Board of Trustees votes to allow alcohol sales in Prince Conference Center

Photo courtesy of

Calvin’s Board of Trustees voted to allow third-party vendors to serve alcohol at the Prince Conference Center at their October 24–25 meetings. The proposal is one of 15 alternate revenue raising streams that various committees considered this past summer.

According to Vice President of Administration and Finance Sally Vander Ploeg, Calvin hosts roughly 30–40 wedding ceremonies a year, but in the last fiscal year, the Prince Conference Center has only hosted five wedding receptions.

According to Vander Ploeg, the conference center’s current status as a totally “dry” venue discourages couples who would like alcohol to be served at their receptions. Calvin will make no money directly off alcohol sales but hopes to increase revenue indirectly from increased bookings.

Vander Ploeg stated that the administration has not finalized the list of vendors who will be options for Prince Conference Center patrons.

“Neither Calvin employees nor Creative Dining employees will be providing or serving the alcohol, as this will strictly happen through the outside beverage vendors,” Vander Ploeg said.

Calvin’s academic departments cannot use any of the college’s operational budget to purchase alcohol for their conferences or events. However, the entirety of the guidelines for this new policy have not been set in place, and the administration has not decided whether donations specific to departments and centers can be used for the purchase of alcohol. They plan to address that once they finalize guidelines, but have already established that Calvin organizations will use zero tuition-funded dollars to purchase alcohol. Vander Ploeg said that the policy would be implemented once the guidelines have been established, which would likely be in early 2019.

Vander Ploeg stressed that this policy would not change any of the policies surrounding alcohol usage in the student and employee handbooks. The new Prince Conference Center decision marks a rare exception to Calvin’s dry campus policy.