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Policies: Food Approval

​Many UW budgets are either not approved for food and/or alcohol purchases, or have some restrictions. Effective immediately, use this guide to ensure that all expenses charged to University budgets are allowable and appropriate for the funding source.  Only gift budgets will continue to be flagged for food approval.


  • Food to support normal daily business of university employees, regularly scheduled meetings, open houses, or receptions for new employee can only be purchased from discretionary funding (64-XXXX budgets). Purchases of alcoholic beverages or over per diem amounts for food may only be purchased with discretionary funds.
  • Food for hosting and entertaining may be purchased with discretionary budgets or on gift budgets with food flags.

Not Allowable for Food:

General University Budget:  06-XXXX, 74-XXXX, 75-XXXX

These general university budgets cannot be used for hosted dinners with seminar or colloquium speakers, or recruiting faculty.


Food purchase allowable for training, recognition or business meetings, food approval form must be on file. EXCEPTION TO PER DIEM: expenditures for workshops, continuing education courses, retreats, tours, conferences etc. where the source of funding is the participant fees and the participants are predominantly non-university individuals.

Food Approval Form:

Use the food approval form for approval of one-time or recurring events requiring food purchases only for events meeting these criteria:

  • Recognition events (such as awards for improvements, or University employment milestones)
  • Training events, including student orientations
  • Business meetings to conduct UW business where a meal or light refreshment is an integral part of the official meeting

The food approval form must be signed by a Dean or Vice President, or with written delegated authority, by Departmental Directors, Chairpersons or Department Administrators.

For Meetings or Trainings

  • The meal or light refreshments must be an integral part of an official University meeting or formal training session, such as a lunch speaker, or when obtaining meals away from the meeting location would be disruptive to event continuity, etc.
  • Attendance by the individuals(s) must be advantageous to the UW
  • The purpose of the event must be to conduct official UW business or to provide formal training to UW employees or non-instructional training to students
  • The meeting or formal training must be conducted at a location away from the place where the employee normally performs his/her work (such as the employee’s desk or cubicle). Acceptable locations include meeting and conference rooms.

For Recognition Events

The event must include the formal presentation of a recognition award to one or more employees or students, such as successful completion of an extraordinary special project, acknowledgment of official University employment milestones (10+ years of service) or other outstanding achievement. Only light refreshments may be served at the event.

Cost of Light Refreshments

For recognition of employees, the total amount expended per recognition award, including light refreshments, is limited to the monetary level authorized in RCW 41.60.150 ($200 per individual or group receiving recognition). For example, if members of a team are being recognized, the amount expended for the light refreshments is limited to $200. Food served at a recognition event is restricted to light refreshments unless the actual recognition award is a meal.