AMHERST, Mass. – Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was presented the David H. Lord Award for Exemplary Community Services at the National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS) annual conference held Oct. 9-12 in Indianapolis.
One of the major awards given by the association, the prize was created in 2012 to recognize auxiliary services leaders who are making a difference across college campuses by focusing on building community on and off campus. Toong was recognized for his ability to build strong connections, meaningful relationships and a powerful sense of community at UMass Amherst.
NACAS cited Toong’s leadership in supporting the New England regional food system, including working with a network of more than 80 local and regional farmers and value-added suppliers. Each year over $1 million is spent in Massachusetts supporting local farmers, while more than $ 4.3 million is spent on local/regional and sustainable food products.
Other examples of Toong’s community involvement include:
- Founding and co-chairing the UMass Dash and Dine, an annual 5K run/walk hosted by UMass Dining Services with net proceeds donated to the Amherst Survival Center.
- Partnering with the Craig’s Door shelter to ensure any leftover food from the dining commons is used to feed those that are hungry and in need.
- Supporting many registered student organizations through mentorship and cost deferment of their events and projects.
- Guest lecturing nationally and on campus focusing on the multiple aspects of running an efficient auxiliary enterprises operation while supporting the local economy.
In accepting the honor, Toong said, “It’s all about building relationships and supporting community in order to better serve this great university.”