Refreshment Policy

Effective: October 1, 2020

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 $500.

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 must have prior written approval* of the President or appropriate Vice President.  Expenditures shall be limited to the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages only.  THE UNIVERSITY DOES NOT PAY FOR ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. 

3.    Lunch expenses of University employees are usually a personal responsibility; however, payment or reimbursement of employee(s) meals may be allowed with prior written approval* of the President or appropriate Vice President 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 with prior written approval* of the President or appropriate Vice President 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. Sodexo Food Service Operations (subject to all funds including Residence Hall Council Activity Accounts and Student Activity Accounts):

1.    Refreshments or prepared foods that do not exceed $500 may be purchased from a third party provider for on-campus events provided such expenditures adhere to this refreshment policy;

2.    To arrange for Sodexo Food Service Operations:  Contact Sodexo Catering Service at Extension 2-6987 to arrange for food selection, service and/or price estimate.
(a)    Provide Sodexo 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, Sodexo 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 not only to Sodexo Catering Service (Extension 2-6987), but also to the University Controller’s Office (Extension 2-5457).

D. P-card or Purchase Order

1.    Refreshments or meals allowable under this refreshment policy may be paid through a university issued P-Card (Sodexo catering 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, in accordance to Section A. Allowable Expenses.

4.    All other off-campus events for which the providing of refreshments or meals is appropriate, has received prior written approval* by the President or appropriate Vice President,  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 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. Deborah Streeter ( 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.  Occasionally, certain circumstances may exist that warrant refreshments at a staff meeting, the provision of which is permissible with prior written approval* by the President or appropriate Vice President.

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:

  • Alcoholic beverages;
  • 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.  

Please note:  Refreshments, meals and related events are subject to close public examination and audit and must be fully necessary and reasonable in all instances. 

* A copy of email approval is sufficient