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      Learning from Disney

      Hospitality Management Students Learn from the Happiest Place on Earth

      Carlie Sisco, English and creative writing, '19

      students at disney

      Hospitality Management

      Two faculty members accompanied 20 hospitality management students to Disney World to participate in the Disney Youth Education Series College Edition Program.

      During fall break, the Widener University Center for Hospitality Management's National Association for Catering and Events and American Hotel and Lodging Association teamed up with the Disney Youth Education Series College Edition Program for the first time for a three-day workshop opportunity at the happiest place on earth.

      Associate Professor Dr. Jeffrey Lolli and Assistant Professor of the Practice Lisa Reed-Logue accompanied 20 hospitality management students to Disney World to participate in Techniques in Teamwork, in which students participated in activities to practice building consensus, communication, and "strategies for developing and maintaining high-performance teams."

      Students also attended the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival where they had the opportunity to taste foods from different countries and cultures.

      "Disney is the leader of how to operate a business," Reed-Logue said. "To learn from cast members on how to be effective leaders and how to work together as a team, there's no better tangible experience to give our students than that. They're learning from the best of the best."

      The Center for Hospitality Management believes experiential learning is crucial to the program, something Reed-Logue emphasizes as connecting theory to practice.

      "We, as professors, will teach you concepts, theories, tell you how things are, but when you see them applied, it helps the student make that connection. That's true for all majors," Reed-Logue said.

      Anish Sharan, a sophomore hospitality management major, reinforces the belief that academic experiences such as this one enrich students' knowledge and are the best learning device in the hospitality industry.

      "We learn a great amount through our regular courses," Sharan said. "But having that experiential learning gives us that unique confidence that reading from a textbook does not."

      Though this is the first time the National Association for Catering and Events and American Hotel and Lodging Association have partnered with the Disney Youth Education Series, the organizations are actively attending conferences and networking events to allow students an opportunity to apply their knowledge outside of the classroom, as well as gain exposure to industry professionals.

      Katie Rabuck, a senior hospitality management major with an event management minor, said, "When people hear hospitality management, their minds goes right to hotels or restaurants. These experiences show students that there are so many other options available."


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