Barbeque Event Policy

Students, employees and their guests have access to designated sites on campus for holding barbeque events, provided they adhere to the University Event Policy and fire safety codes.  

Text: COVID-19 Update

Buffet-style and self-serve F&B stations will not be permitted at events until further notice. Food must be staff-served with enhanced PPE or individually wrapped / boxed meals. To learn more about COVID-19 policy updates, please see the Columbia University Event Policy.

Reason(s) for the Policy

  • To protect the health and safety of the campus community

BBQ events may only be held in certain outdoor areas on campus. All BBQ events must adhere to University Event and Outdoor Space Policy. Events must also comply with the additional BBQ guidelines outlined here.

Student Group BBQ events require advisor approval, scheduling and service coordination with University Event Management, Facilities, and adherence to fire safety codes.

Requesting a BBQ Event

Recognized student groups wishing to organize a BBQ on campus should do the following:

  • Seek an advisor’s approval for the event.
  • Submit a request to UEM for outdoor space.
  • Attend an event review, if determined necessary by your advisor.
  • Choose between:
    • Hiring Columbia to cook
    • Hiring a Licensed Vendor to cook
      • Designate an event manager who must receive fire and safety training
    • Contact Facilities to order BBQ equipment
  • Attend BBQ training and sign acknowledgment of responsibilities.
  • Use the disposal kit, provided by Facilities, at the end of the event.

BBQ Kit Contents

Students are not permitted to bring their own grills or equipment. BBQ kits ordered through Facilities contain the following contents:

  • Wagon
  • 2 Galvanized Cans with Lids and Sand
  • 2 ½ Gallon Pressurized Fire Extinguisher
  • Set of BBQ Tools (spatula, fork, tongs)
  • Coal Shovel
  • 3 Bags of “#18 MatchLight” Charcoal

NOTE: One cart can service two grills.

BBQ Locations

BBQs are permitted in the following campus locations:

  • Revson Plaza
  • Ancell Plaza
  • Low Plaza
  • Van Am Quad
  • Wien Courtyard
  • Pupin Courtyard (Note: Grills on Pupin Plaza are only allowed on the concrete surface)

Fire Safety Guidelines for BBQs

BBQs on campus must adhere to New York City Fire Department code and University guidelines:


BBQs can only be held in the approved locations. Grills cannot be used indoors, on lawns, on building roofs or at any other campus location.

  • Grills must be kept at least ten (10) feet from any structure.
  • One Two and one half (2 ½) gallon pressurized water extinguisher, a sixteen (16) quart pail of water or a charged water hose must be on-site for each BBQ unit being used.
  • Matchlight coals are the only charcoal approved for use. Lighter fluid is not permitted. Propane BBQs are not permitted.
  • Grill kits must be ordered from ACE Rentals via UEM and Facilities.


  • Coals must be fully extinguished and cool prior to disposal in a bag or coal bin, not on the ground.
  • Disposal bags and coal bins are to be placed on hard-surfaced areas, not on the lawns.
  • Additional guidelines may apply to barbecues depending on a specific location.

Student groups will be charged a discharge fee if the fire extinguisher has been used and a fire report has not been submitted. To avoid this fee, the fire extinguisher must either be returned in sealed condition or, if used in the case of an actual fire, along with a fire report submitted to Public Safety.

Fire Safety Training for BBQs

A representative from your organization must attend an annual fire safety training to hold a BBQ on campus. Students must register for training by emailing Erin Medina at [email protected] or Bryan Violetto at [email protected] at least 24 hours in advance of the training date to reserve space.