Common Questions Regarding Space and Tent Celebrations

Listed below you will find the most common questions we receive regarding celebrations during the Commencement Weekend at Amherst College.

Which Commencement celebration location should I choose?
Celebration organizers typically prioritize their locations based on the anticipated number of guests. The estimated capacity for each celebration space is listed on the submission form to help you decide which location can accommodate your guest list. Additionally, organizers will sometimes choose a space based on its proximity to a specific residence hall, parking lot, or other feature. The Commencement Celebration Map shows all potential celebration site locations. It is up to you to decide which location best accommodates your needs and priorities.

Where do I send my contract?
Conferences and Special Events
Office of Communications
Amherst College
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Can I e-mail my contract?
Yes. Please send a signed copy of your contract to

What do I do if there are no spaces available?
If all celebration spaces are filled when you submit your request, you will be added to a wait list. In the event that a celebration is canceled, we refer to the wait list to fill the available space.

How do I get a tent, generator or other equipment for my event?
As noted in the contract and on the vendor map, you are required to use a specific vendor based on the site you will be using. You are required to use Hilltown Tents if your site is Hitchcock, Lipton North, Lipton West, Mayo Smith, Seelye Middle, Seelye North, or Seelye South. You are required to use Michael's Party Rentals if your site is Charles Drew, Cohan East, Cohan West, Garman, or Porter. You are required to use Northampton Rental Center if your site is Webster East, Webster Middle, or Webster West.

How do I get insurance for my event?
In some cases, party holders have the option of using their homeowner’s or tenant's insurance with an extension or a rider. If that route is not available, you may purchase insurance coverage for basic events on campus through URMIA, an association of college and university risk managers.

 What are the options for food for my celebration?
1. A caterer licensed by the Town of Amherst.
2. Take-out food acquired from a local restaurant, which must be less than 30 minutes from the event site.

What does sharing the space mean?
Each celebration space location may have a party on Friday night and a party on Saturday night. For example, if your celebration is on Friday night at the Hitchcock location, there may be another student hosting a celebration on Saturday night at the Hitchcock location. If you do not already know the person sharing your space with you, you may want to contact him or her to share the cost of the equipment rental.

When can my celebration start? When does it have to end?
Celebrations are from 6 p.m. until midnight. Celebrations must end by midnight.

When can I start setting up my celebration?
While your celebration cannot begin until 6 p.m., you can set up your area any time after noon. Please keep in mind that unless you will be remaining at your celebration site, there is no way to guarantee that your items will be secure.

What happens if I miss a deadline?
Since we anticipate having a wait list, we hope that you will be prompt and timely in submitting your documents. However, if you are going to miss a deadline, please e-mail us as soon as possible. Failure to adhere to deadlines may result in the release of your celebration space for use by a student on the wait list.

Can I have my friend take the TIPS course online to be my bartender?
Amherst College offers TIPS training, and servers must have passed the Amherst College training to bartend a Commencement celebration. We are unable to accept the online version of TIPS training. 

How much should we pay our TIPS-certified servers?
Alcohol is only permitted at a Commencement celebration when served by an Amherst College TIPS-certified bartender. Servers are under an incredible amount of stress for the duration of your celebration. Typically, compensation includes a flat rate (keep in mind that minimum wage is $11 per hour) and a generous tip at the end of the celebration. Expect to pay at least $150 per server for a six-hour commitment.