Georgian College Hospitality students put their classroom skills to practical use this spring, finding out just how much they’ve learned, and raising $7,700 for local charities at the same time.
Giving back to the community is just one of the benefits of a new final-year Applied Hospitality Management course for students in the Hospitality Administration – Hotel and Resort program at the Barrie Campus.
The new course, developed and taught by professors Michael Agema and Tammy Vaillancourt, is intended to give students a practical application of all they’ve learned in class in other courses during the program.
A total of 34 students worked as five teams, each of which planned, promoted and staged a special event, raising money for five different charities.
The events took place at The Last Class student lounge. They included
- Fired-Up Fashion Show that raised $2,739 for Camp Bucko (summer camp for children injured in fires)
- Spring Grad Ball that raised $1,515 for Easter Seals
- Wacky Tacky Tourist Night that brought in $1,229 for Gilda’s Club of Simcoe Muskoka
- Talent Night that raised $1,407 to purchase equipment for the Georgian Dining Room, a on-campus restaurant that serves as a learning lab for students
- Spring Fling that raised $800 for the cardiology department at Royal Victoria Hospital.
Students, including Veronica Hutchison, who worked on the Fired-Up Fashion Show, found the course to be a profound learning experience.
“Throughout my third year I started to second-guess if I had actually really learned anything in college, and wondered if I would have been better off just working in industry,” said Hutchison. “Last night proved I was so very wrong. This course will become something extraordinary – future students and their charities are going to benefit from it much more.”
Charities on the receiving end of the experience were thrilled with the students’ commitment and fundraising abilities.
“What your team has done is provide opportunities for three Easter Seal kids to participate in events this summer,” Easter Seals’ Charlene Myke told students. “Without you, this would not have happened.”
Susan Haiplik of Gilda’s Club said “What you did for Gilda’s Club was so incredibly generous. It not only raised much-needed funds to help us continue to offer our social and emotional help for all those touched by cancer, but it allowed our message to be spread throughout our community.”
Agema said he and Vaillancourt were also thrilled with the students’ success. Not only did they succeed in helping out the wider community, but they successfully put to work many intangible skills that will be valuable to them in their careers.
“This new course allows students to showcase the learning they have developed over the previous five semesters. A student might be able to write a theoretical paper on leadership, motivation or decision-making, but they had no way to demonstrate these skills in the workplace. What better way to live your learning than through implementing a live event.”