Refreshment Policy

Effective: October 10, 2023

Southern Connecticut State University Refreshment Policy and Procedures

On occasion, it is in the University's best interest to host refreshments or a business meal as a necessary business practice.  Prudent judgment for incurring such expenses is essential.  Refreshments and business meals are subject to public examination and audit. Such expenses must be fully necessary, reasonable and supportable in all instances.

This document provides guidelines for the purchase of refreshments and meals that are to be paid for with state-appropriated funds.  This document does not pertain to Residence Hall Council Activity Accounts and Student Activity Accounts (except where indicated); approval processes for these expenses shall be developed accordingly within the Division of Student Affairs.

A. Allowable Expenses

1.    Light refreshments, defined as coffee, tea, bottled water, juice, soda and food items such as pastries, fruit, chips, cookies and cake, may be provided during meetings of official University business provided the meeting does not consist entirely of University employees.  Prior written approval of the President or appropriate Vice President is required if the cost of providing beverages and/or light refreshments exceeds $1000.00. Please note:  This approval requirement also applies to orders placed with Campus Dining Services as well.  Please use the attached form if requesting approval:

2.    Expenses specifically for breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings held in connection with official University business or with the entertaining of guests visiting the University on official business are allowable however, expenditures shall be limited to the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages only.*  

3.    Lunch expenses of University employees are usually a personal responsibility; however, payment or reimbursement of employee(s) meals may be allowed when:
(a)    The charge is part of a conference or workshop expense;
(b)    It is necessary to hold a meeting to carry out official University business which extends through breakfast, lunch, or dinner and the primary purpose of the meeting is not the meal;
(c)    A member of a search committee hosts a candidate for a position (refer to section B. Search Meals).
(d)    A departmental employee hosts a visiting lecturer, potential donor, or other official guest to the University.

4.    Recognition events for employees may be hosted by the President and Vice Presidents. Chief Officers or Deans may also host such events with prior approval by the President and Vice Presidents.

B. Search Meals

1.    Meals may be provided for candidate interview situations under the following conditions:
(a)    The maximum number is four people exclusive of the candidate;
(b)    Off-campus meals with a candidate and members of the search committee will be reimbursed via a CO-17XP Employee Voucher form with supporting documentation (including a list of all attendees) and itemized receipts to Accounts Payable for reimbursement.  (Refer to Section E. Meal Tax Exemption Process for information regarding meal sales tax).

C. Campus Dining Service (subject to all funds including Residence Hall Council Activity Accounts and Student Activity Accounts):

1.    Refreshments or prepared foods that do not exceed $250.00 may be purchased from a third party provider for on-campus events provided such expenditures adhere to this refreshment policy;

2.     Refreshments or prepared foods that exceed $250.00 may only be purchased from a third party provider for on-campus events by obtaining approval from the Vice President of Student Affairs. To request an exception to this policy, please complete the  Dining Catering Exception Request Form.  The form can be accessed by clicking the link below:

3.    To arrange for Campus Dining Service please contact extension 2-6987 to arrange for food selection, service and/or price estimate.
(a)    Provide the appropriate Banner Index(s), the signature of the Banner Index(s) financial manager and the approval of the President or Vice President as appropriate.
(b)    The Banner Index(s) financial manager will see the encumbrance against the associated Banner Index(s), which are normally posted on a monthly basis. Once food service is provided, Campus Dining Service will directly invoice the University Controller’s Office for payment processing. 

(c)    Any issues related to the payment of the event must be immediately reported to Campus Catering Service (Extension 2-6987).

D. P-card or Purchase Order

1.    Refreshments or meals allowable under this refreshment policy may be paid through a university issued P-Card (Campus Dining Service excepted whereby an internal process exists that directly charges the requester's Banner Index).

2.    The cardholder shall reconcile the refreshment and/or meal purchase in accordance with the University's Purchasing Card (P-card) Policies and Procedures which may be found at:

3.    The associated P-card transaction related to the refreshment or meal event must contain a copy of the written approval of the President or appropriate Vice President (where appropriate), in accordance to Section A. Allowable Expenses.

4.    All other off-campus events for which the providing of refreshments or meals is appropriate, and the payment of such is not administered through the university's P-card program, shall be ordered via the university's procurement process (i.e. purchase requisition / purchase order). A copy of the written approval by the President or appropriate Vice President (where appropriate) must accompany the purchase requisition to the SCSU Purchasing Department.  (Refer to Section E. Meal Tax Exemption Process for information regarding meal sales tax).

E. Meal Tax Exemption Process (subject to all funds including Residence Hall Council Activity Accounts and Student Activity Accounts)

1.    Meals exempt from sales tax shall be in accordance with the State of Connecticut, Department of Revenue Services (DRS), Policy Statement concerning "Purchases of Meals or Lodging by Exempt Entities" ( procedures summarized as follows:
(a)    The University Controller's Office must be notified of tax exempt meals not later than three weeks prior to the event.  Please send an email to Ms. Norma Valentin ( and include in the email: 
     1)    The name of the event;
     2)    The date of the event;
     3)    The number of attendees;
     4)    The name, address, contact information including fax number of the vendor providing refreshments/meals;
     5)    Indicate whether the event includes payment from the event attendees that will be used to supplement the cost of the meal (see (b) below);
     6)    Provide copy of approval to conduct the event and provide refreshments/meals as in accordance to this policy. 
(b)    Tax exemption will ONLY be approved by DRS if: 
     1)    The event involving refreshments or meals is directly invoiced and charged directly to the university by the retailer;
     2)    The event is directly paid to the retailer by a university issued check or university issued P-card;
     3)    The event is not reimbursed, directly or indirectly, by donation or otherwise, for all or a portion of the cost of the meals by those consuming the meals.

F. Non-Allowable Expenses

1.    Refreshments or meals generally may not be provided in conjunction with ordinary or recurring staff meetings or other regularly scheduled business meetings of employees. 

2.    Ad hoc committee meetings and informal meetings consisting solely of university employees should not include breakfast, lunch, or dinner expenses except events subsidized by special allocated collective bargaining Faculty Development Funds and/or other restricted monies from a non-University source.  For grant-supported payments, pre-approval is required by the Sponsored Programs and Research Department

3.    Meals associated with travel are not included in this policy; refer to the CSUS Travel Policy and Procedures located at:

4.    It is SCSU's policy to provide payment for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in transacting University business.  The following are specific types of expenses which are considered to be of a personal nature and will not be considered a University expense:

  • Birthday or other such celebration cakes;   
  • Holiday meals or celebrations for employees, including Administrative Professionals Day;
  • Office parties or employee entertainment (both internal and external);   
  • Gifts or donations of any kind;
  • Political events, contributions or donations

G. Exception

Under certain circumstances, and only in the best interest of the University, an exception to this policy and procedures document may be granted by the President or appropriate Vice President.  Individuals believing that an exception to this policy and procedures document is in the University's best interest must request written approval in advance to the President or appropriate Vice President.  

* Alcohol may be permitted for certain events and must adhere to the University Alcohol   Policy and the Alcohol Approval Process and shall be arranged through Campus Dining Services.  Please access the Alcohol Policy and the Alcohol Request form here:


For any questions pertaining to the University’s Refreshment Policy, please contact Robert DeMezzo, Senior Director of Conferences, Events and Student Affairs Auxiliaries, 2-5886 or e-mail