SPE Policy (Res Life)

Small Private Events

Mount Holyoke College makes available the opportunity for students and to host Small Private Events (SPE's) in the Common Spaces of Residence Halls.  As the name implies, these are small (less than 50 attendees max) and private (not publicly advertised & by an individual invitation only) events that must meet specific criteria for approval. An SPE is the outlet for small gatherings like birthday parties, holiday gatherings, TV sports viewing, etc. that won’t be comfortable or, let’s face it, as much fun in the cramped space of a res hall room. If you think your program or party ambitions are too large for an SPE, or if you are working as a student organization to plan an event, or if you are trying to host an event with bartending as part of the event talk with Student Programs about other options.

ALL student-planned events, other than SPE’s must register through the Office of Student Programs with an ERF (Event Registration Form).

A small private event (SPE) is a special category of in-residence programming that does not require an Event Registration Form (the ERF), nor is it eligible for services from campus departments. SPE's are defined by the Residential Life Guidelines for Hosting and the SPE policy outlined below. SPEs are only approved for Friday and Saturday nights, in order to balance the needs of residents for quieter academic nights. 

Common Spaces in Residence Halls can also be reserved Sunday through Thursday, 6-8pm by individuals or student orgs for occasional (not weekly) small meetings, rehearsals, study groups, etc... Contact Residential Life.  If you need regular weekly meeting space, consider a room on campus that is not overly popular, and  make a Request for Campus Space online.

The SPE  policies are reviewed and amended periodically to best serve the greater good of the residential community. Please contact your Res Life AC/AD with questions, concerns or suggestions.

For an SPE to be approved it must meet these criteria:

  1. Two Mount Holyoke residents must sign on as the RESPONSIBLE HOSTS. Hosts must be residents of the hall in which the event is being held. 
  2. All events must adhere to College, state and municipal fire safety standards.
  3. Based on risk management review and in line with best practices and policies at peer institutions, no alcohol may be served or consumed in any campus venue unless compliance with MHC policies and state and federal laws can reasonably be assured. Alcohol service by students to students in Residence Hall common areas does not meet this standard and cannot be responsibly approved. Students seeking to host social events with alcohol service may do so by registering their event with the Office of Student Programs where provisions can be made for college-employed TIPS trained bartenders to offer beer and/or wine service to those of legal age with proper identification in a licensed campus facility.
  4. The hosts are also responsible to inform all guests of MHC policies and community standards and must actively work to uphold these standards.
  5. No SPE’s can be scheduled on a “school night.” If there are classes the next day, your request will be automatically denied. SPEs are approved for Friday and Saturday night’s only. SPEs can not be approved during 24 hour quiet hours, reading days, or the final exam period.
  6. SPE’s must end by 1am, at which point guests must be dispersed, food and beverage service stopped, music turned off and cleanup begun. Cleanup can continue past 1 am as necessary.
  7. SPEs cannot be publicly advertised - they should have an intended guest list in which mass advertising is not needed. Hosts are responsible for not exceeding the 50 person maximum (inclusive of the hosts, and others helping to make the event happen). Use of posts on facebook, myspace, confessional, your room door or by yelling “I’m having a party” down your hallway, might make this harder on you to be compliant. If more than 50 attendees (including random people) arrive, it is the hosts’ responsibility to disperse them until the total attendance is under 50 total or to shut the event down if the 50 person maximum capacity cannot be maintained. Hosts must be diligent in watching the capacity at all times.
  8. Plan your finances ahead of time. Hosts can not charge guests for admission, food, entertainment or beverages.
  9. Music must be played at a reasonable level to maintain a considerate environment in your hall, and neighboring halls.
  10. For the duration of the event and clean up period, both hosts are responsible for upholding all college policies and laws. Hosts may also be held responsible for any property damage in the hall caused by any SPE attendee.
  11. The hosts are responsible for event clean up and restoring the lounge/living room to its original condition.
  12. Residence Hall Kitchens ("Golden Pears") are not reservable for SPE's.
  13. Events that do not adhere to SPE registration guidelines and/or policies will be shut down by any member of the Campus Police, Residential Life Professional or Student Staff, the Dean on-call, or other college administrators.
  14. Any violation of policies in conjunction with your SPE can result in sanctions against the SPE hosts as individuals, ini addition to other non-compliant individuals.
  15. It is recommended that hosts gather dedicated and reliable associates to assist them in their duties and responsibilities.

Once you understand the guidelines, you are ready to complete the SPE Request Form. Please allow for two business days for the desired building's Area Coordinator to process your request.