The fine print on serving alcohol at universities

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.

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