I. Scope

This policy applies to all college departments and programs.

II. Introduction

Earlham College supports departments and student organizations in planning meetings and events that support the social environment for the campus community. At the same time, the institution must ensure relevant parties are involved in decisions involving institutional funds. We need to maximize to the greatest extent possible the overall value obtained from the use of institutional funds and to minimize the dollars leaving the campus except in circumstances that will overextend the College’s catering resources.

Metz Culinary Management has an exclusive contract with Earlham College to provide catering services on campus, and  retains the right of first refusal to provide food for catered and served food events on campus using College funds or third-party contracts.

III. Catering

All individuals planning campus-based events requiring catering services should following the following guidelines when requesting catering services:

  1. Events serving seventy-five (75) or more require three (3) weeks’ notice.
  2. Events serving less than seventy-five (75) require two (2) weeks’ notice.
  3. Menus, including special dietary restrictions, must be finalized one week prior, with final counts and account numbers confirmed at least three (3) business days before the event.
  4. Events with less than five business days prior approval will be limited based on availability and may require pick up.
  5. During New Student Orientation, Homecoming, and Commencement weeks, ALL events requesting food must be approved by the Office of Events and the Office of the Academic Dean giving three (3) weeks’ notice.
  6. No catering service will be finalized without time, location and account number as reserved in 25Live.
  7. Buffet service requires a minimum of fifteen (15) people; events serving less than fifteen (15) will be charged at the fifteen (15) person rate.
  8. Buffet and served events require a minimum of 1 ½ hour (90 minutes) for pre-event setup and 1 ½ hour (90 minutes) for post-event tear down.
  9. Drop-offs require 30 minutes for pre-event setup and post-event tear down of the space.
  10. To ensure food safety, no food may be taken from a catered event.
  11. Some venues may require an additional service charge based on accessibility and lack of direct access to approved kitchen facilities, etc.
  12. All cancellations must be made via email to the Office of Events at [email protected] and to the Metz Catering Manager at [email protected]
    • More than three business day notice – no charge unless items were ordered strictly for the event
    • Less than three business day notice – 25% of total and cost of items ordered strictly for the event
  13. Basic linens are included with catered meals. Linen colors must be discussed with the Catering Manager and ordered at least two (2) weeks in advance. There is a charge for linen when food is not being requested.
  14. Pick up of food items are available to save on costs.
  15. A service charge will be added to catering events less than $25.

IV. Food at Non-Catered Events

Individuals planning campus-based events must be aware certain food-safety restrictions for non-catered events when food will be available.

Permitted food items

  • Candy – Candy is acceptable provided that all candy is prepackaged and individually wrapped. Unacceptable candy includes opened and sorted or any bulk candy that is not individually packaged.
  • Prepackaged food – This usually includes party-size snacks (i.e., bags of chips, cookies, pretzels, etc.). Prepackaged items requiring temperature control (heating or cooling) are not permitted. All prepackaged food must come from a licensed food manufacturer.

Non-permitted food items

  • Potlucks – Potluck meals are not permitted due to potential risks related to transporting items that require temperature control (heating or cooling) and unsanitary food preparation conditions.
  • Bake Sales – Bake sales that include baked goods, such as cookies, brownies, cupcakes, etc., are not permitted due to potential risks of unsanitary food preparation conditions or the mislabeling of food allergens.
  • Homemade food – Homemade foods are not allowed to be served at events because they pose a risk to the health safety of the community. Homemade food/foods that have to be prepared (i.e. food that needs to be temperature controlled; sandwich fixings) are not permitted at any event.


If you wish to apply for an exemption from this policy to provide food from an outside vendor, email the Office of Events at [email protected] and Metz Catering at [email protected] to obtain the Food Exemption Request Form.

The form must be completed at least three (3) weeks before the requested exception.Meals should be purchased at the most economical restaurant fitting the occasion, and the total cost of the meal not exceed the applicable per person daily meal rate below. Excessive meal costs that exceed the rates below may not be approved.

  • Breakfast: $13
  • Lunch: $14
  • Dinner: $23

V. Pre-Approved Food Vendors

Earlham’s Office of Events and Earlham Dining Services maintains Approved Vendors List that may be consulted for catering services should Metz be unavailable for catering. If a vendor is not included on the College’s Approved Vendors List, the department or student organization requesting food service is responsible for providing the necessary documentation to verify that vendor meets the requirements indicated in this policy.


  • Food liability waiver
  • Liability insurance
  • Board of health certificate

Failure to comply with the above requirements will result in the food service vendor being prohibited on campus until The Office of Events and Earlham Dining Services has approved all necessary paperwork.

VI. Approvals and Documentation


The Office of Student Life shall review and approve all food service requests from student organizations.

Conveners of academic departments shall review and approve all food service requests from their department(s).

Budget managers shall approve food service requests from their administrative units.


The following forms are required or departments and student organizations paying for food with a College p-card:

  • Catering Exemption Request Form signed with appropriate approvals.
  • Itemized receipt/invoice with the restaurant’s name, date, location and amount of expense.

Questions regarding this policy may be directed to the Office of Events in the lower level of Runyan Center.

V. Resources

Policy specifications

Last revision: 02/06/2024
Responsible office: Finance & Administration
Approved by: Chief Financial Officer
Effective date: 02/06/2024
Associated division(s):
Associated audience(s):
Associated container(s):
Policy home: https://earlham.edu/policy/food-policy