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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

New alcohol policy a keg killer? Not so fast, say Clark and SAO

<ee weeks after the revised alcohol policy went into effect, the costs of hiring a third party vendor to operate kegs are still coming into focus.

“We want to maintain activities for students with or without alcohol,” Lee Clark, director of the Student Activities Office, said.

Carleton’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy now requires that all kegs on campus must be served by a third party vendor. The kegs must be served in public spaces, meaning no college-owned housing is allowed to host an event with a keg in private space.

The Student Activities Office is in the midst of finalizing a regular cost structure for student events. What is certain is that the cost per keg will vary depending on the number of people at the event and the number of kegs.

The overall cost of a keg from Bon Appétit, currently the only approved third party vendor, is listed at $200 for domestic beer and $250 for imported beer. SAO was unable to provide any other details.

A keg of Natural Light costs $73.60 at Firehouse Liquor in Dundas.

The total price for hosting an event with kegs through Bon Appétit also includes other services, such as a licensed bartender for up to four hours, cups, ice and snack food.

Regulations require that food be served along with the alcohol, and a bartender must be present.

“The good news is, all the hard work and liability associated with serving alcohol is shifted from the student host to a licensed third party vendor,” Clark said in an e-mail.

Clark said that Student Activities will help cover the costs of food for most events that it advises or approves. Currently, Bon Appétit is the only College-approved vendor.

The Bon Appétit pricing framework is likely to change over the coming weeks but will depend on the campus demand for kegs. The current prices represent a discount compared to similar Bon Appétit-catered events, Clark said.

One positive of using a third party vendor is that the liability regarding the serving of alcohol is transferred from the student host to the third party vendor serving the alcohol.    

Those wishing to host an event with a keg or hard alcohol in a public space will have to register their event with SAO for outdoor or larger public venues and the Office of Residential Life for events in residential areas.

According to Clark, Carleton was one of the last colleges in the country allowing students to pump their own kegs. The change in policy is intended to increase safety and brings Carleton in line with most institutions.

It is not meant to be the first step on a path to a dry campus. Clark is interested in hearing the reactions of students on the costs of kegs.

Further discussion will take place regarding large events, as the per-keg price is unlikely to be feasible for Mai Fete and Rotblatt.

Student Activities has provided financial support in the past.

“The College already gives thousands of dollars towards events such as Rotblatt,” said Clark. “The question now is within the structure of the new policy. Is the cost so substantially larger, that the college will assist financially to a greater extent?”  

Despite the current uncertainty, SAO continues working toward practical policies.  

“We will be having further conversations with students and third party vendors to see how we can maintain the integrity of these long-standing traditions, while at the same time ensure they remain affordable, fun, legal, and safe.”

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