by Terence Baker | January 01, 2007

Jack VoorheesI saved on cost by letting the chef create some new menus around our budget.

Jack Voorhees is director of educational programs and services at the Bloomington, Ind.-based nonprofit Association of College Unions International (www.acui.org), founded in 1914. Voorhees has held the post since 2005.

What is the ACUI about? Our core purpose is to be the leader in advancing community-building programs on university campuses. Our members are students as well as college-union and student-activities professionals, and we now have some 4,000 individual members in 800 institutions. Professionals expand their horizons and education by attending seminars and institute programs, while students concentrate on developing skills in programs such as leadership and hate-crime prevention.

What do you do at the association? I am the meeting planner for our annual conference. I started at the ACUI planning leisure-oriented student programs, such as bowling, billiards, table tennis, clay targets, etc., but when our associate executive director resigned, I began filling his responsibilities, which included organizing professional development programs.

Can you tell us about a recent adventure in planning? I asked the Kansas City Marriott Downtown if it would be willing to prepare four entrees in a “tasting style” dinner. The chef presented each entree, and we rated the dishes as they do on TV’s Iron Chef. Thankfully, the chef thought it was a charming idea. I saved on cost by letting the chef create some new menus around our budget. It also helped develop my partnership with hotel staff.