AIM Institute: 
Where learning and practice meet!

Spring had not yet bloomed in late March when participants in the NACAS Advanced Institute for Managers (AIM) gathered at the University of Notre Dame.


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Spring had not yet bloomed in late March when participants in the NACAS Advanced Institute for Managers (AIM) gathered at the University of Notre Dame.

After settling into the newly renovated AAA Four Diamond Morris Inn, the “living room” of the university, participants were warmly greeted by NACAS Chief Executive Officer Ron Campbell, CASP at the Notre Dame Conference Center. From the beginning, a collegial tone was set, as lectures, workshops, and networking began in earnest. Over the next few days, an impressive line-up of speakers shared their expertise.

Tulane University’s Rob Hailey, senior associate vice president, university services, spoke of auxiliaries, campus culture, and politics as well as the need to create a leadership vision. Bob Brown, vice president of finance and administration at Texas A&M University – Commerce, shared breaking news in higher education as well as guidelines for making informed financial decisions. Ray Jensen, vice president-western region, Enterprise Solutions Group, challenged the group to make the most of their relationships and offered insights into becoming an entrepreneur. Melissa Moore, director of communications at Georgia Tech, offered her insights on project management and how to maintain momentum. And finally, Ron Campbell, CASP returned for an encore performance and shared his thoughts on contract management cycles.

But the highlight of the program had to be this year’s case study: the development of a campus one-card for Notre Dame. It could not have come at a better time, as the university recently repositioned its Campus Card Office to be a one-stop enterprise. As part of the case study, participants were divided into groups and asked to develop this initiative from the ground up by conducting research, analyzing data, and presenting recommendations related to the following areas:

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Group 1: Strategy, Scope, Programs, and Services (Strategic Plan, Mission, Vision, Programs)
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Group 2: Facilities, Equipment, and Staffing (Campus Footprint, Floor, and Org Chart)
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Group 3: Marketing and Communications (Recommendations, Plans, and Timelines)
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Group 4: Stored Value/Campus Tender Programs (Vendor Systems, Merchants, Financials)
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Group 5: Card Technology and Enterprise Systems (RFP for Card Type and System)

All five groups presented their topics and deliverables on the last day of the Institute.

Advanced Institute for Managers

The results of this study have been put into action by the university. Many of the recommendations and insights have been incorporated into a new strategic plan for the Campus Card Office. Additionally, an RFP was released this summer to replace the current card system.

“Thanks in large part to the great work of the AIM participants, the University of Notre Dame is well along in expanding its campus card program,” said Scott Kachmarik, director of auxiliary services and host of the event. “The AIM Institute provided a rich learning experience for everyone, and Notre Dame as an institution also benefitted from the ideas, experience, and expertise of our guests.”

Campus sponsors who contributed to the success of the Institute include Notre Dame Food Services franchisees au bon pain, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Subway. Other sponsors were the CBORD Group, ColorID, and Einstein Bros Bagels, as well as Notre Dame partners, Follett Higher Education Group, and Centerplate.


Julie Ahlgren
Julie Ahlgren, editor of College Services magazine, serves the association community through her role as a content strategist at Naylor Association Solutions. Ahlgren graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a specialization in online media and design. She started her career with Naylor in 2007 and began partnering with NACAS on its communications and publications in 2009. Outside of work, Ahlgren enjoys traveling to new destinations and using her journalism skills to record her experiences through writing and photography.

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