Meals and Refreshments Policy

Approved by the President
Revised by the President

Policy Contact
Director of Business Services (607) 436-2583
Manager of Procurement and Travel (607) 436-2555

Policy Statement

State appropriated funds may be used for non-travel meals and refreshments only under certain circumstances. The vice president of the applicable division must pre-approve such requests for payment/reimbursement to be processed.


The SUNY Oneonta community is required to exercise good stewardship over campus funds. Each division has a “program account” with Oneonta Auxiliary Services. Funding in these accounts should be used for on-campus meals and refreshments whenever possible. For off-campus activities, state appropriated, departmental funds may be used if the specific requirements noted below are met.

Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to all SUNY Oneonta departments, employees and students who may request funding for meals and/or refreshments outside of travel status. It also applies to guest speakers, consultants, candidates, and program reviewers who visit campus for various purposes.

This policy does not apply to meal reimbursements when an employee is in approved travel status. Rates and eligibility requirements for such reimbursements are included in the SUNY Oneonta Travel Manual.

Policy Elaboration

Candidate Meals: Candidates for positions at SUNY Oneonta may have their meals covered in one of the following ways:

  • The candidate may submit for reimbursement of meals (and other travel expenses) using a Travel Voucher. Rates are the same as those paid for employee travel.
  • An authorized participant in the search may pay for the candidate’s meal and be reimbursed, with appropriate justification. Reimbursement amount is up to the approved meal per diem travel rate or actual amount spent, whichever is less.
  • The meal is demonstrably necessary as a working meal. (For more information, see the Working Meals section below.)

Search Committee Members and Other Authorized Participants in the Search Process:

Employees, students, and other authorized stakeholders in the search process may be eligible for reimbursement if the meal is demonstrably necessary as a working meal. (For more information, see the Working Meals section below.) For guidelines related to faculty search committees, refer to the document, Guidelines for Faculty Searches. All other requests should be referred to the appropriate vice president.

Visiting Program Reviewers: An external program reviewer visiting the SUNY Oneonta campus may receive reimbursement for meal(s) if they are in travel status. Rates are listed in the SUNY Oneonta Travel Manual.

Consultants: A consultant can receive reimbursement consideration for meals, excluding working meals, if such reimbursement is included in the approved contract.

Guest Speakers Receiving an Honorarium: A guest speaker receiving an honorarium should have a consideration for meals included in their fee and cannot be otherwise reimbursed. Employees taking a guest speaker to dinner will not be reimbursed from state appropriated funds for any expenses associated with the meal when the guest speaker receives an honorarium.

Guest Speakers NOT Receiving an Honorarium: A guest speaker who is not being compensated for their services may receive some consideration by the host department by having an authorized representative pay for the speaker’s meal. Employees authorized to accompany the speaker may be eligible for reimbursement if the meal is demonstrably necessary as a working meal. (For more information, see the Working Meals section)

Working Meals

It is the policy of SUNY Oneonta to fund working meals (breakfast, lunch or dinner) only when they are demonstrably necessary, integral, beneficial and reasonable to perform official business. All working meals must be approved by the division vice president and submitted to the Procurement and Travel Office prior to the date of the working meal. Justification for use of state appropriated funds must include the following:

  • Purpose and necessity of the meeting including an explanation why it could not be held during normal working hours (if applicable)
  • Specific nature of state business being conducted
  • Location of the meeting
  • All participants, including names, titles and relationship to the business being conducted
  • Cost of the meal – including a detailed invoice


It is the policy of SUNY Oneonta not to allow payment from SUNY Oneonta's state appropriated funds for refreshments (food & beverages) at meetings, gatherings or events that do not qualify as working meals. Refreshments for these types of events may be funded from auxiliary program accounts if approved by the appropriate vice president.

Alcohol: The institution does not allow payment of or reimbursement from institution appropriated funds for alcoholic beverages.


Justification for a Working Meal

Related Documents / Policies

Guidelines for Faculty Searches

SUNY Oneonta Travel Manual

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