MUSC Student Organizations Support
Responsible Hosting Guidelines & Strategies
As a host, it is your responsibility to provide guests with a safe environment in which they can have fun. Moreover, you want to make sure that everyone lives to remember the fun they had. Whether the event is held at a home, in a bar, or on campus, your main responsibility is to protect your guests.
This booklet is designed to give hosting organizations guidelines and strategies for having a safe and successful party. These “Responsible Hosting Guidelines” are referred to in the “Medical University of South Carolina Student Policy for Alcoholic Beverage Serving” and should be considered prior to completing the “Event Approval Form.” Another resource for general event planning and management is the MUSC Student Organizations’ Organizer. Please contact the Office of Student Programs, 792-2693, with any questions regarding serving alcoholic beverages and/or event planning.
You are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with the appropriate staff member to discuss the planned event and submit an “Event Approval Form.” College-sponsored events will require the approval of the sponsoring organization’s college’s Dean or his/her designee. University-wide events will require the approval of the Executive Director of Student Programs.
The “Event Approval Form” must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event. If you are planning to sell alcohol or charge admission to an event where alcohol will be included in the admission price, you will need to begin the process of acquiring a “Temporary Beer, Wine, and/or Liquor License Permit” four weeks prior to the event.
South Carolina Law and Your Responsibility
South Carolina laws/statutes related to alcohol service are directed to commercially licensed establishments. Since student organizations and individuals are not commercially licensed, they are considered to be “social hosts.”
Although S.C. does not have specific laws pertaining to the service of alcohol by “social hosts,” violations of statutes related to the sale, possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages may result in liability to the individual, student group, and MUSC. As a host of an event where alcoholic beverages are served/consumed, it is your responsibility to be aware of these statutes and to do your best to see that these laws are complied with at your function.
S.C. statutes specify that:
A) It is a misdemeanor for a person under the age of twenty-one to possess or consume alcoholic beverages.
B) It is unlawful to sell beer or wine to an intoxicated person.
C) A beer and wine/or liquor license is required for the sale of alcohol. Sale of alcohol is defined to include events where the admission price includes alcohol or contributions are requested for alcoholic beverages.
D) It is a violation of state law to drink publicly on the streets or public property, or to have an open container of alcohol in any vehicle.
Although a copy of these statutes may be obtained in the Office of Student Programs, having an understanding of the information contained in the statutes is all that is needed for planning purposes.
The spirit of the “Medical University of South Carolina Student Policy for Alcoholic Beverage Serving” and “Event Approval Form” is to help assure that student event planners are aware of these statutes and responsible hosting strategies, and plan to implement them at their event. The Medical University of South Carolina, its employees, and agents do not by approval of any student function, accept liability arising directly or indirectly from said event. All student groups, although affiliated with the Medical University of South Carolina, are voluntary and independent organizations and do not have the authority to enter into contractual arrangements on behalf of the University.
Techniques and Strategies for Hosting a Responsible Party
1. Obtaining a Temporary License to Sell Alcohol
-Not necessary if the sponsored event will be held at a commercially licensed establishment, i.e., a restaurant or a bar-
If you are planning to host an event where alcohol is sold or included in the admission price and you are at a non-licensed establishment, you will need to secure and display a S.C. Temporary Beer, Wine and/or Liquor Permit.
A) The Student Programs Office has S.C. Temporary Beer, Wine and/or Liquor Permit application forms (Forms 900 and 100)and will help you and your faculty advisor complete the process. Timeliness is of the utmost importance in obtaining a permit by the date needed. Begin at least 4 weeks in advance!
B) Your faculty advisor will need to obtain the permit in his/her name since, as an employee of the state of South Carolina, he/she is covered by general tort liability insurance. The 1st step for the applicant is to obtain a SLED check by going to www.sled.state.sc.us and selecting Criminal Records Check. The fee is $25 and may be charged to the advisor’s MUSC credit card. A copy of the SLED check must be attached to the permit application.
C) An admissions or retail tax license number will be needed to complete the ABL-900If the organization does not have either type of license, they can apply for Admission Exemption # by completing an Admissions Tax Exemption (form L-2068). This can be located at Admissions Tax Form L-2068. Typically, exemption 4 or 11 will be used for all student related activities (see Exemptions to Admission Tax on form L-2068).
D) When all information is completed, the ABL 100 form must be signed by a representative from the Police Department of the jurisdiction where the event is to be held. If the event is to be held in the City of Charleston, call Ms. Olive Coleman at 720-2449 and then deliver Forms 900 and 100 to her in the Police Dept. at 180 Lockwood Drive. She will call you when the forms have been signed (typically 2-3 days).
E) Upon obtaining all the requirements above (completed ABL-900 SLED check, Verification of Lawful Background for Applicant’s Principals form) you can take all forms and a check made payable to the SC Dept of Revenue ($10 for Beer/Wine and $35 for Liquor) to the local SC Dept of Revenue office located at:
South Park Circle
Charleston, S.C. 29407
You can also mail the forms and check to the main state office:
SC Dept. of Revenue,
Att: ABL Section
301 Gervais Street
Columbia, SC 29214-0907
Again, timeliness is of the utmost importance in obtaining the permit so you should plan on this taking 6 weeks to complete as there are many parts to this process.
F) When receiving your permit, please check with the Department of Revenue regarding paying taxes on money collected at your event. You may need to pay taxes, depending on your event circumstances.
2. Promoting the Event
A) When issuing an invitation or designing a flier, emphasize features of the event other than alcohol service; i.e., conviviality, food, location, entertainment.
B) Consider promoting the designated driver concept and provide alternate forms of transportation (See section 8-C).
C) Be honest when inviting guests who are known to drink in excess. Tell them that drinking and driving is unacceptable at your party.
D) Refer to the “MUSC Student Organizations’ Organizer” for information on effectively promoting your event on campus through the communications’ network.
3. General Event Supervision
A) Designate an “event manager” who will abstain from drinking and be responsible for supervising the party from beginning to end. Multiple managers for larger events are recommended.
Ideally, event manager(s) will have read this information and/or attended a “Responsible Hosting Training Session” and helped complete the “Event Approval Form.”
B) In addition, one or more off-duty MUSC Public Safety officers should be hired to assist with the event management. Public Safety officers will help manage the entrance; monitor the event in progress; and help assess guests’ conditions when the party is over.
To arrange for Public Safety’s presence at your event, contact Major Kevin Kerley at 792-4196. This should be done at least 2 weeks prior to the date the officer (s) are needed. The number of officers required will be determined according to the event location (on- or off-campus) and the number of guests expected.
Officers must be paid upon conclusion of the event. The cost is $25/hour (minimum of 2 hours). Arrange for Officer(s) to arrive 30 minutes before the event begins and to stay 30 minutes after, or until all guests have left.
4. Managing the Door
A) Greet guests at the door to assure that there are no “party crashers” and that underage guests are clearly identified (see 3B). Although usually only a small number of MUSC students are under 21 years of age, you also need to be concerned about the age of students’ guests! While greeting guests at the door, make sure that they have made plans for a safe ride home! You may want to consider operating a “key board” – take guests’ car keys upon arrival and return them to guests who appear to be in good condition to drive.
B) Wristbands must be used to distinguish legal drinkers. They can be purchased at local party supply stores and online. Do not use markers, stamps or anything that is easy to remove or duplicate.
5. Managing the Bar
A) Never serve alcohol to anyone who is underage or who appears to be intoxicated!
Hire professional bartenders. The purpose of this practice to protect you and your organization as social hosts where alcohol is being served and to assure that impaired and underage guests are more readily identified and that reasonable drinks are poured and distributed. Keep in mind that it will be easier for professional bartenders to be firm and impartial
1) Students should not be used as servers for any reason. Hire professional bartenders who carry at least a one million dollar liability policy.
2) Bartending services that have a good track record with MUSC is A Southern Bartender owned by Keith Purdy, 345-6300, and Snyder Event Services, 766-3366. There are others availability in the Charleston area but be mindful that they are fully insured and their prices are competitive with other services.
B) Limit the time of the party/alcohol service to 3 or 4 hours. With the exception of certain special events, any longer than 4 hours is too long.
At a banquet or dinner party, do not let the “cocktail hour” last long enough to see the effects of drinking on an empty stomach! Make appetizers readily available, especially if the cooking or service is slower than anticipated!
C) Close the bar before the event is officially over – 60 minutes is recommended but 30 minutes may be more realistic depending upon the event location. It is not a good idea to have people consume alcohol right before they leave the premises!
Consider offering non alcoholic beverages and dessert as a “night cap.”
E) To slow down consumption, have a cash bar or give each guest a limited number of drink tickets.
F) Have a reasonable amount of alcohol for the crowd you anticipate. Given the different factors that affect blood alcohol concentration described in this publication, the body can typically metabolize one drink an hour.
In planning for consumption at this rate and the number of people you expect, bear in mind these measurements when stocking the bar:
1 keg of beer = 165 (12 oz.) servings
1 750 ml bottle of wine = 5 (5 oz.) servings
1 1.5 liter bottle of wine = 10 (5 oz.) servings
1 liter bottle of liquor (33.8 oz.) = 33 (1 oz.) or 22 (1.5 oz. servings)
G) When hosting a private party, serve alcohol in glasses that are an appropriate size for the above measurements. “Yards of Beer” and giant mugs are risky and not recommended.
H) Waiting for a drink is not a bad thing! As a host, of course you want to guests to get good service, but waiting in a short line to get to the bar helps slow things down.
J) Do not serve “doubles” or “shooters” or play drinking games.
K) Encourage the consumption of non-carbonated mixers. Carbonation speeds up the effect of alcohol.
6. Non-Alcoholic Beverages
A) Have an enticing variety of non-alcoholic beverages convenient and available for folks who choose not to drink, cannot drink, or who have had too much to drink.
Along with an assortment of soft drinks (diet and regular), provide at least one non-carbonated beverage; i.e., lemonade, iced tea, coffee, fruit juices or bottled water. There are numerous recipes for appealing punches and “mocktails.” Following are some of our favorites:
1 quart cranberry juice
1 pint orange juice
2 lemons squeezed or 2 ounces lemon juice
4 quarts ginger ale
Combine juices with ice and chill. Pour into punch bowl over block of ice and add ginger ale. Garnish glasses with mint sprigs. (May add orange sherbet scoops.) Makes 44 servings
Tom Collins Fruit Punch
1/2 gallon orange or lime sherbet
1/2 gallon pineapple sherbet
1 quart Tom Collins mix
2 quarts ginger ale
Cut frozen sherbet into small blocks, place into punch bowl and pour in Collins mix and ginger ale. Makes 25-30 servings.
Pineapple-Orange Fruit Punch
2 (6-ounce) cans frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 (6-ounce) cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 (48-ounce) can pineapple juice
3 cups water
3 cups sugar
2 pints strawberries, hulled
1 (1-liter) bottle lemon-lime soda (recommended: Sprite)
Combine the orange juice, lemonade, and pineapple juice and stir well. Bring 3 cups water and the sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan and boil until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Add the syrup to the fruit juices. Place the whole strawberries into a ring mold. Pour in enough fruit juice to fill the mold. Freeze. Refrigerate the remaining juice. When ready to serve, pour the fruit juice into a punch bowl and add the soda. Float the strawberry ice ring in the punch.
4 cups cranberry juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cups pineapple juice
1 tbsp. Almond extract
2 qts. ginger ale
Combine first four ingredients. Stir until sugar is dissolved, chill. Then add ginger ale just before serving. Add cherry ice ring to keep punch cold. Serves 30.
B) Alternative beverages should be as appealing and as easy to find as alcoholic beverages. Make cups and ice readily available. Bear in mind that 30% of the general population does not drink alcoholic beverages.
7. Serve Alcohol with Caution AND FOOD
A) Focus on food and make sure you have plenty of it at your event! Plan to feature food and make it a significant event budget item. Brainstorm with colleagues about what foods would enhance your event theme and about new ideas/resources for a substantial, yet cost effective, menu.
B) Limit serving anything that stimulates thirst, primarily salty and spicy snacks and food.
C) Emphasize high protein foods (like meats, cheeses, eggs, unsalted nuts and seafood). They buffer the alcohol by remaining in the stomach longer and slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
D) See the MUSC Student Organizations’ Organizer for ideas and information regarding food service. Grocery stores and wholesale stores (Sam’s, Costco) and restaurants (i.e. Chick-Fil-A) have good selections of prepared appetizers and deli platters. But, if you like the “homemade” touch, here are a few recipes for easy, yet substantial appetizers:
1 lb. sausage (uncooked)
3 cups biscuit mix
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Mix the ingredients and roll into balls. The moisture in the sausage and cheese will hold the mixture together. Bake for 15 minutes.
Mexican Bean Salsa
2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can white shoepeg corn
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch spring onions or 1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
1 large jar mild salsa
2 T. cumin
2 T. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients and refrigerate. Serve with small round tortilla chips.
2 packages wieners (cut in 1/2 inch pieces); or cocktail wieners
1 bottle Catalina dressing (or BBQ sauce)
Heat sauce and add wiener pieces. When pieces are cooked, reduce temperature to simmer. Keep warm (a Crock-Pot is perfect for this). Have toothpicks available.
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 carton (8 oz.) sour cream
5 green onions
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies, drained
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 TBS chopped black olives
1 pkg. (12 count) large flour tortillas
1 jar (8oz.) picante sauce
Blend the first 6 ingredients until smooth. If you have a food process, use it. Otherwise, a bowl, spoon and elbow grease work well. Spread mixture on flat tortillas. Roll up tortillas. Wrap each rolled tortilla individually in damp paper towels. Place in airtight plastic bag(s) and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, remove rolled tortillas from plastic bags and paper toweling. Slice each rolled tortilla crosswise into 1” pieces or pinwheels. Serve on wooden toothpicks with a bowl of picante sauce on the side for dip.
8. Entertainment and Creating the Right Climate
A) Make sure that guests are comfortable at your event. Be sure to introduce and include everyone in the festivities. “Wallflowers” and folks who feel socially uncomfortable will have a tendency to drink more.
B) Have some entertainment besides the bar! Dancing, games, conversation, etc. keep people busy and amused. Brainstorm with your co-planners to come up with some creative ideas to make your event fun and memorable. See the “Organizations’ Organizer” for tips regarding booking entertainment (bands, DJs, etc.)
9. The Party’s Over: Getting Home Safely
A) Do not let your guests consume alcohol right before they leave the party since the effects of the alcohol may hit them on their way home (See section 4-C).
B) As your guests prepare to leave, do your best to assess their level of impairment. MUSC Public Safety officers are great assistance with this if guests have had too much to drink. Never let an impaired guest to drive home! Help them get a ride with a sober guest, call a cab or let them stay at the event site.
C) When planning an event, organizers may want to consider prearranging for transportation or formalizing a designated driver program. Resources for prearranged transportation include MUSC’s University Transportation, 577-6683 (42 passenger buses); Absolutely Charleston, 747-4448 (8-11 passenger vans, 30-34 passenger trolleys, 25-38 passenger buses); Gray Line Tours, 722-4444 (25 passenger buses); and Carolina Transit, (843) 681-3970 (47 and 57 passenger buses). New transportation options are coming into service, so please check online to view the current availability. Do not limit yourselves to the above list.
A suggestion for formalizing a designated driver program is to offer the designated driver an incentive such as free event admission, movie tickets or another give away. You may want to consider noting designated drivers with a sticker or specifically colored plastic wristband.
D) Nothing but time will sober someone who has had too much to drink. Coffee consumption, exercise and cold showers are all myths. A general rule is that it takes as many hours to sober up as number of drinks consumed.
E) If an individual is drunk and abusive, call Public Safety (if on-campus) or the Police (if off-campus). If in doubt, call for help – better safe than sorry.
F) If an individual passes out, seek medical help immediately.
G) Evaluate this event and alcohol service for the next time and for future event organizers. Make notes of successes and areas that need improvement (especially regarding safer alcohol service.).
Effects of Alcohol on the Body:
Alcohol is used for a number of reasons, including relaxation or stress reduction, to facilitate social interactions, and to feel good. The effectiveness of alcohol in producing these effects depends on a number of factors. These factors include the type of alcoholic beverage consumed, the amount and rate of consumption, characteristics of the individual consuming alcohol, and other factors, such as food and/or other drugs consumed. Brief information about these factors is presented below.
Of importance is the fact that in South Carolina a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or eight one hundredths of a milliliter of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood is considered legally drunk. This amounts to about one drop of alcohol per 100 drops of blood. Although this may seem like an extremely small amount, the behavioral effects of alcohol can be seen in lower concentrations.
1. Signs of Intoxication
A person may show a slight personality change, such as appearing relaxed or becoming overfriendly, or being talkative, loud or obnoxious. Others may become introverted and reclusive, drinking alone.
A person may increase his/her rate of consumption, order doubles, order rounds for the house, or buy drinks for total strangers. Others may become angry or emotional, and sometimes fights may break out.
These signs include loss of concentration, glassy eyes, slurred speech, drowsiness and inability to focus their eyesight, and loss of eye contact.
These signs include difficulty in walking or talking properly, problems in picking up change off the bar or lighting a cigarette; slumping over the bar; or an inability to sit up straight or drive safely. If a person is exhibiting signs of slowed reactions or poor coordination, he/she is too intoxicated to leave and someone must intervene to insure the safety of the intoxicated person.
2. Factors Determining Alcohol Absorption
Amount and Rate of Alcohol Consumption:
The average person can metabolize 0.5 oz. of pure ethyl alcohol per hour. Consequently, drinking more than one standard drink per hour increases the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream and therefore, increases the effects of the alcohol. For example, beers at 4% alcohol X 12 oz. = 0.48 oz. of ethyl alcohol.
Type of Alcoholic Beverage Consumed:
12 oz. beer (4-6% alcohol content) = 5 oz. wine (10-12% alcohol content) = 1.5 oz. liquor (80 proof) = 1 oz. 100 proof liquor (see below)
Standard Drink Servings
12 oz. of Beer (4-6% alcohol content)
5 oz. of Wine (10-12% alcohol content)
1.5 oz. of Liquor 80 proof mixed drink
1 oz. of 100 Proof shot of schnapps
Proof is the term used to determine the alcoholic strength of liquor/liquers.
PROOF = 2 x 5 of Alcohol (i.e. 80 Proof = 40% Alcohol Content)
Important note: The mini-bottle used in S.C. is 1.7 fluid ounces of alcohol. This is stronger than a regular drink, as listed above.
Characteristics of the Individual:
A) Body Size - Generally, if a larger person and a smaller person drink the same amount of alcohol over the same period of time, the larger person will have a lower blood alcohol content at a given time after drinking. This is because the larger person would have a larger volume of blood and body water for the alcohol to mix with. On the other hand, since alcohol does not mix with fat, a larger person with a great amount of body fat may achieve a similar or even higher blood alcohol content compared to a smaller person who has relatively little body fat.
B) Gender - If a man and a woman are the same size and drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman will tend to have a higher blood alcohol concentration at a given time after drinking. There are two reasons for this. First, women tend to have proportionately more fatty tissue and less body water than men, therefore for a given intake of alcohol there is less water in women to dilute the alcohol. Second, a stomach enzyme (alcohol dehydrogenase) which breaks down alcohol is less active in women, thus allowing more alcohol to pass through the digestive system into the blood.
C. Physical Status - The majority of alcohol (90%) is processed by the liver. The remaining portion is either processed by other organs; e.g., stomach, or excreted via lungs or urine. A person experiencing problems with these organs will have a reduced ability to process alcohol. His/her blood alcohol concentration will be higher and tend to remain higher longer.
D. Mental Status - People often drink to alter their mental status. Thus, alcohol is some times called a social stimulant because it helps people who are normally shy become more sociable. Alcohol also helps people who are in stressful situations to relax. Depressed people may drink to “wash away their blues.” People may use alcohol to diminish the effects or even enhance the effects of stimulant drugs.
E. Tolerance to Alcohol - People who consistently and frequently drink alcohol may develop tolerance (reduced action) to an amount of alcohol which previously produced effects. This is because metabolic and/or cellular systems have adapted to handle more alcohol.
A. Food - Food in the stomach, particularly foods high in protein such as meat and cheeses, can significantly slow down the absorption of alcohol into the blood. In contrast, salty foods such as popcorn and salted peanuts make people thirsty, thus tending to increase alcohol intake. (For more information, see Section 6)
B. Use of Other Drugs or Medications - Alcohol often interacts either additively or synergistically with other drugs. Therefore, the use of alcohol when one is taking medications or using recreational drugs is often risky.
Finally . . .
Thanks to the following resources for providing the information used to prepare this publication:
Keith Purdy with Southern Bartending Service
MUSC Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
S.C. Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services
Please call the Student Programs Office, 792-2693, for safe event planning assistance or with any suggestions you may have for increasing the effectiveness of this publication.