Party Planning

Sewanee: The University of the South

2019 Commencement Weekend (May 9-12)

On-Campus Party Venue and Service Reservations

The following outline is offered to all families of graduating seniors. Campus Activities staff will host meetings for students wishing to have parties (single family host, multiple family hosts, fraternity/sorority groups, etc.) Please remind your student to attend one of the two required meetings.

All parties should be registered with the Office of Campus Activities. Parties at central University venues including fraternity, sorority, and foreign language houses must be registered and are subject to University policies; individuals holding parties at fraternity houses must have the Housing Corporation’s approval that the national fraternity’s policies. Parties at private homes and businesses on the Domain must be registered out of consideration and as a courtesy to the community; the host(s) and property owner bear all responsibility and liability. The Office of the Dean of Students will maintain a comprehensive list of registered events for the benefit of hosts, Sewanee Police, Physical Plant services and others. 

The University is pleased to offer venues and services at a reasonable cost for families wishing to host parties on campus in celebration of Commencement 2019. Listed below are the on-campus venues. Limited services such as safe-rides, police, clean-up, and bartenders are also available at fraternity, sorority, foreign language houses, and other central campus venues.

All on-campus events must comply with University policies and must conclude by 12:00 midnight on Wednesday and Thursday and by 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.


University venues include:

  • Lake Cheston open-air amphitheater area (capacity sufficient for all-campus events)
  • Mary Sue Cushman Room and adjoining lawn area (capacity approximately 200)
  • Bishop’s Common, Hearth Room & patio (capacity 200)
  • The Social Lodge (capacity 140-standing)


General information regarding services and costs please check with companies/individuals for specific rates):

  • Several excellent local caterers are available in addition to Sewanee Dining.
  • Tent, chair, and table rental is available from local businesses.
  • Bartender(s): typically run $50/hr. The University maintains a list of approved bartenders but does NOT hire bartenders. (Required if alcohol is provided. Not required for BYOB or at nonalcoholic events. Bartenders often will not agree to work events solo.)
  • ID Checker(s): typically run $20 - $25/hr. The University maintains a list of approved ID checkers. (Required at all events allowing or providing alcohol.)


Services and Costs (Payable to Sewanee):

  • Police Officer(s): $50/hr
  • Venue rental ranges from $150 to $300/hr
  • Safe Ride Shuttle $50 per event (required for all on-campus events after 4 p.m.)
  • Portable toilets are $75 each per event (if restrooms are unavailable at the facility)
  • Clean-up deposit of $200 (refundable if venues are appropriately cleaned)


Appropriate staff (bartenders, I.D. checkers and police officers) will be required according to University policy at University venues. More detailed information about the ratio of staff to guests will be provided at the February meetings. Bartenders and I.D. checkers must be contracted from the list approved, maintained, and distributed by the Office of the Dean of Students. Officers will be assigned to events by the Sewanee Chief of Police.

The bartender or University approved staff will check IDs, and mark guests over 21 in a standard, University-approved manner. The bartender, staff or police officer may turn away anyone. No guests will be allowed to bring in any alcoholic beverages unless the event is BYOB. The bartender(s) will serve all alcoholic beverages in accordance with Tennessee state law and with appropriate server practices.


Reservation Policy:

Space is limited so all venues and services must be reserved. A deposit fee of must accompany all completed reservations of University venues. The balance of the costs must be paid to hold a reservation. Please contact Hannah Gilliam in the Office of Campus Activities for Party Planning deadlines.

Hannah Gilliam
Office Coordinator
Campus Activities