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Special Guidance for Student Groups

Student Activities With Minors 

Student organizations and house organizations are generally authorized to develop programs as long as the programs meet all requirements and restrictions that are imposed by the Office of Student Engagement and Residence Life. However, programs that will involve minors must be pre-approved by the Director of Student Engagement or Director of Residence Life before any action is taken to create the program or event.

Individual students do not have the right or authority to create a program involving non-students or to promise the use of college facilities to any person without approval. Programs and events must be sponsored by a recognized student group, office or department. Student groups or houses must go through 25Live to reserve space and register events in the Smith Social Network.

Once the idea for the program has been approved, student program leaders are required to follow the same protocols as any other Program Director for college-sponsored programs with minors. For details see Resources and Responsibilities or Program Directors and Guide to Working with Minors.


The College has specific policies on transporting children in college or personal vehicles. In general, transporting children is to be avoided if at all possible. It is better to have the parents or other host organization bring the children to campus and pick them up. Students may not transport children in their personal vehicles for any college-sponsored program.

See Transportation for more information.

Special Circumstance


Individual students should be very mindful that they assume personal liability for the welfare of the child placed in their care. Failure to supervise the child which leads to harm can result in civil and criminal claims against the student, depending on the nature of the harm or action/inaction of the student.

For these reasons, it is best to follow these guidelines:

  • Never babysit a young child (under age 7) anywhere but in the parent/guardian’s home
  • If you are babysitting the child on campus:
    • Never babysit a child in your dorm room or apartment
    • Never play hide-and-seek with the child you are babysitting in college buildings or on college grounds 
    • Never bring a child into any lab or similar environment (any place where there are hazardous materials or equipment) while you are babysitting them
    • Plan an activity in a public area where you can keep watch on the child. Examples include doing homework in the library, learning the names of plants in the greenhouse, playing outdoors in good weather, doing crafts in the campus center
  • Do not give the child any food unless the parent has pre-approved it
  • Do not accept responsibility for medicating a child. If this is not avoidable, have the parent pre-dispense the medication into a clearly labeled container with contents, dosage and time for dispensation marked on the label.

Always have an emergency response plan:

  • Know the emergency numbers for parents, police, poison control
  • Know how to safely evacuate the building you are in if there is a fire or fire alarm

Learn your business – babysitting may seem simple but it is not easy. Web searches will turn up useful information (e.g., 100 of the Best Tips for Babysitters)

Bringing a Minor to Campus as Part of Community Service

If you work with a host organization (e.g., Big Sisters/Little Sisters; Best Buddies) in child-centered program and you want to bring the child you are working with to campus, make sure of the following:

  • You and the Host Organization have a signed permission slip/waiver from the parents authorizing you to bring the child to campus
  • The parents know that you are bringing the child to campus on the day of the visit and know what activities you will be engaging in
  • Know and observe college rules
  • Do not work unsupervised (faculty/staff present) in any lab or studio

Always have an emergency response plan: 

  • Know the emergency numbers for parents, campus and town police, poison control
  • Know how to safely evacuate the building you are in if there is a fire or fire alarm

If the Host Organization wants to have an event on campus (i.e., multiple volunteers and participants), you must be sponsored by the responsible office or department.