Georgian hospitality students work with Muskoka-area resorts to learn about sustainability
Dec. 20, 2022
Georgian College introduced a new course this fall where students in Hospitality – Hotel and Resort Operations Management worked with three Muskoka-area resorts to address sustainability in the hospitality sector.
The course, Sustainable Hotel and Resort Operations, focuses on the United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals and was developed for several reasons said Steven Hilborn, a professor in Georgian’s Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation programs.
Students worked with local resorts
For the past 14 weeks, 143 third-semester students worked on developing a Sustainability Action Plan Report with three local resorts – Muskoka Beer Spa, Grand Tappattoo Resort and the Sherwood Inn.
The students also worked with Green Step Solutions – a green certification based in British Columbia who provided oversight and context, and Regional Tourism Organization 12 (Explorer’s Edge) who provided funding. They have a new mission statement to help ensure sustainable activity within their tourism area.
During the course students learned about the UN sustainability goals, the three pillars (economics, environment and social) and ways to apply them in real-world scenarios. After spending the first half of the semester in the classroom, they went out to the resorts and conducted their own sustainability audits. This included staying at the resort, eating in their restaurants, touring the resort and meeting with management.
Students finished the semester by presenting their final reports to the partner resorts. In addition to learning about the importance of sustainability, they also learned the importance of motivation noting that the best recommendations were the ones that could be easily implemented, did not impact the customer’s experience negatively, helped the environment and local area, and saved the business money.
Rie Asada, an international student from Japan, said he learned that we need to be better for our environment, our guests and also for our employees.
The course will be offered again next fall and students will work with three different resorts.
Interested in participating next year?
If you’re a resort operator looking to participate, reach out to Steven Hilborn.