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Hosting a party can be a great way to meet new friends, bond with fellow classmates or celebrate another Trojan victory. However, without proper planning, a party can have unintended consequences for yourself, your guests, and your neighbors.
USC Student Affairs, DPS, and the LAPD hope that all of your events are fun – and safe. We encourage you to spend some time browsing the tips and resources on this page to make sure your party is a hit without any negative impacts. We are here to help.
Hosting a Party
Being a USC student carries a great amount of personal responsibility. As a member of the University off-campus community, you are encouraged to help make your neighborhood a great place to live.
Communal gatherings which can include parties, dinners, socials, and get-togethers can be extremely beneficial to develop a sense of belonging and community. These types of shared experiences often foster great relationships between peers and friends.
In order to provide your guests with a great time, responsible hosting is absolutely key.
Please note that not all hosting related issues are covered on this web page. Be advised that party hosts are ultimately responsible for assessing any other issues that might occur at their event(s).
Here are some tips to help you plan your event:
Agree on the house rules.
- Discuss the party with your roommates
- Agree on a start time, an end time, a guest list and who is responsible for both hosting and ending the party.
Prep the residence.
- Make a first aid kit readily available and remove as many breakable or fragile objects as possible.
- Secure valuables such as laptops, car keys, and electronics, and put away items that include sensitive information.
- Consider securing bedroom doors.
- Look out for objects with sharp corners.
- Ensure you have a functioning smoke alarm and maintain clear entrance and exit paths in case of emergency.
- Cover up any exposed wires or cords, and be mindful of temperature control.
Inform your neighbors.
- Let your neighbors when you expect the party to end.
- Give them your name and phone number so they can contact you if they have any issues during the party.
Be aware of possible legal consequences.
- The city of Los Angeles has noise bylaws. According to the LA Municipal Code, “any noise level caused by such use or operation which exceeds the ambient noise level on the premises of any other occupied property, or of a condominium, apartment house, duplex, or attached business, within any adjoining unit, by more than five (5) decibels shall be a violation of the provisions of this section.” 
- It is illegal in the state of California to serve alcohol without a liquor license. This includes charging at the door and serving alcohol inside the event, or selling a cup to be filled with alcohol . In addition, it is illegal to serve or provide alcohol to people under the age of 21 , and no person under the age of 21 is allowed to serve alcohol to others .
- Drinking alcohol on public property (e.g. sidewalks, streets) can result in the police issuing tickets for open alcohol, and public intoxication . Additionally, if you are found drinking underage, you are guilty of a misdemeanor.Tickets are expensive—over $600 if you get one for all three violations!
- Consider the legal liability and responsibility for people in your event. If personal injury or property damages happen in your residence, you could be held liable and open to litigation.
- More information on group responsibility and liability can be found within SCampus.
Know your resources.
For crisis concerns (regarding medical, counseling and other needs) after USC business hours, contact any one of these sources:
- The Department of Public Safety: the primary mission is to provide a safe and secure environment on campus and in the local USC community that allows students, faculty, staff and campus visitors to realize their academic and social pursuits.
- Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services (RSVP): An office committed to creating safe and affirming spaces for all people. If necessary, students can call RSVP to contact staff who are committed to students of all genders and gender identities and who strive to provide an affirming space for all students.
- LiveSafe App: The USC Mobile Safety App managed by DPS and the Department of Emergency Planning. Users can contact DPS, report suspicious activity around campus, and notify friends of location.
- Student Support and Advocacy: Offers personal, academic, and financial support to USC students. Student Support and Advocacy provides problem-solving, crisis management, medical/non-medical leave of absence, bias and hate crime reporting, and student behavior guidelines.
- Counseling Services: Provided by the Engemann Student Health Center and offers resources such as group programs for support and skill building as well as individual therapy, crisis support, and psychiatric services. Can provide consultation to students concerned for their friends.
- Trojans Care for Trojans: An initiative within Student Affairs where students can fill out a private and anonymous request form to express concern about a fellow Trojan challenged with personal difficulties.
Designate, Designate, Designate.
- Designate at least one person to stay sober and ensure guests are safe. Give this person the responsibility of being the point person for neighbors, police or other unexpected guests.
- Designate responsible people to manage music and people entering and exiting the event.
Promote a safe environment.
- Speak up when you hear harmful language being used and step in (if you feel comfortable) to help prevent sexual harassment and assault. Additionally, because loud noise and aggressive behavior can be particularly frightening for some, know that you can always call DPS to help de-escalate a situation.
Take care of your friends.
- Recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning and don’t be afraid to stop serving alcohol to someone if they appear to be drinking too much or in an irresponsible manner.
- Be aware of the effects of drinking.
Don’t let anyone drive after drinking.
- Consider using your sober designee to collect car keys for attendees consuming alcohol to help ensure that nobody drives intoxicated after leaving your event.
- Help everyone get home safely: invite guests to spend the night if you are comfortable and have the means to, potentially walk some guests home or help them call an Uber.
- Encourage the use of USC’s free Campus Cruiser shuttle and car service if guests live within the Campus Cruiser radius.
- Encourage attendees in advance to plan their transportation to and from the event, especially if they are consuming alcohol.
- Don’t let attendees leave intoxicated, alone, or with individuals they don’t know.
Clean up the mess.
- Try to clean the cans, bottles, and/or cigarette butts that might fall onto neighborhood property so that there are few to no signs of the party the next morning.
- Consider thanking the neighbors for their patience with your event if there is the possibility that the noise levels were high, or that their night was at all disrupted by your gathering.
- All organizational tailgate parties (50+ people) must register with the USC Office of Cultural Relations and University Events at least three weeks prior to Game Day. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. A tailgate permit is required if your group:
- Has more than 50 guests
- Has a tent larger than 10’ x 20’
- Requires more than 20’ x 20’
- Has a keg or a common source container
- Setting up, marking off, or holding a tailgate space before 6 AM on game day is not permitted. Reserved spaces are for approved Tailgate Permits only. Tailgating ends at kick-off.
- Use of any USC electricity or outlets that are not provided through a Tailgate Permit is strictly prohibited.
- No glass containers are permitted.
- Amplified sound that is audible from more than 5 ft. away or over 80 decibels is prohibited.
- Cars and catering or delivery trucks may not drive into the center of campus.
- Barbecues must be at least fifteen (15) feet from all buildings, tents, and overhangs. Coals must be fully extinguished, cooled down, and placed in designated, non-combustible cans after use.
- Activities cannot include any games involving alcohol or alcohol paraphernalia.
- Only university-affiliated groups with a valid tailgate permit may sell admission or any products (including food, drinks, merchandise, etc.) at their campus tailgate.
- Signage or tents with commercial name or location are not allowed.
- Trash must be disposed of in proper receptacles.
- Tailgates are responsible for returning their area to its original state before departing campus.
More information on responsible tailgating can be found here.
Thank you for hosting responsibly!