Penn State hosts 'NACAS on the Road'

Members of the East Region of the National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS) gathered on Feb. 21 and 22 at Penn State's University Park campus for “NACAS on the Road.”

About 50 participants representing colleges and universities in five states attended the two-day program, which is designed to share best practices and accomplishments with colleagues from other institutions in Auxiliary Services. 

The event was organized and co-chaired by Jonathan Kukta, director of Housing and Food Services at Penn State Berks and Penn State Schuylkill; Abbas Badani, director of the Multimedia and Print Center; and Rob DeMayo, director of Transportation Services. 

On the first day, participants were welcomed with remarks by David Gray, senior vice president of Finance and Business/treasurer, as well as a reception and tour of the Bryce Jordan Center and a men’s basketball game vs. Michigan.   

The second day started with a welcome by John Papazoglou, associate vice president for Penn State Auxiliary and Business Services (A&BS), followed by remarks by Amit Sharma, professor and director of the Food Decisions Research Laboratory in Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management. Sharma gave a talk titled “Factors Influencing Student Food Choices.”  

The day continued with attendees participating in several tours, including the Multimedia and Print Center, which operates 24 hours and serves 24 campuses; the warehouse and Penn State Bakery, which ships baked goods to Penn State campuses across the commonwealth; Pure, a new kosher and common-allergen-free dining station in the recently renovated East Food District; Market East, a 3,200-square-foot convenience store; Earle Hall, a new residence hall featuring private bathrooms, knowledge stations, and complete kitchens; and the HUB-Robeson Center, complete with retail dining and the bookstore managed by Barnes & Noble.  

The day concluded with a wrap-up and Q&A session held by David Rose, assistant vice president for Penn State Auxiliary and Business Services. 

Kukta, who has been involved with NACAS for the past 16 years, was pleased with the event. “I’ve always wanted to host a program at Penn State to showcase all the magnificent auxiliary and business services we provide at University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses,” he said. “It was extra special to be able to tie in an educational session by the School of Hospitality Management. Abbas, Rob, and I were excited as well to have many of our Penn State A&BS colleagues be involved, further showing how our diverse A&BS units work and interact with each other.”