Director's Message

Dear fellow NACUFS members. It is hard to believe we are halfway through the fall semester; here in the Northeast foliage is at its peak and our menus showcase the bountiful harvests, tantalizing our students’ taste buds.

College and University Dining continues to be an exciting and dynamic segment—in recent years the role of a campus food service provider evolved from providing a service to enhancing campus life through dining experiences. As college and universities across the country compete to be the destination of choice for the best and brightest, institutions must differentiate themselves to attract top students—a strong dining program can influence enrollment decisions.  NACUFS mission to support and promote excellence in collegiate dining is paramount.

I am honored to represent such a passionate group of individuals; our members’ dedication to NACUFS is unparalleled. As we move through the transition process together the council’s top priorities are communication and engagement—both veteran and first time members. Specifically we will focus on education, marketing and membership in concert with the overall organizational goals to be the place, the source and the voice for campus dining.

NACUFS’s strength comes from the power of its members. We are one organization focused on a common goal, excellence in collegiate dining, uniquely differentiated from any other organization by a rich mosaic of regional character.  

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve NACUFS as your northeast regional director and welcome your continued thoughts and feedback.


Garett DiStefano
NACUFS Northeast Regional Director

President's Message

Greetings to the Northeast Region!

As the school year settles in I hope you are all doing well and still enthused about the opportunities a new year brings. I don’t know about you, but do the newest first year students look a bit younger than the last? They certainly are as motivated if not more!

What an exciting time to be in higher educational food service. What challenges are you facing and how can your peers throughout the region and across the country can help you? I’m interesting in hear what educational opportunities you’d like to see offered in our region.

I can tell you that on our campus at Tufts we’ve undergone a major reorganization this summer to better position us to serve our campus community, particularly in our retail operations.  As we implement our plans there is excitement mixed with trepidation as we venture to places previously unknown.  We are grateful to our peer institutions that have opened their doors to us for field trips, sharing their procedures, strategies and vision.  NACUFS is all about sharing best practices and we look forward to “paying it forward” in return.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the continuing members of the Northeast Region Council, who I will get to meet and/or know better after our Fall Council Meeting October 19 and 20.  There are a few changes to the Council as well:

  1. We bid farewell to James Barnett, Membership Chair who has completed his term of office. 
  2. We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Kathy Kittridge, Secretary, who has left the University of Maine to pursue new opportunities.
  3. We say hello and welcome to Maria Roberts, Associate Director Auxiliary Services at Binghamton University who has been appointed Secretary.
  4. We are looking for a new Information Officer to replace Ken Toong, who is serving NACUFS as At-Large Director.

If you have an interest in volunteering for NACUFS, please contact me at (617) 627-3751 or patti.klos@tufts.edu.

Don’t miss our regional conference in Providence “Big Ideas in Little Rhody” March 18 through 21. More information will be on our website soon. 

Patti Klos
Director of Tufts Dining & Business Services
NACUFS Northeast Region President


Northeast Region President's Message

Hello to the entire Northeast Region!

I just wanted to say hi as we continue into the Spring Semester.  We here at Connecticut College have had the students return and they all eat as if they starved over break.  I think the freshman fifteen is catching to the upper classmen as well. 

There have been lots of things going on since my last letter.  Our new Executive Director Gretchen Couraud started her position November 1, 2012.  She brings a lot of positive energy to NACUFS and I’m very happy to have her be apart of our great association.  The region has hosted three sub-regionals since September of 2012.  We had the “Summer Business Forum” at Smith College, the “Sustainability in Collegiate Food Service” at Phillips Exeter Academy, and just presented “Veg Out” hosted by Cornell University.  All were incredibly successful and I want to thank everyone who made them happen.

The 2013 Regional Conference is open for registration.  This year it will be at SUNY Cortland and it will be a fantastic experience.  Between the speakers, interest sessions, culinary challenge,  showcase, and loads of networking opportunities the registration fee of $215 is a steal.  In addition, the region is offering a rebate of $700.00 for one person and $900.00 for two people from a school that has never attended or that has not attended a regional conference in the last three years.  This rebate will be given out on a first come first serve basis so apply soon using the financial assistance form.  As always, all schools are welcome to apply for financial assistance to any NACUFS event. 

The deadline to apply to the educational institutes is March 8, 2013.  While this may seem like a long ways off, it really isn’t.  The NACUFS educational institutes are an invaluable resource and helps shape future leaders of NACUFS  and the industry.  Institutes aren’t a guarantee to attend as you have to apply and be chosen but you can’t get picked if you don’t apply. 

As some of you may know Gina Guiducci of Brown University is stepping down as the regional nutrition committee chair person as she is now on the national nutrition committee.  Michele Wilbur of Cornell University will be taking her place after the regional conference.  Michele brings a wealth of knowledge with her and great enthusiasm.  The council is looking forward to her joining us.

Lastly, I want to implore you to use your membership.  Bear with me while I share a story.  When you see geese flying along in "V" formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. The formation of the "V" might be an interesting sight to see, but the impressive birds bring a great sense of unity and teamwork to their flight that many schools can benefit from learning.  As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in "V" formation, the whole flock adds greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.  If  we have as much sense as a goose, we will align with those people who are headed the same way we are. We must be willing to allow others to help lift us up, all the while helping those who may  fall out of formation. We need to make sure our methods are positive and productive in order to encourage our teammates to perform. A team with encouragement, production and successes is greater than those with without!  We must stand strong with  the members  of our group  through  difficult  times.  Becoming unified as whole and standing by each other’s side will help pick us up and succeed together.  NACUFS does all of this for you and more.  Your membership dollars pay for a wide variety of services that connect you to an extensive network of schools and individuals.  All you have to do is reach out and grab them.  I encourage you to do so and I’m one of many who will personally help any school or person who wants one on one help in using their membership.  All you have to do is ask.

Michael Kmec
Northeast Region President

Northeast Sub-Regional Conference Jan. 18

Join us for a Northeast Region Sub-Regional Conference! You won’t want to miss this Pacific Foods sponsored event on Friday, January 18th from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Relax and learn how to transform your existing popular recipes into favorite vegan and vegetarian dishes for all to enjoy. Culinary Sales Support, Inc. (CSSI) will uncover the mystery behind converting traditional recipes into flavorful, delicious and nutritious vegetarian and vegan foods. Be there to watch the transformation, enjoy the smells and tastes, and learn with your colleagues the ease of keeping your recipes up-to date with the trends.

Cornell will share their success story of becoming the Runner Up for the "2012 Most Vegan Friendly College and University" contest.  Enjoy a tour and lunch in Keeton House Dining; a Cornell Dining location that specializes in “eating well” foods.

Bring back to your team:

  • Information about vegetarian and vegan preferences and trends.
  • Ideas on How to change your popular recipes into vegetarian and vegan recipes.
  • Ways for everyone to enjoy meatless meals without missing the meat.
  • Easy healthier preparation methods.

Location: Cornell University 
Rose House Dining Room 
Gothics Way (off of Stewart Ave and University Ave) 
Ithaca, NY

9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.      Light continental breakfast
10 a.m. – 11 a.m.         Introduction and overview of a vegan and vegetarian diet.
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.   Keeton House eating well dining hall tour, lunch, and Cornell success stories.
12:30 p.m. – 2p.m.      CSSI cooking demonstration: Avocado Banana Hemp-Frappe, Tortilla Soup, Meat(less) Loaf, Rosemary Mashed Potatoes and Onion Gravy, Cheesy Rosemary Potato and Cauliflower Gratin, and Steel-Cut Oat Brulée with Seasonal Fruit.
2 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.         Reception and send off

All members are welcome. Please email Michael Kmec to reserve your spot.  Attendance is first come, first serve.

My Experience in the 2012 Marketing Institute

Marketing Institute

Submitted by: Renee Soluk
Customer Service Manager
Harvard University Dining Services

My recent participation in the NACUFS Marketing Institute has provided me with valuable information to take back to my university and hopefully help implement into our marketing strategies.  To me, the most interesting parts of the institute were the conversations the group had about what marketing efforts worked, what did not, and what trends we might see in the future.  Listening to how other universities use different strategies, based on their type of school, was very interesting to hear. I was surprised to learn how different the marketing department at Harvard was to a place like the University of Kansas. As a part of these comparison conversations, I found the exchange of ideas one of the most helpful parts of this institute. 

Another interesting part of the institute was our discussion on social media. Twitter is very popular on some college campuses, and Facebook seems to be on the way out.  Though a school still needs to have a Facebook presence, it seems other social media outlets are becoming more popular. We wondered what the next media trend might be.  By the end of the conference we were all following each other on Twitter, opening new accounts, or updating the ones that we had. Being able to network, meet and speak with representatives from schools across America and Mexico was an invaluable experience.

Traditional marketing materials, such as print media and advertisements, still has its place on college and university campuses, but a growing dependence on social media might replace these traditional methods in the future. Marketing efforts need to match the targeted audience, and in an age where students are connected to hash tags and QR codes, our use of technology, as campus marketers, will need to compete for the students attention. The NACUFS Marketing Institute creates a forum and place were this exchange of ideas and refocusing of marketing efforts can occur. This institute is a valuable resource and tool for college professionals.


Kathy Kittridge Enjoys the Marketing Institute 2012

Marketing Institute

Submitted by: Kathy Kittridge
Director of Dining
University of Maine 

With the turn of the New Year I find myself reflecting on the events in my personal and professional life during 2012.  My department has been fortunate to have supportive leadership recognizing the importance of professional development.  One of the highlights of my professional development experiences in 2012 was the opportunity to attend the NACUFS Marketing Institute. 

This was my fourth institute and certainly lived up to the expectations including long days packed with pertinent information, new ideas, networking and of course new food experiences and fun.  At the University of Maine we have new leadership and a new campus marketing department with very specific goals and objectives which I feel will be an asset to our dining department.  I decided to apply for the marketing institute to learn more about developing a good marketing plan, explore what others in the industry are doing, bring back some new ideas  and of course to meet some great individuals in our industry.  I feel that our campus community doesn’t really know all the great things that we do in UMaine Dining and really want to make improvements in this area.

The Marketing Institute takes you through the basics of marketing ending with a group project to develop a marketing plan for a scenario.  I found this very helpful in achieving my goal of understanding the components and how to develop a plan for my department.  Throughout the sessions there were opportunities for each of us to share some of successful marketing ideas and to network making contacts of others for future idea sharing.  I am currently in the process of writing a plan to get through the Spring Semester and looking ahead to the future. 

I met a variety of professionals at the institute including those from operators to marketing experts.  The faculty included Crista Martin and Jennifer Gilmore who shared a wealth of information and expertise.  I am grateful to them for volunteering their time to prepare and participate in this institute they are really top notch!  Rachel Warner and Jennifer Trayan from NACUFS their expertise and insight into marketing in areas which included social media, branding and publicity which provided me with some ideas I will use as I move forward.    Our NACUFS organization is fortunate to have them on staff!  Nona Golledge also attended giving us insight as a director and reminding us of the importance of NACUFS resources.  I truly appreciate the Leaderships teams’ participation.

This institute wouldn’t happen without our sponsorship which was Coca-Cola and our host was Marvin Vines, the regional Marketing Asset Manager for the Southeast region.  He was a fabulous host providing us with insight into the success of Coca-Cola, a tour of the headquarters including the office with much memorabilia of the past leader Robert W. Woodruff who ran Coca-Cola for 60 years and of course there were unlimited coke products and delicious lunches in the corporate cafeteria.   Marvin gave me some great ideas to coordinate with our Coca-Cola representative. 

The Marketing Institute fulfilled my expectations and I would certainly recommend this institute to others at most any level in the campus dining organizations.  I am thankful to put this on the top of my professional development experiences of 2012.