Use of College Funds for Meetings and Entertainment


The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all Berea College funds are used only to support appropriate College business. This policy applies to all Berea College employees. If a proposed expenditure is not listed in this policy, the following standards should guide the final expenditure decision:

  • There must be an approved budget line for such expenditures.
  • Each College department, unit, and approving official must exercise prudent judgment to ensure that the commitment of College funds is appropriate and essential for business meetings and entertainment/hosting functions.
  • Business meeting expenditures incurred by College employees and on behalf of non-employees must support the College’s mission.
  • The expenditure will not be personal in nature.
  • The expenditure will not be used as additional compensation (e.g., bonuses, cash, cash equivalents such as gift cards/certificates, gifts, prizes, awards, etc.) except as outlined in this policy.

The following reimbursement and use of College funds rules apply to all offices, departments, and unites of the College.

Business Meeting Expense Guidelines

When a meeting or function is related to College business, meals or snacks may be purchased.  Regular committee or similar meetings may be included under this policy if they occur at meal times.

Expenditures associated with College-wide employee functions held by the President and/or Human Resources (e.g., new faculty/staff member receptions, ceremonial receptions, faculty/staff appreciation and employment service award programs, employee picnic, etc.) are considered appropriate use of College funds.

College dining services, facilities, or Boone Tavern (and associated catering services) should be used for business meetings, hosting events/functions and receptions whenever possible. Use of other providers is permitted. The decision should be based on the benefits to the College in terms of favorable cost, limited capacity/space, location, etc.

Vice Presidents and Associate Vice Presidents are responsible for ensuring departmental procedures are in place for review and consideration of the appropriateness for all business related meal and entertainment/hosting expenditures.

Requirements related to the nature, reporting, and documentation for business meals/meeting expenses can be found in the Travel and Business Expense Reimbursement Policy.

Entertainment/Hosting Expenses

The College recognizes entertainment/hosting as an appropriate expenditure if the activities contribute to or result from a College-related business activity.

The College will cover the costs for alcohol served at Boone Tavern for business related meals/meetings if the meals/meetings include at least one individual who is not a Berea College employee. Normally, if alcohol is ordered with a meal/meeting, those charges should not amount to more than 30 percent of the total charge.

Additionally, use of College funds for the purchase of alcoholic beverages or reimbursement for such purchases also includes business meals/meetings with a donor(s).

The purchase of alcoholic beverages for any other event is not permitted. Any exceptions must have prior approval from the appropriate College Vice President or Associate Vice President.

Entertainment expenses including meals and receptions must have sufficient documentation. For requirements related to the nature, reporting, and documentation of entertainment/hosting expenses, please reference the Travel and Business ExpenseReimbursement Policy.

Retirement and Going Away Receptions

Retirement and “going-away” receptions may be held for an employee after approval from the appropriate Vice President or Associate Vice President. College funds may be used for reasonable hors d’oeuvres, or other low-cost food and non-alcoholic beverages. “Going-away” receptions held for employees transferring to another department or unit are not considered an appropriate use of College funds. Human Resources already provides a large reception and gift to all retirees. Therefore, no retirement gifts are to be purchased with departmental funds.

Social Gatherings for Employees

Holiday parties (e.g., Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.) may be held. The use of College funds is appropriate for reasonable and modest expenditures on campus for a limited number of departmental/office gatherings annually. Off campus celebrations at the College’s expense are not appropriate unless justified to and approved by the appropriate Vice President. 

Other Receptions

College Funds should not be used for receptions such as baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties or similar types of activities that are of a personal nature and not related to College business. However, such celebrations are appropriate when initiated and funded by employees on behalf of their colleagues.

other employee events (e.g., “going-away” receptions are acceptable; gifts and plaques are not acceptable).

Employee Gifts, Prizes, and Awards

Cash, gift cards, gift certificates or other cash equivalents are not acceptable gifts, prizes, or awards.

For requirements related to the nature, reporting, and documentation of employee gifts, prizes, and awards, please reference the Employee Gift Policy.

Student Employee Appreciation

Student gifts, prizes, and awards, including recognition/appreciation events, may be held and the use of College funds is appropriate under the same conditions as employees (e.g., "going-away" receptions are acceptable; graduation gifts and plaques are not acceptable).

Addendum to the Policy for the Use of College Funds

Purpose:  To provide an appropriate and consistent response from the College when special events occur in the life of employees (current or retired).


Use of College funds for flowers is appropriate for the following situations:

  • Illness/Surgery

    Flowers shall be sent when a member of the College Faculty or Staff or a College Retiree is hospitalized (in-patient only).

  • Memorials

    Flowers shall be given upon the death of the following:

  • A member of the College Faculty or Staff or College Retiree.
  • A currently enrolled College Student.
  • A member of the immediate family (spouse/partner, child, or other person residing in the home) of a College Faculty or Staff member or College Retiree.
  • The father or mother of a member of a College Faculty or Staff or College Retiree.
  • The father or mother of the spouse/partner of a College Faculty or Staff member or College Retiree.


  • Living plants shall be sent when possible, unless otherwise requested.
  • Flowers for death or illness will be sent on behalf of the Faculty and Staff of the College by the President's Office.  The department in which the employee works or worked may also send flowers using departmental funds.
  • Flowers for the death of a student should be coordinated with the Vice President for Student Life to eliminate multiple purchases by various College offices.
  • Flowers for the death of a donor should be coordinated with the Vice President for College and Alumni Relations and, when appropriate, the President's Office, to minimize multiple purchases by various College offices.
  • Flowers for other College-sponsored events and functions may be approved by the President or appropriate Vice President, and paid from departmental funds of the program or office sponsoring the event or function.
  • The President may make exceptions to this policy for extenuating circumstances.

*Flowers are defined as bouquets, living plants, and floral arrangements, and may include additional items such as balloons, chimes, etc.  Monetary contributions to bona fide charitable organizations in lieu of traditional commemorations may be given, consistent with the amount a department would normally spend on traditional commemorations.

Revised by the Administrative Committee, January 1, 2015.