Academic Department Engagement Funds

Questions and Answers

Can the funds be used to pay for food?

Yes: These funds can be used to provide refreshments for students to encourage attendance at activities.  The department’s efforts to increase engagement are official university business and are covered in the Hospitality expense policy and procedures.  It is essential when processing paperwork for expenditure or reimbursement to provide clear documentation of the university business purpose for the activity:

  • Have an agenda that clearly describes the student engagement purposes and activities
  • Have sign in sheets – with separate sheets for students, faculty members and external visitors, so that it is easy to understand the attendees of the event(s)
  • Adhere to the dollar maximums per person listed in the campus hospitality expense procedure.

Can the funds be used to pay for field trips or student travel?

Yes, with limitations: Funds can be paid directly to a museum, conference, bus company, etc.  Presumably funding would not be sufficient for all students with majors in the department, so there must be some application and selection process that is open to all.  Payment should not go directly to students, even as a reimbursement.

Can the funds be used to purchase bulletin boards or other communication resources?

Yes: As long as they are department managed to increase engagement and announce engagement opportunities.

Can the funds be used to pay for faculty meals at a student-centered event?

Yes: But it should be clear that the primary benefits of the activity are for the students. Please see the section on "food" above.

Can the funds be used for club activities?

No: The host / sponsor must be the department with the goal of increasing student engagement.  This does not preclude involvement of club members or officers, who can certainly help design and run activities, but invitations to participate should come from the department.

Can the funds be used for scholarships, gifts or prizes?

Not recommended: Scholarships and gifts are not allowed.  Small give-away items (e.g. pens) available to all students attending an event designed to increase engagement might be possible.  However, the appearance of unwise use of state funds, even if allowed, makes this an area of expense that would be better avoided.

Do the funds roll-over to the next year if they are not used?

No: Funds must be used during the academic year in which they were budgeted.

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