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Butler students
Programs for Leadership & Service Education

Student Organization Food Guidelines

All Student Organizations

If a group receives approval from the University and Dining Services:

  • All groups that plan to serve food at ANY event on campus must first consult with Dining Services, Butler University's food provider.
    • Dining Services is our designated caterer and should be given the opportunity to meet the needs of any campus group. Dining Services must sign-off on a student organization or any other group bringing food from the outside to campus for an event.
  • Groups must determine if they are covered under a 501 (c) 3, a non-profit organization tax status. There are different food policy guidelines depending on if you are considered a 501 (c) 3. 
    • Organizations that are covered under a national 501 (c) 3 must acquire a letter of determination (confirms 501 (c) 3 status) and letter of approval from the national organization stating the campus chapter is covered under their status. Organizations should provide this documentation no later than one week prior to the event.

Once a group receives approval from the University and Dining Services:

  • All groups regardless of 501 (c) 3 status may serve food that is commercially prepared or prepared by members of the group to their organization members of the group when the event is closed, meaning the event is only for the members of the recognized student organization. 
  • Groups may host licensed food trucks on campus without registering the event with the Marion County Health Dept or obtaining a temporary vendor license. Groups must get a COI from food trucks.

If group is NOT within a 501C3:

The group must first receive approval from the University and Dining Services. This applies to events open to campus. Groups will need to obtain a Certificate of Insurance from any food vendor they are working with and it must meet the Butler University standards.

Food cannot contain anything that will spoil: (milk, meat, chicken, fish, cheese, cut fruit or vegetables, rice, beans or any open foods like a cotton candy machine or popcorn machine or open beverages).

For events open to campus:

  • Groups must register any event where food is served with Marion County Health Department (MCHD) minimally 30 days prior to the event using the registration application at marionhealth.org. (no fee to register the event).
  • If working with an outside vendor, the food vendor must also apply for and receive a temporary vendor license.
  • If purchasing/using donated food and serving it themselves, a group must also apply for a temporary vendor license minimally 48 hours prior to event. There is a charge for this license that must be paid in cash, cashier's check, certified check or money order. No personal or company checks are accepted.
  • This includes but is not limited to the following requirements (please go to marionhealth.org for a complete list of requirements):
    • Groups may not serve home-prepared foods
    • Groups may not sell foods
    • Group cannot eating, drinking or smoking near foods
  •  Sanitizing station:
    • If using all disposable utensils (serving, eating, plates, etc), groups do not have to have a sanitizing station
    •  If using any non-disposable utensils, group must have sanitizing station set up (regardless of length of event)
    • Must wash utensils every 4 hours, regardless if they did not drop any utensils.
  • Food must be kept at the required temperature, given the type of food it is:
    • For hot food: above 135 degrees F
    • For cold food: below 41degrees F
  • There must be a hand washing station for servers as well as for participants:
    • A temporary hand washing station must consist of, at least, running water, soap, paper towels, a discard bucket and trash can. If a sink is not available, a large thermos or container in which water is held for dispensing for hand washing can be used.  
  • Food must be served by members of sponsoring group:
    • Gloves, tongs, deli paper, spoons or spatulas must be used to serve food (use gloves, tongs, deli paper, spoons or spatulas)
    • Hands must be washed by servers frequently
    • Hand sanitizer or gloves cannot substitute hand washing
    • Hair must be pulled back and covered by hat, scarf, hairnet or visor
    • Food must be shielded/covered use of lids, covers or sneeze guards
  •  For outdoor events:
    • Overhead covering (tent) should be provided
    • Must cover all food preparation, cooking and serving areas
    • Flooring must be concrete or asphalt. Grass, gravel or dirt must be covered by mats, platforms or other suitable materials
    • Adequate lighting must be provided
    • Ice that is used to keep food/drinks cold may not be used for consumption

For groups that are recognized 501C3:

With 501(c)3 Letter of Determination

The group must first receive approval from the University and Dining Services. This applies to events open to campus. Groups will need to obtain a Certificate of Insurance from any food vendor they are working with and it must meet the Butler University standards. 

If food is commercially pre-packaged and non-perishable, groups are NOT required to register event OR get vendor license. (Examples of individually prepackaged food include chips, popcorn, nuts, candy, cookies, granola bars, bottled or canned beverages). This pre-packaged and non-perishable food can be given away OR sold.

Food cannot contain anything that will spoil: (milk, meat, chicken, fish, cheese, cut fruit or vegetables, rice, beans or any open foods like a cotton candy machine or popcorn machine or open beverages).

Groups that are included in a recognized 501C3 are liable for any food related issues as it relates to their events. They are responsible for educating group members on and upholding proper food handling procedures.

For events open to campus:

  • After receiving fundraising approval from the PuLSE office, groups may put on bake sales. Items must be individually wrapped and include a label that indicates date of preparation, ingredients, and name of who prepared it.
  • If members of group are preparing/serving food themselves in a licensed kitchen, group does not need to register the event or apply for temporary vendor license, but they need to label food that indicates date of preparation, ingredients, and name of who prepared it.
  • If group is purchasing and/or having food donated from a commercial vendor AND the group is serving the food themselves, the group does not need to register the event or apply for temporary vendor license with the Marion County Health Department.
  • If the group is bringing in an outside vendor to prepare/serve the food, that vendor must apply for a license (the group's 501C3 status does not extend to the vendor) from the Marion County Health Department.
  • An outside caterer/vendor does not have to apply for a temporary food license if the group or organization chooses to serve the food provided themselves. The group needs to follow the proper food safety guidelines listed below, and must obtain a Certificate of Insurance from the caterer/vendor being utilized.
    • If selling food for a fundraiser, it must benefit the group covered by the 501C3 and not an outside philanthropy.
    • If using the national organization's 501C3, the money may go to the local chapter directly.

501C3 groups serving food on campus must follow the guidelines for serving food outlined below.

This includes but is not limited to the following requirements (please go to marionhealth.org for a complete list of requirements):

  • Groups may not serve home-prepared foods
  • No eating, drinking or smoking near food
  •  Sanitizing station:
    • If using all disposable utensils (serving, eating, plates, etc), groups do not have to have a sanitizing station
    •  If using any non-disposable utensils, group must have sanitizing station set up (regardless of length of event)
    • Must wash utensils every 4 hours, regardless if they did not drop any utensils.
    • Food must be kept at the required temperature, given the type of food it is:
      • For hot food: above 135 degrees F
      • For cold food: below 41 degrees F 
  • There must be a hand washing station for servers as well as for participants:
    • A temporary hand washing station must consist of, at least, running water, soap, paper towels, a discard bucket and trash can. If a sink is not available, a large thermos or container in which water is held for dispensing for hand washing can be used.   
  • Food must be served by members of sponsoring group:
  • Gloves, tongs, deli paper, spoons or spatulas must be used to serve food (use gloves, tongs, deli paper, spoons or spatulas)
  • Hands must be washed by servers frequently
  • Hand sanitizer or gloves cannot substitute hand washing
  • Hair must be pulled back and covered by hat, scarf, hairnet or visor
  • Food must be shielded/covered use of lids, covers or sneeze guards
    • For outdoor events:
      • Overhead covering (tent) should be provided
      • Must cover all food preparation, cooking and serving areas
      • Flooring must be concrete or asphalt. Grass, gravel or dirt must be covered by mats, platforms or other suitable materials
      • Adequate lighting must be provided
      • Ice that is used to keep food/drinks cold may not be used for consumption