwork for events with alcohol three weeks before the event. First, the facility the function will be held at must be properly licensed for the service of alcohol. There are a limited number of spaces on campus that currently have an alcohol license in place and if a student requests their event in a location that does not already have a license Catering must apply for one with the city. If your club wants to hold their event with alcohol on campus they must work with Catering to adhere to the university’s policy regarding alcohol on campus. Second, we ask our students to complete an Alcohol Request form which must be signed by the president or treasurer of the organization, the organization advisor, the venue representative, and the chaperone for the event. This form must have all of the original signatures. The director of Student Activities reviews this form and will give the final approval for the event. Third, we require a chaperone to be present for the entirety of the event. We also advise our students that alcohol may not be the main focus of the event or used in the advertising of the event. Student organizations are not permitted to have an open bar at any event. They must provide sufficient food and non-alcoholic beverages free of charge. A detailed list or invoice of the food being provided must accompany the paperwork, a copy of the menu is not sufficient documentation.
As an advisor of an undergraduate student organization, be aware that your students may use organization funds for the costs associated with the service of alcohol, such as service fees, but may not use organization funds for the purchase of alcohol. Generally, permission to have alcohol served at events is not extended to undergraduate student organizations whose average age is below 21.
Advising Graduate Groups and Their Events with Alcohol
We recognize that our graduate students are of the legal drinking age and therefore we have a different alcohol policy for these student groups. Please reference the Student Activities website for the full policy on alcohol related events for graduate groups.
Recently we have seen a spike in the number of student groups that want to travel abroad to complete service projects or conduct research. Planning for a trip abroad like this should really start about a year before the anticipated trip. Any student group that wants to travel abroad must complete the International Travel Form on YouDo and meet all requirements of Student Activities and Global Programs. A chaperone is required for any and all travel outside of the country. This might be a circumstance where your students will come to you and ask if you will accompany them on their trip. At this time our office does not financially support chaperones however most groups cover the finances of the chaperone while abroad.