Why do bars serve peanuts and pretzels? It is because they are cheap? No. It is because they are salty, and salty foods make you thirsty. (Read the abstract of a paper about women, salty food, and alcohol here.) At the University of Chicago there is a twist on this relationship between brackish finger food and alcohol. Student groups that want to hold events that serve alcohol must agree to guidelines that include the following restriction: “Adequate quantities of non-salty food must be served.”
The non-salty food requirement is not unique to Chicago. It is standard at U.S. universities (see Washington University, UPenn, and Texas A&M as examples.) How much an “adequate” amount of non-salty food is remains vague, but at the University of Kansas, the requirement is “two servings” of non-salty food for every person in attendance.