For this month's article on the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Conference held in Dallas, we spoke to several attendees about what they went to the show for and what they got out of it.
Both Kim Munz, associate director of Dining at Morrisville State College in New York and Greg Heintz, director of Dining Services at Edgewood College in Madison, Wis., commented that a main reason they like going to the show is comparing their relatively small operations to some of the larger ones.
They were both pleased that a lot of the things they are doing on their campuses are the same as the big boys — and in some cases better.
That competitive spirit is also evident when viewing the number of entrants for the Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards on display at the show. Each year, schools outdo themselves coming up with entries — with some including electric lights and sound effects. Attendees look at these entries and you can almost see lightbulbs going off above their heads on how the event they will enter next year will be better.
We have seen your competitiveness firsthand. Oftentimes, after we publish news of a special event in our Around the Campus section, we receive calls from other schools telling us of their own events and mentioning how theirs topped the one featured.
This kind of competition is a great thing for all schools. Trying to keep up with other campuses only makes your operations better. Being pushed to come up with a concept or event that is better than the other guy's benefits your students and their experience — and gives them lasting memories of their time on campus.
So when you read the pages of On-Campus Hospitality magazine, it is okay to be impressed with what other schools are doing — schools are certainly doing some impressive things — but it is even better to think of it as a challenge to do things better yourself.
When you accept that challenge, don't forget to let us know what you did — another school is waiting for your challenge.