NACUFS To Respond To Most Extraordinary School Year With Rosaasen at Helm

NACUFS cafeteria student college dining university
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Article by Paola M. Zevallos

Addressing the Coronavirus outbreak is a once in a lifetime obstacle and Orlynn Rosaasen is on a path to leading one of the industry’s most vital segments through this most challenging time.

NACUFS Orlynn Rosaasen
Orlynn Rosaasen

Rosaasen is the National President of NACUFS, The National Association of College and University Food Service. He also guides the foodservice operation at the University of North Dakota. Before becoming UND’s Director of Dining Services, he was the associate director of dining and previously the assistant director of retail dining. Prior coming to Grand Forks, Rosaasen served as food service manager for the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD.

In a year like none other, he had to inform the parents and students in March ’20, when campuses had to close, that social distancing was going to become the new protocol on the UND campus.

“It was challenging as we were asking local students to leave and not able to serve them,” added Rosaasen. “At the same time, we had to keep one dining room open for the international students who could not leave campus because they did not have family in the US.”

As with many of his NACUFS constituents, Rosaasen had to engineer extensive closings and furloughs of staff for a six week period in the early Spring. “The most difficult piece of managing this has been the need to respond to the changing plans of our outgoing UND President Mark Kennedy,” Rosaasen said. “We must have made at least a dozen changes in plans.”

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From an operational standpoint, the UND foodservice team was challenged to feed three meals-a-day to the university’s international students who were quarantining in their dorms. “It was really difficult to keep track of everyone because some students would secretly leave. This caused a disparity when trying to organize and prepare food for the students.”

When UND opened in September for the ’20-’21 school year, Rosaasen found the need to pivot once again. Among the challenges on the UND campus was the impact of hybrid class schedules had on the school’s foodservice program. “Students that we were used to dining in our facilities during traditional meal times, needed to be offered a more extensive grab and go menu. To accommodate them, we expanded our line of pre-packaged sandwiches, fruit cups, and yogurt cups.”

The new university year brought the challenges of implementing new sanitizing and disinfecting protocols. That included deep cleaning of tables, chairs, and a move to disposable utensils. To implement the six feet required for social distancing, UND opted for a 48 square foot model to ensure the safety of everyone.

Rosaasen and his NACUFS board and staff are set to embark on helping to create a blueprint for the upcoming second semester. Rosaasen will chair a series of national town halls for college and university foodservice directors that kick off this week:

  • The Continental Region Virtual Town Hall and the Midwest Region Virtual Town Hall on December 9th.
  • On December 10th, 2020, he will anchor Mid-Atlantic Region Virtual Town Hall and the Northeast Region Virtual Town Hall.
  • His busy week concludes on December 11th, at the Southern Region Virtual Town Hall and the Pacific Region Virtual Town Hall. The 2021 slate of virtual town halls can be found at nacufs.org.

Since 1958, NACUFS has supported the college and university foodservice market by providing members with the programs and resources they need to excel, from benchmarking and best practices to educational programming and professional networking.

NACUFS was founded by a group of college and university foodservice professionals from across the United States. The brainchild of Richard Lichtenfelt, then director of dormitory food services at Central Michigan University, NACUFS became the first association solely focused on foodservice in colleges and universities.

The NACUFS institution members span across the U.S. and Canada who partner with industry members from the food, equipment, and consulting market segments. Institutional members include 4-year and 2-year colleges; self-operated, contract and hybrid schools; small and large campuses. Industry members represent a wide spectrum of international, national and regional companies.

Since its inception, NACUFS has focused on its mission: to support and promote excellence in collegiate dining. Rosaasen and his NACUFS peer across the Nation, are integral to making certain the nation’s undergraduate community are properly fed. They are also entrusted with their safety as they continue their studies at colleges and universities.


To learn more about NACUFS and their upcoming events, visit their website.

  • RATIONAL USA
  • DAVO Sales Tax
  • RAK Porcelain
  • Enterprise Greece
  • Red Gold
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Inline Plastics
  • Day & Nite
  • Imperial Dade