Catering Tips | DIY | Alcohol | Weddings

Rush Express Pick Up Orders, Drop Off Service, and Food Safety

Pick Up is an economical option for many, especially for a la carte selections, off-site events, orders that incur a delivery fee, and items that do not include caterers.  Drop-off service may be your best option if your selections are not easy to transport or require temperature control up to the point of delivery and your order does not qualify for caterers to attend the function.  The Rush Express Pick Up point for catering orders is located on the west side of the HUB between the entrance to Union Station and the Dining Hall exit.

Dickinson College and Dining Services are released of liability and responsibility for food temperature and safety once the client accepts the food.  If you are going to pick up food then you should be prepared to provide insulated transports or coolers to keep hot food hot or cold food cold and to keep your food at safe temperatures during the event.

Please be safe with food you serve to your guests.  In general, you may keep food out for up to four hours: this includes transporting, setting up, and time on the table.  Food left out during this time should be thrown away after four hours or after the event, whichever comes first.  Microorganisms are growing all the while that food is held outside the "Danger Zone" that is between 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 135 degrees Fahrenheit.  And microorganisms continue to grow even in freezers.  Time and temperature abuse and improper hand-washing are the leading causes of foodborne illness which can range from being a minor inconvenience of many restroom visits to life-threatening issues.  Check out this information for a basic introduction to home food safety.  A pocket dial thermometer, disposable gloves, and a way to wash hands with soap, water, and disposable towels are important to having a safe event.

Alcohol at Events

For student-events, the College alcohol policy is thoroughly explained in the Dickinson College Student Handbook. A copy may be obtained from the Campus Life Office. Student-event alcohol must be registered with CASE and the Campus Life office. This policy is in effect for all functions during which alcohol will be served.

A TIPS trained bartender is mandatory at any function serving alcohol; one (1) server for every fifty (50) guests. All sponsoring groups are responsible for coordinating delivery of all alcoholic products to Dining Services prior to the event.  All event sponsors must contact the catering manager before ordering alcohol to determine the appropriate quantity needed for the event.  TIPS servers are required to stop serving guests alcohol if they deem it appropriate.

Dickinson College does not provide or sell alcoholic beverages.  You may supply your own alcoholic beverages which must be served by our TIPS trained servers.

Leftover alcohol may be picked up the day following an event unless otherwise specified and must be picked up within two (2) business days after the event.  Alcohol becomes the property of Dickinson Dining Services on the third business day and will be disposed of immediately.

Catering Food on Your Own

Dining Services reserves the right of first refusal for all food served at Dickinson College. 

Changes and Cancellations

Requests for changes to a guest count or an order must be submitted by the deadline of the type of order placed: One-Week-from-Today menu orders may be changed seven (7) days prior to the even and Two-Week Menu orders may be changed fourteen (14) days prior to the event.  Day-After-Tomorrow menu orders may not be changed once ordered.  We will gladly try to help with last-minute increases to guest counts but cannot guarantee an accommodation, results, or exact product availability.

All cancellations must be made at least three (3) days prior to the scheduled event; keep in mind this may mean up to four days for weekend events. Proper cancellation eliminates charges for food and labor.  Failure to follow cancellation guidelines may result in a bill with charges for the entire event.  If Dickinson College announces a closure of campus due to incidents such as severe weather, all catering services will be automatically canceled without charge.

Flowers & Decorations

Room decorations and audio-visual needs are the responsibility of the sponsor. Use of confetti or similar decor is not permitted.  Share with Catering the special arrangements you wish to make for items such as flowers, china service, and linens before committing to purchase or rent.

Additional Charges

An 18% gratuity will be added to the cost of all non-campus functions. Additional charges that may be incurred for either on or off-campus functions include:

  • Rentals, flowers, etc.
  • Clean up beyond normal event requirements ($100 minimum) – $30/labor hour
  • Lost Dining Services' equipment – replacement cost


Catering Services occasionally serves wedding receptions on campus with the approval of both the Director of CASE and the Director of Dining Services. Contact CASE (717-245-1900) to make space reservations prior to placing your food order.

A deposit of 50% of the estimated quote is due 60 days prior to the event date.  Unfortunately, we cannot accept credit cards; however, payment may be made by cash or check.  External bills are sent once a month.

RSVPs with menu selections are very important; and be sure to ask about kid's meals and special dietary needs such as food allergens, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.  Ask on the RSVP to avoid additional expenses caused by last-minute changes.

You may incur additional charges for the following items:

  • Cake cutting – $75.00
  • China rental – Varies
  • TIPS trained bartender/each per hour – $14.00
  • Bar set-ups/per person, includes mixers – $2.00
  • Additional setup charges – Varies
  • Unplanned meal surcharges (special diets, kids) added to contract price – $10.00 per unplanned meal

Catering services end at 11 p.m.  If wedding events are extended beyond that time will be charged an additional $500.00 for any part of an additional hour plus $250.00 for any part of each hour of clean-up following the extension.

Catering will close the bar 30 minutes prior to the scheduled end-time; for example, if an event end time is 11 p.m. then the bar will be closed at 10:30 p.m.  There will not be a “last call” announcement.

Please contact Catering Services with questions concerning any of these items.