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Travel Policies: Meals

Use of college funds for meal expenses

College funds (including grant, contract and restricted funds) may be used to pay meal expenses, including lunch, for employees, student employees and guests only in the following four situations.

College travel

The meal occurs during travel for college business beyond the Grand Rapids metropolitan area. (For example, travel to professional conferences, college activities such as Admission or Development, athletic team travel, music group tours, etc.)

Local events sponsored by others

The meal occurs during a meeting or program within the Grand Rapids metropolitan area, AND that program is sponsored by an organization outside of Calvin. (For example, meetings at other area colleges, businesses, or institutions; local conferences; local off-campus professional development sessions; etc.)

Local events sponsored by Calvin

There is a clear business purpose that requires a meal to be included in a meeting or program within the Grand Rapids metropolitan area and that event is hosted by Calvin, i.e., a Calvin department, center, institute, organization, or employee, AND that meal is purchased on campus from Creative Dining Services (including the Prince Conference Center) from the dining halls, retail food venues, or Calvin Catering Services.

Special circumstances

Situations that would require a meal to purchased off-campus or to be held at an off-campus location in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area, provided the divisional Vice-President has given prior permission. (For example, faculty/staff recruiting, hospitality for distinguished guests, etc.)

Additional information

Note: The practical implications of this policy clarification are three-fold:

  • All catered meals, box lunches, etc. that are served on campus and paid for with college funds must be provided by Creative Dining Services rather than off-campus vendors.
  • Overall expenses for meals should be reduced because of generally lower on-campus prices and exclusion of sales tax and gratuity.
  • Almost all meals that will be purchased with college funds will occur on campus so that the dollars spent for meals will “stay on campus.”

Note: These guidelines apply primarily to meals. Departments should consult with their divisional vice president for guidance on the use of college funds for other food expenditures (refreshments at seminars, pizza/snacks at meetings with students, student organization meetings, etc.).

Note: For all off-campus meals, the guidance for the costs of meals is based on the Meal and Incidental Expenses Rates found in the GSA Domestic Per Diem Rates appropriate to the location. For more information, see http://www.gsa.gov/HP_01_Requested_perdiem .

Please contact your divisional vice president if you have any questions.

v. 3

Policy rationale

Based on feedback from the campus community, the president’s Cabinet proposes this new policy on the use of college funds for meal expenses, including lunch, to be effective following approval by PPC and notification of Faculty Senate.

Approved September 8, 2009 by President’s Cabinet

Approved September 17, 2009 by Planning and Priorities Committee