Connecting Matters. Where do you draw the line?

Planning a party? As the host, you're responsible for your guests. Here's a quick guide to help you keep it safe.


As host, it’s your responsibility to know and follow New Jersey law (pdf), which prohibits the purchasing, serving, and consumption of alcohol by and to people under 21.

Hosting on-campus parties requires you to know and follow University alcohol policy, in addition to state laws. 

Here are some important facts about hosting on campus as an undergraduate student:

  • Only students who are 21+ may serve alcohol, and only to other 21+ students
  • If hosting a gathering with more than 15 people who are 21+, you must register the gathering
  • Some host responsibilities include:
    • staying sober throughout the party
    • making sure all guests are 21+
    • providing substantial food and non-alcoholic beverages
    • abiding by all laws and University regulations when planning and hosting the party
    • ensuring that people who choose to drink do so responsibly
    • contacting PSafe in the event that someone is severely intoxicated and/or there is unsafe behavior at the party 


Here are some simple actions you can take to help your guests stay in the Green Zone (a BAC at or below 0.06):

  • Provide plenty of desirable non-alcoholic beverages. This makes all guests feel welcome and helps them pace themselves.
  • Water: have it, or provide cups and directions to the closest source.
  • Use clean shot glasses to measure drinks. Pour standard drinks so your guests know how much they’re consuming.
  • Do NOT make pre-mixed drinks (punch, etc.). This is dangerous because your guests won’t know how much alcohol is in their drink.
  • Be prepared in case someone does overdo it. Know what to do in an alcohol emergency and how to prevent an emergency in the first place.


Having food at your party is an easy way to remind people to eat while they are drinking. If you’re in Princeton, you can buy snacks ahead of time at the UStore or the Wa, or you can order food from Say Cheez and Papa John’s—they both deliver past midnight.


If you’re responsible for hosting a party, consider getting together activities beforehand to keep the focus off the alcohol: 

  • Make a great playlist to encourage dancing and start a dance competition. 
  • Not enough room to dance? Watch a movie or play some board games. 
  • Avoid drinking games as they encourage excessive drinking and are in violation of University policy.
  • Make crafts (especially if the party is around a particular holiday) or have coloring books—they inspire creativity, reduce stress, and have made a recent comeback for adults. Your guests can take something with them when they leave and it’s a great way to encourage conversation.

Other Considerations

As a host, you are ultimately responsible for your guests’ safety. Here are some ways to make it easier:

  • Limit the number of guests.  It’s easier to make sure 10 people are okay than 30. Fewer guests also reduces the likelihood of noise complaints.
  • Designate one person to be "on duty." If you are hosting a larger party, it can be helpful to designate one person apart from yourself who can keep an eye on guests and intervene if there’s an issue.
  • Plan ahead. This makes it easier to host a fun party while remaining respectful of your neighbors. What time will the party start? What time will it end? What activities do have planned?
  • If you live with other people, communicate with them beforehand. It’s critical that you respect them and get their permission. It’s their home too. Ensure that they are comfortable with your party, and form a back-up plan in case things go amiss.