Michigan State University
Controller's Office

Administration Bldg
426 Auditorium Rd, Rm 305
East Lansing, MI 48824
517 355-5020

SECTION 45: Food and Beverage, Lodging

Last updated: November 2016

I. General

The University has limited resources to carry out its missions and is held accountable by the people of the State of Michigan for wise and effective use of its resources. With this understanding, the following policies and general guidelines have been developed. While responsible discretion and judgment should always be used for expending University funds, particular caution should be exercised for these types of expenditures.

Under unusual circumstances, exceptions to these policies and guidelines should be obtained in advance from the Provost or appropriate Vice President.

To carry out its academic and other missions, the University constructed food service, lodging and conference facilities. Therefore, use of University facilities and services should be considered. While encouraged, the use of University services is not required for on-campus catered events.

Kellogg Center shall be utilized for lodging whenever possible.

II. Business Functions

  1. Staff participation should be limited to those persons required to conduct the business. Expenses should be reasonable.
  2. University business functions should be held in campus facilities whenever possible. While business functions may take place off campus, use of campus facilities is strongly encouraged. Tip amount is to be reasonable at the individual’s discretion. Customary guideline is approximately 20% for good service.
  3. Business functions may be held in other cities if it is more appropriate for business and economic reasons. These reasons must be documented on the voucher.
  4. University funds may be used for meals to meet with University personnel if the meal is necessary to conduct University business.
    1. It is not general practice for persons within the same organizational unit to use University funds for meal(s).
    2. When a meal is a holiday function or has the appearance of a holiday function by the personnel in attendance, the cost may not be charged to the University.
    3. While in travel status per diem policies are in effect. Consequently, a meal involving only employees traveling together may not be claimed as a business meal (actual cost) but will be reimbursed at the per diem rates subject to travel policies.
  5. Affiliation of guests and the purpose of the meeting must be documented.
  6. In meetings with non-University faculty and staff, cost of alcoholic beverages can be reimbursed under the University policy relating to alcoholic beverages (see item X).

III. Recruiting Meals

  1. Campus facilities should be used whenever possible. Guests shall be lodged at Kellogg Center when available. While off-campus facilities may be utilized for meals, use of campus facilities is strongly encouraged.
  2. Alcoholic beverages may be reimbursed under the University policy covering alcoholic beverages (see item X).
  3. Reimbursement for meals should include only the principal people involved in the decision-making process. Generally, reimbursement will not be made for entire departments or large numbers of staff.
  4. Meals for spouses or partners/guests of the principal staff responsible for the recruiting will be reimbursed when the spouse/partner of the candidate is present.

IV. Retreats, Workshops, Committee and Faculty/Staff Meetings

  1. Retreats
    1. Retreats may be held for academic or University business purposes with prior approval of the Provost or associate/assistant provost, a vice president or associate/assistant vice president, a dean or associate/assistant dean or equivalent separately reporting position.
    2. Campus facilities should generally be used. The Kellogg Biological Station Conference Center, the Troy Management Center and other University-owned facilities are also acceptable. For campus-based retreats, guests shall be lodged at Kellogg Center when available if overnight lodging is required.
    3. Alcoholic beverages will not be reimbursed.
  2. Workshops, Committee and Faculty/Staff Meetings

    Campus facilities should be used whenever possible. Reimbursement shall generally be limited to low-cost food items (such as bagels, pastries, pizza, and sandwiches) and non-alcoholic beverages.

V. Retirements, Stepping Down From Administrative Positions and New Administrative Appointment Functions

  1. A University-wide annual retirement function is held for all employees who qualify. In addition, a function may be held for any employee who retires or terminates from the University providing that the employee has 15 years or more of service with the University.
  2. Functions may be held for directors, chairpersons or higher who are stepping down from their administrative positions and are either remaining with or leaving the University; they must have held the position for five years or more.
  3. Functions may also be held for persons appointed as directors, chairpersons or to higher administrative positions.
  4. Spouses or partners/guests may attend these functions. The reimbursement from University funds shall not include alcoholic beverages. The cost of these functions will be allowed up to $17.00 per person plus gratuity/service fee. Functions expected to exceed the allowed limit of the per person charge may be paid for by participants or other individuals from non-University funds.
  5. Documentation of adherence to the above rules shall be noted on all retirement related charges (i.e. name of retiree, number of years of service and estimated number of people in attendance at retirement function).

VI. College/Organization and Student Receptions

  1. A college or organization may hold a reception once per year for the purpose of meeting new faculty and staff members. In the interest of avoiding negative public perceptions, such events shall not be held between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
  2. Academic units may have receptions for faculty, staff and students/families when the predominant number of those in attendance are students. Academic units may have receptions to present or to acknowledge awards to faculty, staff, students, and alumni for outstanding accomplishments.
  3. Spouses or partners/guests may attend these receptions. The reimbursement from University funds shall not include alcoholic beverages. The use of campus facilities is strongly encouraged.

VII. Holiday and Other Functions/Expenditures

  1. Holiday functions, including receptions, luncheons, etc., functions for secretaries' week, birthday parties and other social events are not reimbursable from University funds. Personal gifts, cards and holiday decorations are also not reimbursable from University funds except those noted below in item B.
  2. Holiday decorations may not be paid for with University funds for offices and public areas. Exceptions are allowed for public areas of operations which are supported by revenues from the general public. Holiday decorations may also be provided in the Student Housing and Food Services areas with University funds. Holiday cards for contributors and benefactors are also reimbursable from University funds when part of an overall development strategy.

VIII. Home Entertainment

Home entertainment is generally limited to MSU executive management (including Deans) and other approved exceptions. All expenditure e-docs must be routed to the Provost or associate/assistant provost, a vice president or associate/assistant vice president, a dean or associate/assistant dean or equivalent separately reporting position.  Such entertainment events are reimbursable pursuant to other sections of these policies and guidelines. Home entertainment may be provided through bulk purchases (see item IX below) or catering. Also, see section X.B.1., relating to the purchase and serving of alcoholic beverages.

IX. Purchase of Food and Food Related Products

  1. Purchases of food and related items are limited to perishable food and disposable service ware directly related to the event.
  2. All purchases of food and beverages must be purchased from a vendor that provides itemized receipts. A register which automatically provides the items by name will suffice.
  3. Purchases may be reimbursed for events pursuant to other sections of these policies and guidelines.

X. Alcoholic Beverages

  1. Alcoholic beverages may be charged to conference accounts when consumed by conference attendees and when reimbursement is made by participants or sponsors of the conference.
  2. Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages is limited to business functions involving non-employees of the University (see item II) and to recruiting (see item III).
    1. Alcoholic beverages must be purchased and served through licensed establishments except for home entertainment where bulk purchases are permitted.
    2. Bills which include alcoholic beverages, must charge the alcohol portion to a discretionary gift account or account number pre-approved by the Controller's Office and must use object code 6474.  All other bills or portions of a voucher that do not contain alcoholic beverages may be charged to an appropriate fund and account and should use object code 6212 or 6481.