6700P Meals, Beverages, and Light Refreshments (Procedures)

Original Date: 10/1/1995 * Last Revision Effective: 3/23/2021
Policy Contact: Vice President, Administrative Services


The following procedures are established to meet the requirements for implementing policy #6700 – Food Services.


Bellevue College follow the directives of the Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM) 70.10 regarding the purchase and service of meals, beverages, and light refreshments using state funds. The college reserves the right to deny any requests for meals, beverages, or light refreshments if they do not conform to OFM rules.

Departments may use state funds to purchase meals, beverages, or light refreshments only under limited circumstances described in more detail below.

These procedures do not apply to the expenditure of services and activities (S&A) accounts.

Campus Catering

BC Food Services coordinates catering requests for all campus events. All requests for meal expenditures should be submitted to the events office through 25Live. Catering requests during regular business hours will normally be provided in-house, unless there are special circumstances. The director of food services will work with the staff to determine interest and capacity for after-hours events. In cases where BC Food Services is unable to meet the needs of an event, the director of food services may approve the use of an authorized food vendor, which will be communicated to the requestor. The food services director will negotiate costs with the vendor and provide a price to the campus customer. BC Food Services may add charges for additional services ordered including those required to meet health department requirements and sales tax, if applicable. BC Food Services is responsible for updating and publishing the list of authorized food vendors. Vendors may provide demographic information related to their ownership that will be included on the list. In order to become an authorized food vendor for Bellevue College, catering companies must attend a Bellevue College catering training session at least once every year, and they must provide the director with copies of appropriate current health certifications. Employees are encouraged to seek out new caterers to become authorized food vendors.

When an internal department, committee, student, club or staff member requests to use an external catering company for an event on campus, the campus customer may decide on the concept and the theme. The director of food services will work with the department, committee, student, club or staff member to understand the requirements. The director of food services will negotiate the contract based on the needs of the event. BC Food Services will ensure all competitive bidding practices are followed. Non-food service employees and students are not authorized to represent the college regarding possible catering business, catering menu needs, or available finances. The director of food services will provide an itemized bill to the customer for all catering events.

Prior Approval Required

Approval is documented by the budget authority through an assigned “To Do” task in 25Live. Organizations requesting approval must follow the requirements of BC Policy 6700, Food Services.

Expenditures for meals, beverages, and light refreshments must be approved by the budget authority for the account being charged, using 25Live, at least three business days in advance of the event (10 days advance notice is recommended). Upon approval by the budget authority, the director of food services will review and assess the request. Late submissions (i.e., requests approved by the budget authority at least three business days in advance) may be denied by the director of food services or may be assessed a 10 percent surcharge.

The director of food services will refer requests that appear to be out of compliance with these procedures to the executive director of finance, who will review the request. Disapproval of requests for any reason may be appealed via an email to the vice president of administrative services.

Meetings or Trainings

The following requirements must be met to receive approval to purchase meals, beverages, or light refreshments for meetings or trainings.

  • The meal or light refreshments are an integral part of an official college meeting or formal training session (e.g., a lunchtime speaker event or to increase efficiency by eliminating meal break disruptions);
  • The presence of attendees benefits the college;
  • The purpose of the event must be to conduct official college business or to provide formal training to college employees or non-instructional training to students;
  • Meetings and trainings must be held in a non-office space such as a conference room, meeting room, classroom; or off-campus location; and
  • The per person cost of the meal may not exceed the state approved per diem.

Recognition Events

The following requirements must be met to receive approval to purchase beverages and/or light refreshments for recognition events:

  • The event must include the formal presentation, at the institutional level, of a recognition award to one or more employees and/or students. Examples of accomplishments worthy of formal recognition may include successful completion of an extraordinary special project, acknowledgment of official college individual employment milestones (e.g., years of service awards, award of tenure) or other outstanding achievement.
  • Only beverages and/or light refreshments, such as drinks (e.g., coffee, tea, and lemonade), light dessert and/or snacks (e.g., cheese and crackers) may be served at the event.

 Non-allowable Expenditures

Except when an employee is on travel status, Washington State funds may not be used to purchase meals, beverages, and/or light refreshments for:

  • Routine daily business of college employees (e.g., daily coffee).
  • Regularly scheduled staff, faculty or student organization meetings.

In no event will state funds be used to purchase meals, beverages, or light refreshments for the following events:

  • Hosting activities, which may include reception buffets, meet and greet occasions, open houses, building dedications, and other primarily social activities.
  • Student recruitment activities.
  • Receptions for new, existing, retiring employees, or officials.
  • Birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
  • Lobbying a legislator or governmental official.
  • Local, state, or federal elections or election celebrations.

Nothing in this procedures prohibits the expenditure of non-state funds by the BC Foundation or other entities on the college’s behalf.

Use of State Resources

In accordance with WAC 292-110-010(2)(b), the president or their designee may authorize limited use of staff time and state resources for employee recognition events such as birthdays, retirements, wedding/baby showers, or other similar celebrations.


Beverages: For state purposes, coffee encompasses any non-alcoholic beverage, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, juice, bottled water, or milk.

Light Refreshments: An edible item that may be served between meals, for example: doughnuts, sweet rolls, and pieces of fruit or cheese.

Official State Business: Activities performed by an official or state employee, authorized volunteer, or contractor, work experience program participant, student or employee of another governmental jurisdiction as directed by his or her supervisor in order to accomplish state programs or as required by the duties of his or her position or office.

Integral Part of the Meeting: An activity within a business meeting that is essential to the completeness of the meeting.

Hosting Activities: “Hosting” includes, but is not limited to, those activities that are intended either to lobby a legislator or a governmental official, or are to be a social rather than governmental business event, and include expenditures for meals, beverages, or light refreshment for those whom agencies are not legally authorized to reimburse.

Relevant Laws and Other Resources

BC Policy 6700, Food Services
State Administrative & Accounting Manual, Office of Financial Management
Revised Code of Washington (RWC) 43.03.050(3)
WA State Office of Financial Management 70.10 Coffee and Light Refreshments
WA State Office of Financial Management 70.15 Meals with Meetings

Revision History

Original 10/1/1995
Revisions 5/10/2005; 6/26/2005; 5/21/2009; 10/19/2015; 3/24/20; 3/23/2021

Approved By

President’s Cabinet

Last Updated July 20, 2021