Serving alcohol at campus events


UBC has a policy that relates specifically to the serving and consumption of alcohol on campus. Event organizers are responsible for reviewing this policy and making sure that their event complies with UBC's Serving and Consumption of Alcohol at University Facilities and Events Policy SC9.

When planning an event with alcohol, it is important to note that many members of the university community do not consume alcohol for a variety of reasons, so licensed events can not only be about consuming alcohol. The main activities of the event should be open and inclusive to all individuals—whether or not they choose to consume alcohol at the event.

Depending on your type of event, and the liquor license that is required from the venue, there are specific forms and requirements that must be reviewed and completed before your event.

  • UBC licensed location
    Discuss with the location/venue.
  • UBC location without a liquor license
    For serving alcohol at a location without a liquor license, you will need to book a space, ensure you can serve alcohol in that space, apply for a special event permit, and ensure all additional procedures and policies for the building, department, and organization are being followed. 
  • In a UBC Residence
    For approval to serve alcohol in a residence event space, please contact a Residence Life Manager at the applicable residence. Note that additional conditions may apply.
  • All other UBC locations
    See alcohol policy and discuss with the venue.

Hosting an event with alcohol

UBC student event organizers must follow the rules below if they plan to have alcohol present at the event: 

  • The event organizer is required to be present for the entire event.
  • The organizer, servers, security, and other staff must not consume alcohol during the event.
  • The event must be inclusive and supportive of those members of the University population who cannot or choose not to drink alcohol.
  • Do not encourage over-consumption. If you serve alcohol to someone who becomes impaired as a result, you may be held legally responsible for their actions under the influence.
  • You are responsible for your guests. As licensee, you have a duty of care to protect guests at your event and others from harm(s) that may be associated with drinking. This includes harm which may occur on the premises of your event, as well after the guest has left the premises.

Planning your event

Make sure you understand the following requirements when organizing your event

  • Alcohol may not be used as an enticement to attend the event. The focus of the event is the activity planned (concert, music, games night, etc.), and can not be the alcohol or the alcohol consumption. The promotions and marketing materials should reflect this as well.
  • No indication may be made about the availability of alcohol when promoting the event.
  • Depending on your type of event, there are specific forms that must be completed to book a space on campus and obtain a Special Event Permit. Review the processes for getting a license for an indoor space and outdoor space.
  • The RCMP will determine the amount of alcohol you can purchase.
  • The purpose of your event cannot be to make a profit, and the maximum cost of each alcoholic beverage served must comply with your Special Event Permit.
  • An exception may be made if the LCLB is satisfied that the purpose of the function is to raise funds for a legitimate charity.
  • If the event is outdoors, the area in which alcohol is to be served must be well illuminated and enclosed; entrances and exits must be adequately monitored.
  • The event should be scheduled within legal serving times.
  • All outdoor events on campus, regardless of whether alcohol will be served, must be concluded by 10:00 pm (serving times may be extended with permission by RCMP before approval of Special Event Permit). Indoor events must be concluded by 1:00 am.
  • Leave your event venue clean.
  • Make arrangements ahead of time to make sure you leave the room as you left it.
  • For licensed events with a capacity of 100 or more patrons, the licensee must provide an Event Safety and Emergency Plan to Campus Security, the RCMP, and the Fire Department.

Serving alcohol at your event

  • Get certified
    All managers and paid servers must have Serving It Right certification and be able to provide proof that you are certified.
  • Provide food for your guests
    Make sure you provide a generous variety of food and alcohol-free beverages that are readily accessible and reasonably priced or free.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and water
    Water should be readily available and free of cost to all attendees to ensure appropriate hydration. Ensure that non-alcoholic beverage options are readily available, and if possible, maintain some distance between the serving areas of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to avoid unintentional mixing. This ensures that those who do not want to access or be seen to be accessing alcoholic beverages are comfortable.
  • Sell responsibly
    To support responsible drinking, alcohol may not be sold for less than $2.00 per drink. Alcohol may not be sold at prices exceeding the maximums set in the LCLB Liquor Price Schedule (pdf).
  • Display your Special Event Permit (SEP)
    Make sure your SEP is visible where the alcohol is being sold or dispersed.
  • Check guest IDs
    Plan to check identification to make sure no one who is underage (under 19) is served alcohol.

Make your event safer

Additional resources