Smooth Implementation for Social Hosting Revisions

Selina Koller

Last semester, Colgate enacted new Social Hosting Guidelines, which were articulated by Dean of the College Suzy Nelson, in cooperation with the Student Government Association (SGA). The new Guidelines were subjected to much debate and revision prior to enactment, but their initial implementation has gone well.

The changes to the Guidelines included distinction between types of social gatherings (small private events, large invitation events and catered events), each of which must follow certain, respective stipulations, including registration policies, alcohol guidelines and presence of Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS)-certified hosts. Additionally, food and non-alcoholic drinks must be provided throughout the duration of an event, and university officials may check on an event prior to it or during it. The Guidelines in their entirety may be found on the Colgate website.

Assistant Dean for Campus Life Fouad Saleet estimates events registered under the new Guidelines average about 35 a month. While the Greek community is responsible for many of these events, there are also many that are held unaffiliated with a Greek organization, including those hosted by Broad Street interest houses and other non-Greek student organizations.

SGA Senior Policy Coordinator and member of Theta Chi fraternity senior James Speight contributed to the new Guidelines, and hopes their continued use will promote more events hosted by the non-Greek community.

“A goal that is still being pursued is the diversity of registered social events – a disproportionate amount of registered events are hosted in Greek residences,” Speight said. “SGA began piloting a food grant system to help subsidize food and non-alcoholic beverages for registered events hosted outside of Greek residences, and the hope is that more students will utilize the system.”

Registration for an event is through Colgate’s Get Involved website, which is faster and easier than the previous paper registration. Were registrants to encounter problems, however, Saleet hosts “open hours” every Wednesday to help students plan, prepare for and register events.

Social Chair of Theta Chi fraternity sophomore Ben Fortgang hasn’t encountered any issues yet with the new system. “The new guidelines are fairly easy to follow and require an open and honest relationship with the

administration,” Fortgang said.

Speight feels the initial implementation of the Guidelines have been successful.

“With regards to implementation of the new social hosting procedure, the initial roll out has been very successful. Many of the goals that were set prior to implementation are being achieved,” Speight said. “Examples of visible benefits are an expedited process, increased numbers of TIPS-trained students and much more positive interactions and relationships with Campus Safety.”

Current SGA Vice President and former president of Sigma Chi fraternity senior Matt Haley agrees the changes have overwhelmingly had positive effects.

“The changes have been a good show of the University’s trust in the fraternities and other organizations to throw safe and successful events,” Haley said. “I think the implementation has gone very well, with safer events being the result of this social hosting policy. Overall, it really empowers the organizations to take responsibility of their event and make sure it is well-managed, safe and successful.”

The new Guidelines have caused fraternities and other organizations to make changes in the way in which they approach their preparation of and planning for events.

“We have made changes in making non-alcoholic beverages and food more available during the party, which really was not a major change,” Haley said. “Further, we have had to delegate more responsibility to the social chairs for organizing events, including assigning brothers as bartenders for the night, wristband distribution and sober monitors.This has led to better thought-out and organized events.”

“The Greek students, at least from my interactions, have found the program to be better than the previous process. They are having an easier time discussing issues that come up and working with me to troubleshoot problems as they arise,” Saleet said. “I have also heard from a few organization presidents that the process has strengthened their relationship with Campus Safety, who conducts pre-party meetings with the organizations right before their events.”

Fortgang agrees with Saleet, despite a few changes that could have been made.

“I feel that the new social hosting policies are going well, despite a few minor flaws,” Fortgang said. “For example, I believe that the banning of kegs is greatly detrimental to not only control of the influx of alcohol at a party, but also not very sustainable considering the amount of cans that are used on a weekly basis.”

“We have enjoyed the new policy,” Haley said. “It has let us (namely our social chairs) meet and better understand and get to know the Campus Safety officers who are on call for the night when they walk through to make sure we are all set up for a safe event.”

Contact Selina Koller at [email protected]