GBCC Hospitality Club Students Attend National Conference in Las Vegas

03/20/2015 by Lisa Proulx

PORTSMOUTH -On March 9th, students from Great Bay Community College’s Hospitality program attended the Catersource & Event Solutions Conference in Las Vegas, a four day event that attracts over 7000 attendees annually.  During the event, they stayed at the world renown Venetian Hotel,  attended seminars on the latest trends and developments in both catering and event planning, met with professionals in the field at Caesar’s Hotel,  toured the Bellagio, Paris, and MGM hotels and had the opportunity to network at the convention tradeshow held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  “The majority of our students are already working in hospitality or have or are planning internships in the surrounding area” said Hospitality Department Chair, Dawn Comito.  “Through this trip, it has been great to expose them not only to one of the top destinations in lodging and entertainment, but also to opportunities within the industry outside the New England area.” 

To pay for airfare, hotel, transfers and the cost of the conference, students coordinated several fundraising activities throughout the year.  Raffles were held for tickets to Celtics and Bruins games and a free deluxe massage package donated by Portsmouth Spa. Campus bake sales and coffee bars also helped to generate funds.   In addition, the group volunteered to assist Seacoast United Way with their Purses for a Purpose fundraising event at The Sheraton Harborside Hotel.  At the end of the event, they were presented with a $250 donation from the United Way to help fund the trip.  “The students not only learned how to be creative when it came to fundraising” said Comito “they also learned how to negotiate and secure sponsorships by developing mutually beneficial community partnerships.” 

This is the third trip for the College’s Hospitality club.  In 2013, they attended the National Restaurant Association Expo in Chicago, and in 2012 participated in “Cruise 360” in Florida, a conference hosted by Cruise-line International Association.  Throughout the program this year, students have attended field trips to the Wentworth by the Sea Hotel, have had access to top chefs and restaurant owners and participated in events including the Portsmouth Eats Tour and Portsmouth Tourism Summit.  “The program is very hands-on” said Comito, and we are very fortunate that Portsmouth and the Seacoast area hospitality arena offers such an expanded campus for our students.”

The Hospitality Management Program at Great Bay offers an Associate Degree in Hospitality Management with two concentration options to choose from. In addition to the existing Direct Career program, a new University Transfer option is now available for students to seamlessly transfer to UNH or another four year institution. In addition to the degree, Certificate Programs are offered in specific areas of specialization including hotel and restaurant management, spa management and event and meeting planning.