Food, beverage guidelines set for university classrooms

After decades of a "no food or beverages" rule, departments and student organizations that use general university classrooms now may bring in both. The new guidelines took effect the first day of fall semester and apply to the 214 classrooms and auditoriums coordinated centrally by the room scheduling office. They don't apply to spaces scheduled by colleges and departments. The Memorial Union has its own food policy.

The guidelines respond to increasing requests to bring in food as well as to a student government resolution passed in February. Student leaders successfully argued that allowing food and nonalcoholic beverages in more university spaces would help student organizations recruit members, which ultimately helps more students get involved at Iowa State and have a better college experience.

"In the past few years, the requests to serve food and nonalcoholic beverages in classrooms have been on the rise," said instructional facilities coordinator Katie Baumgarn. "We hope these guidelines will support the efforts of the various organizations on campus."

Senior vice president for university services Kate Gregory, with the support of President Steven Leath and his cabinet, opted to extend the guidelines to all users of general university classrooms.

In order to keep custodial staff in the loop about events in their buildings that will include food or beverages, the guidelines require some pre-planning -- and some post-event cleanup. They are:

  • Groups that want to serve food or nonalcoholic beverages during non-class events will need to indicate the type of food and beverages when they complete a room request form
  • For class-related food or beverage requests, a 48-hour advance notice needs to be emailed to
  • Users are responsible for their own cleanup (including trash removal from the room). A cleaning fee will be assessed to the organization or department if a room is not returned to its pre-event status, or if food-related damage occurs.

Baumgarn noted that many groups and departments already have submitted their room requests for the semester. Those who would like to add food items or nonalcoholic beverages to an earlier submission are asked to email with their requests.