These guidelines are intended to provide guidance on the appropriate use of college funds in the area of business entertainment, catering for events at the college or when traveling on college business, and to ensure compliance with IRS regulations related to business expenses.
The policy applies to all faculty, staff, students and others who incur meal expenses while engaged in RISD business or related travel, as well as all departments and college personnel who entertain and/or purchase food for campus meetings/events.
This policy is created to ensure compliance with IRS regulations on business expenses and use of college funds.
Key Life Events: An employee’s birth/adoption of a child, wedding shower, baby shower, birthday parties.
Please refer to the Procure-to-Pay Policies Glossary for the following terms:
- Business Entertainment
- Business Meal Receipts
- Major Holiday Events
Wherever possible, it is preferable for committee or business meetings to be scheduled during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-4:30 PM). When meetings are scheduled during the lunch period, departments, offices and committees are strongly encouraged to make them “brown bag” meetings; however, if meetings are scheduled outside normal business hours, departments, offices and committees retain the discretion to purchase food.
Approved use of college funds:
- College funds may be used to pay for food or refreshments at events recognizing group achievements, major holiday events, or employee retirements subject to the approval of the Vice President, Division Dean, Provost or the President.
- College funds may be used to pay for food or refreshments at Departmental/Divisional meetings when pre-approved by the Vice President, Division Dean or Provost.
- College funds may be used to entertain candidates at lunch and to take new employees to lunch on their first day.
- College funds may be used to pay for or reimburse expenditures of alcoholic beverages and business entertainment costs when the purpose is fundraising, promotion of the College, entertainment for guests of the College, cultivating a donor/prospect, or engaging alumni. These expenses must be pre-approved by the Vice President, Division Dean or Provost and should be reasonable, prudent, appropriate to the occasion, and have a legitimate business purpose.
- College funds may be used for the cost of alcoholic beverages for appropriate events, subject to the approval of the hosting department’s Vice President, Division Dean/Department Head or Manager prior to the event. All events including the service of alcohol require that a RISD Public Safety officer be present. The event must also be staffed by a bartender hired by Dining + Catering. Event planners must complete an Alcohol Use Regulations Form and submit it to Public Safety and Dining + Catering at least two weeks prior to the event. When reconciling alcohol charges for the event, the Alcohol Use Regulations Form must be attached showing the use of alcohol was approved. RISD will not cover any alcohol expenditures for those traveling on college business.
What expenses are not allowed under the policy?
- College funds shall not be used to pay for celebratory events for employee key life events as defined above.
- Meals or beverages in local restaurants with only RISD faculty or administrative staff in attendance are not permitted.
- College funds should not be used to buy food or refreshments for events personal in nature/not considered business events, such as employee key life events
- Purchases of alcoholic beverages are not permitted unless the purchase is for pre-approved, appropriate events as defined above.
Recommended price ranges:
- Breakfast (Continental w/ coffee), on campus $8.00 - $11.00 per person
- Lunch (regular meeting), on campus $13.00 - $17.00 per person
- Dinner (at a local restaurant) $25.00 - $45.00 per person
- Dinner (regular committee/business meeting), on campus $17.00 - $20.00 per person
The GSA website provides recommended price ranges for meals.
For events hosted on campus, employees are strongly encouraged to use RISD’s Dining and Catering Services.
Purchase of alcoholic beverages for appropriate events must be pre-approved by the Division/Department Head or Manager (see above for additional approval levels).
Departments can use their Travel & Entertainment Card or complete the Supplier Invoice Request in Workday to pay for all catering and entertainment expenses. A detailed description of the purpose or function of the event/meal must be included. An Itemized receipt, showing all meals and beverages must be included in the expense or invoice request. When there are alcohol charges for an event, the Alcohol Use Regulations Form must be attached showing the use of alcohol was approved. All expenses must be reviewed by the applicable approver.
This policy was created on: November 1, 2013, as part of the Travel and Expense Policy
This policy was last reviewed/modified on: 10/5/2021
This policy was approved as of: 10/5/2021
Next scheduled review: As needed.
Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration
Individuals/offices required for review and changes
Director of Procurement Services
Credit Card Services and Reimbursement Administrator