Alcohol Use - Students and Student Organizations

Effective: Moved to the Policy Library from the Student Information Handbook (SIH IV)
Contact: Senior Vice President for Student Affairs


Iowa State University is committed to maintaining an environment conducive to healthy lifestyles, including the academic and personal development of all members of the university community. Members of the university community are accountable for their own actions and are expected to make responsible, lawful decisions regarding the use of alcohol. Iowa State University encourages students to hold substance free events and programs.

This policy applies to all students and student organizations affiliated with or recognized by the university. See also the "Alcohol, Drugs and Other Intoxicants" policy which pertains to all university employees, students, and visitors.

Policy Statement

Alcohol may be used only in ways that neither harm nor degrade the individual or the university community. The university community must encourage responsible behavior for those individuals who consume alcohol and respect the rights of individuals who choose not to consume alcohol. Consistent with these rights, the institution will encourage responsible decision-making regarding the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

The university recognizes that some individuals have difficulty with alcohol because they are chemically dependent. Although the institution has an interest in helping those individuals, it neither ensures the safety of nor protects those individuals from the consequences of their acts or violation of this policy or any other rule or regulation.

In order for the university to be consistent and fair in the implementation of this policy, all organizations affiliated with or recognized by the university must observe the following policies with regard to the possession, consumption, distribution, and promotion of alcohol on university property.

Time, Place, and Conditions

The university has the authority to determine the time, place, and conditions under which alcoholic beverages are consumed on university property. Persons under the legal drinking age may not consume or have alcoholic beverages in their possession. The university will clearly designate all locations where alcoholic beverages may be served. Unless specifically allowed by state permit or university policy, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is not permitted within university buildings, within university vehicles, or on other university property.


Drinking activities that are potentially dangerous, such as "chugging" of alcoholic beverages, competitive drinking activities, and activities that employ peer pressure to force participants to consume alcohol, are prohibited. Alcohol is not to be used as an award or prize.

Supervision and Compliance

When alcoholic beverages are served at a social function, the sponsoring organization shall provide adequate supervision at the event and comply with all the applicable laws, ordinances, and rules governing the distribution, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

  • Individuals sponsoring the event must implement precautionary measures to ensure that alcoholic beverages are not accessible or served to persons under the legal drinking age or to persons who appear intoxicated.
  • Nonalcoholic beverages and food are to be provided whenever alcohol is served. They must be displayed as prominently as the alcohol. They must also be available in appropriate quantities depending upon the number of people in attendance.
  • The quantity of alcohol available at an activity is to be based upon the number of people of legal drinking age expected to attend and the duration of the activity.
  • Advertising for events that specify or emphasize the quantity of alcohol to be served is prohibited. Nonalcoholic beverages are to be advertised as prominently as alcohol.
  • All individuals or registered groups must comply with the laws of the State of Iowa, the ordinances of the City of Ames, and the policies of Iowa State University. It is the duty and responsibility of the sponsoring organization(s) or individual(s) to provide adequate supervision and to comply with all applicable laws and university regulations including the activity authorization process.
  • Cash bars are subject to restrictions. See the "Alcohol, Drugs and Other Intoxicants" policy.


To the extent possible and reasonable, the institution will respect a student's privacy within his/her university housing room. Possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted in university housing according to the policies established by the Department of Residence and only for those persons having attained drinking age as stipulated in the laws of the State of Iowa.