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Interest Sessions

Note: Sessions and schedule below are subject to change. Stay tuned for more updates! 

Talent Management Track

Culinary & Nutrition Track 

Marketing, Communication, and Campus Engagement Track

Financial, Operations & Business Administration Track


Thursday, March 7

Beef Up Your Social Media

Take your social media from fast food to fine dining. In the ever-changing world of social media, having a Dining social account is simply not enough. Your team must know how to strategically think about content, how to stay on top of trends and platform features and how to best communicate with your specific audience. In this session, we’ll teach you how to create a workable content calendar to streamline your social media process, how to conduct analytics on your posts to determine effectiveness, and how to ultimately increase your engagement and following on arguably the most important means of communication with students. 

Bring Your Catering Dollars Back to Campus

This session will provide learners with the basis for identifying if their campus catering is achieving its potential by keeping its catering dollars on campus. Duke University Dining Services has invested time and resources into developing their on-campus catering and keeping their catering dollars on campus. In the time span of the last year, the process that helped streamline the growth of campus catering to achieve this goal started off with many questions. The who, where, when, how, and why were questions that were asked repeatedly over many aspects of this developing program. These questions brought many teams together, introduced departments and collaborators who were not in Dining but were able to seek revenue from shared communication and efforts. Following this session, participants should be able to recognize within their own departments where they can start asking these questions and who they may be able to seek out within their university to grow revenues with from catering events. 

Finding the Balance Between Delicious and Nutritious 

Nutrition and special diets have become hot topics affecting menu planning in all levels of food service. We will discuss how nutritious and delicious are not mutually exclusive terms, but in fact one of the same. Join the members of UGA Dining Services’ menu planning team to unravel the complexities of nutrition and flavor. 

Ethnography of Student Campus Dining Lifecycle

Ethnography of Student Campus Dining Lifecycle explores the transition of the freshman to graduate student palate, dining patterns and community building associated with on-campus dining. The session will provide insights gained from qualitative and quantitative research conducted on the University of Georgia campus with freshman to graduate students in February of 2019. Research shows that there are significant changes in the palates’ of 18-24-year-olds but do campus dining operators really know what motivates their changing choices, how and when these changes occur and how to help facilitate healthy lifelong patterns? During this session campus dining operators will gain a better understanding of the concept of community building around different food experiences. Anecdotally we know this occurs but at a deeper dive how, when, why and where is this occurring and what barriers exist that may prevent this from occurring? Since the goal is to be more than food providers, having a better understanding of a student’s dining lifecycle and motivators is essential. Ethnography of Student Campus Dining Lifecycle will elevate your campus food service program to go beyond just providing food to one that nourishes lifelong patterns. 

Peer Nutrition Education: Students Helping Students

Peer education enables students to learn from each other and model health-enhancing behaviors.  The Peer Nutrition Educator (PNE) program is an extremely successful 20-year partnership between UGA Dining Services, the UGA Health Center, and the UGA Dept of Foods and Nutrition.  Learn how UGA Dining Services spearheads the program and listen to the experiences of current and former students.  Three current Peer Nutrition Educators will be showcasing their skills.  Former PNEs will discuss the impact the program had on their professional skill development and how it prepared them for graduate school and professional careers in nutrition, wellness, and the food industry.

Straight Talk: Building a Culture of Candid Conversation

It has never been so important to create and maintain an organizational culture of transparency, honesty, and integrity. But let’s face it, straight, honest communication is often more rare than common. Whether it’s fear of reprisal, not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings or plain old embarrassment, many of us avoid telling the truth when the truth needs to be told. Based on Larry Johnson’s best-selling book, Absolute Honesty: Building A Corporate Culture That Values Straight Talk and Rewards Integrity, Larry shows you how to establish a culture that encourages transparency, candid discussions, and healthy debate.

A Vision for NACUFS Future

We invite you to join this session and add your voice to a robust conversation about NACUFS’ future. Over the last year, we have had many opportunities to gather feedback from NACUFS members, and are now prepared to present a draft Vision, approved by the board of trustees. Please plan to attend and share your input.

Implementing a Food Hall Into Your Dining Mix 

Food halls have seen outstanding growth over the past few years winning over the hearts and taste buds of millions of Americans—particularly younger generations. Knowing this, it’s no surprise the concept has begun to take roots on college and university campuses across the country. Food halls are a unique way to offer something for everyone while having an efficient space that can open and close with demand, provide future flexibility and offer up unique dining and social experience to students.

Not to be confused with food courts which have been around forever and are now being seen as out of date and touch with modern day consumers—the difference between the two is the design. Strategic design, especially when implementing the concept at the school is essential. Join the conversation with Phillip Landgraf, Principal at Ricca Design Studios along with Christopher Bivins and Chrissy Perez  AIA, IIDA, LEED AP of Cooper Carry Architects on how to successfully embrace food hall culture on campus. During their discussion, they will touch upon the impact on students, space considerations, meal plan options and leasing/operating agreements.

Zap the Gap: Generational Differences Reexamined

Despite the potential challenges that can arise between the generations, there are just as many benefits. People of different generations bring different perspectives to problems. Experience can be both a blessing and a curse. The solution that worked in the past may not necessarily work in the future. Meagan helps her audiences finding common ground and build on generational strengths. She believes the best strategy for success is not thinking about how people are different but thinking about how people are the same.

Friday, March 8

Mobile Ordering Solutions for Students with Food Allergies

Mobile ordering is increasingly common in foodservice; however, many available solutions are not geared toward the food allergic student – a growing population in both the nation and collegiate dining. Accommodating food allergic students has become a legal necessity due to the ADA 2012 revision as well as a financial necessity as food allergic students represent a larger portion of housing residents each year. An effective solution addresses both student and staff needs and concerns, provides increased safety and convenience for the customer, and decreases college and university liability.

Beyond a Program: Embedding Sustainability into Dining Operations

Using the principles of systems thinking and design thinking, participants will learn how Duke Dining is shifting sustainability from being a peripheral program to an embedded expectation for its operations. The session will provide an overview of how sustainability can be incorporated into the entire supply chain of a dining program, from procurement principles to waste recovery. Participants can expect to leave the session with concrete ideas for how they can bolster their own operation’s sustainability efforts.

Salt, Spatulas,Trust: Relationships behind the Sneeze Guards

One key measure of an effective team is the level of trust that exist between members of the team. Vice versa, dysfunctional teams typically exhibit high levels of mistrust within the team and beyond. Utilizing the interactive case study model, this session is designed to provide participants with a hands-on opportunity to identify the sources of individual/team mistrust as well as develop strategies that promote healthy and trusting relationships across all members of their teams. 

Expanding the Experience Through Partnering On Campus

Presented by Dr. McDonald, Dean of Students, and Associate Vice President Holden, University of Georgia

In this session, we will discuss the opportunities that can be built through expanded partnerships. We will discuss examples of how the student body benefit though on-campus partnerships.  At the University of Georgia, we will discuss the changes we were able to provide for our students as we removed barriers and built bridges.

Creating Memorable Nutrition and Wellness Outreach Programming

Getting your nutrition messages out to campus is always challenging. In this engaging session we’ll discuss creative ways to interact with students while meeting them where they are- and where they eat. Strategies include: development of a yearlong theme; interactive experiences at dining locations; marketing and collaboration with other campus departments.

Equipment that Elevates MTO (Made-to-Order) QSRs

During this session, two professionals with over 50 years of combined experience will share their expertise of many aspects of foodservice equipment. Learn to create the dining experience that today’s customer expects, while utilizing state-of-the-art, high-quality, high-production equipment that will give you the throughput you need. Explore what’s out there, including application and capacity - and what equipment can really do for you.