Spending Guidelines for VP&S Club Leaders

Our spending guidelines are organized as "how-to" items that club leaders often encounter expenses for when planning events. They include food for on- and off-campus events; supplies equipment, and gifts; T-shirts and other promotional swag; and speakers, services, and rentals. You will also find our spending policies detailed below. 

How to Order Food for On-Campus Events

When ordering food for on-campus events, please submit your request at least 5 days in advance. If 5 days has already elapsed, you can order the food yourself submit a reimbursement with the Clubs Director or use our purchasing card (P-card) for orders over the phone or online at:

  • Restaurants: Tung Thong Thai, Famous Famiglia, Kismat, El Malecon, Golan Heights, and other local eateries
  • Online Food Vendors: Fresh Direct, Amazon, Google Express, Seamless

Important Notes:

  • The P-card cannot be lent out for use.
  • Alcohol, rentals, or food for off-campus events cannot be charged to the P-card. 

How to Order Food for Off-Campus Events

When ordering food for off-campus events, request the vendor to invoice the VP&S Club at Columbia University. Examples are Faculty Club, Famous Famiglia, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, X-Caffé, and other local eateries. Forms for restaurants are found among our finance forms used by club leaders (log-in required). Make sure to provide the VP&S Club director with a copy of your event flyer or email. 

How to Order Supplies, Equipment, and Gifts

When ordering supplies equipment, and gifts, make sure to bring your event flyer to the VP&S Club office and use the P-card for orders at:

  • Retailers: Amazon, Staples, Target, Walmart, and Home depot. NOTE: B&H & Best Buy need to invoice the VP&S Club. 
  • Local Store: Columbia bookstore

How to Order T-Shirts and Other Promotional Swag

You may order T-shirts, bags, and other promotional swag from the Columbia University Promotional / Internal Vendor List (PDF). Come to the VP&S Club office or send an email with what you want to order. Once a quote is generated and artwork is approved, you can pay with the P-card.

How to Pay for Speakers, Services, and Rentals

Come to the VP&S Club office and discuss with us what you need and your budget for speakers, services, and rentals at least one month in advance of your event. 

You will have to request an invoice from the vendor, proof of liability insurance, and a signed performance agreement/contract and W-9.

Advance planning is necessary. Payment takes 4-6 weeks when an invoice is required. 

Important Notes:

  • Do not sign any contracts on behalf of your club as you are not authorized to sign contracts. Submit the contract to the VP&S Club Director, so it can be reviewed by Columbia's purchasing office in advance.
  • If there is a vendor you want to use that is not on the Columbia University Promotional / Internal Vendor List, do not start to do business with this vendor until you speak to the VP&S Club Director. Failure to follow this procedure will lead to failure of payment and reimbursement.

Spending Policies

Prior to any purchase, the VP&S Club Director or VP&S Club Program Coordinator must approve the budget for your meetings, events, and social programs. This process ensures your club has the funds for the event and that money is spent in adherence to the spending guidelines of VP&S and all of Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Following is more information about our spending policies for different items:

Spending by Event Type

Meetings and Socials: $3 per person (snacks, hors d'oeuvres or appetizers, and non-alcoholic drinks)

Regular Events: $7-$10 per person (lunch or dinner, including non-alcoholic drinks)

Special Events

  • Transition Dinner: $15-$20 per person (includes all beverages); restricted to board members and/or officers
  • Semi-Formal Banquets: $35-$50 per person (includes all beverages); event must be for all members and requires approval of the VP&S Club Director

Large Expenses

For expenses totaling over $1,000, you must speak to the VP&S Club Director before making the purchase, as it should be paid directly by the University and may require additional bids before you can move forward with the purchase.

Serving Alcohol

See alcohol policy listed in the "alcohol at events" section of the Club Leader Training Manual (PDF, p. 13, log-in required).

Gift Cards and Certificates

Gift cards and certificates are not allowed to be purchased.

Conference and Travel Guidelines

This content adheres to the official Columbia University travel policy, as follows:

  • Plan Ahead: Please speak to the VP&S Club Director at least one month in advance of travel to confirm budget and availability of funds.
  • Allocate Funds: Decide in advance how much you will allocate per person for transportation, hotel, and/or conference fees.
  • Conference Registration You can pay for conference registration with the VP&S Club P-card. However, if you pay on your own, you can submit a receipt to the VP&S Club director prior to travel.
  • Transportation (Air, Bus, Train): You must pay your own transportation up front and wait to be reimbursed. Submit reimbursement paperwork for flights or trains upon booking. You do not have to wait until after the conference.
  • Hotels: Charges for hotels must be submitted post-travel as you are often not billed at the time of booking (this also includes hotel reservations made through online sites that charge in advance.) You cannot be reimbursed for hotel charges until the stay is completed. Upon your return, submit your paid bill and credit card statement with a reimbursement form.
  • Travel Reimbursement: All conference travel reimbursement must include a copy of the conference agenda (proof of date, location, and affiliated organization), associated receipts, and print-outs of credit card statements as needed.