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It’s not just talk, as students take event from idea to implementation

Professional Coffee & Conversation, a networking event for students in business and hospitality majors to connect with employers, was held April 14, thanks to a semester of planning and execution by their peers in the Event Management & Coordination class.

The students responsible for the event – Corey J. Blackwell, of Hammonton, N.J.; Andrew M. Snyder, of Whitehall; Jacob R. Wagner, of Palmyra; and Alicia M. Wyland, of Williamsport – are juniors in business administration: sport and event management.

The brains behind this year’s Professional Coffee & Conversation (from left): Andrew M. Snyder, Jacob R. Wagner, Alicia M. Wyland and Corey J. Blackwell. All four are majoring in business administration: sport & event management.
The brains behind this year’s Professional Coffee & Conversation (from left): Andrew M. Snyder, Jacob R. Wagner, Alicia M. Wyland and Corey J. Blackwell. All four are majoring in business administration: sport & event management.

They invited a variety of businesses who might employ business and hospitality students and graduates, and many were eager for the chance to meet prospective employees. Eight were part of a Q&A panel, during which students asked questions that ranged from the top skills they’re seeking to how to calm one’s nerves during the all-important job interview. Following a lively discussion, attendees were invited to enjoy refreshments and network.

“The event gives students a chance to get what they need – whether that’s more information about a company, an internship or the process of finding a job,” said Snyder, who moderated the panel discussion. Snyder’s other duties included marketing for the event, working with Todd Moore, student affairs marketing specialist, to get the message to students via posters, campuswide TV screens and social media.

Planning was a long process that began in January: “You have to email companies and wait – and hope and pray,” Blackwell said.

Those that attended were Ciocca Dealerships, Clark Associates, Community Arts Center, The Hartman Group, Hersheypark, Hollywood Casino, Horizon Federal Credit Union, Knoebels Amusement Resorts, Omni Resorts, Rusty Rail Brewing Co., Spooky Nook Sports and Williamsport Crosscutters.

“Even companies that couldn’t make it said ‘Keep us in mind,” said Wyland, who took charge of corporate relations for the team, making contact with companies and ensuring their needs were met.

Blackwell served as a liaison with departments across campus, including Career Services, The College Store (which provided gifts for attendees), Information Technology Services, and Public Relations & Marketing.

“This event shows us how to create an event, how to operate it and what goes into it,” he said.

“It gives you a chance to go behind the scenes of an event that you wouldn’t see normally,” Wyland added. “It gives us insight into operations and logistics.”

Wyland is completing an internship as an assistant coach for the track and field team at Williamsport Area High School, her alma mater.

Wagner, who completed an internship with In the Net, an athletics facility in Palmyra, handled food and facilities, including the layout of the Mountain Laurel Room in the Professional Development Center, where the event was held. Those duties also entailed handling the event budget.

“They’ve done everything from parking, signage, email contacts, marketing – from posters to the hanging of posters – to writing the scripts to now executing it,” said Tammy M. Rich, associate professor of business administration/management/event management.

Now that the event is over, they are responsible for follow-up: distributing surveys to students and businesses to hear what they liked, would like to see added and what can be improved upon, and writing handwritten thank you notes.

“In other classes, you learn about everything, but with this class, you’re actually getting hands-on and running an event,” said Snyder, who completed an internship with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, a Phillies Triple-A baseball team.

All four of the students are juniors in the major and hope to pursue careers in the sports industry.

– Photos by Jennifer A. Cline, writer/magazine editor

 

 

 

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