Hospitality and tourism management golf outing to raise scholarship funds
Students at Grand Valley State University understand the struggle that is paying tuition.
To help its students financially, the hospitality and tourism management (HTM) department is hosting a golf outing Monday, June 5, at Quail Ridge Golf Club to raise funds for departmental scholarships.
“The Pineapple Open is the annual fundraising golf outing to raise money for hospitality scholarships,” said Dianna Stampfler, executive director of Kent County Hospitality Association (KCHA). “It is presented by the Kent County Hospitality Association and Grand Valley State University’s hospitality department.”
KCHA is a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to providing hospitality-related businesses an opportunity to meet in a professional setting with a common interest to serve the industry and community, all while furthering the overall tourism landscape of the region.
“A golf outing is an easy and fun way to raise money for the scholarships, and it allows us to connect with another key area of our hospitality industry,” Stampfler said. “Students at GVSU also assist in various stages of the outing, which gives them hands-on experience in event planning and allows them the opportunity to connect with industry leaders.”
Moreover, networking between established professionals in the field is encouraged at the outing.
“For sponsors and participating businesses, it’s a chance to network with hoteliers and restaurateurs in a relaxed atmosphere,” Stampfler said. “It’s widely known that the golf course is a prime spot to engage in business.”
Kristen Jack, assistant HTM professor at GVSU, thinks the golf outing serves to benefit donors, not just students.
“It's worthwhile for the donors because they are not only giving back to those coming behind them, but it's great advertising for their organization and a chance to network with other professionals," she said.
Jack also said golf would be a fun way to unite different people in the industry.
“Golf is a fun way to bring people together," she said. "Not only do we raise money, but we bring people from all segments of the hospitality industry out to get together outside of a work setting to laugh, have fun and give back. We do games throughout the golf course, fun team pictures and a big cookout at the end with music.”
The scholarships from the golf outing go to undergraduate students who are making a name for themselves in the department.
“We give scholarships to students who do unpaid internships and outstanding leaders within our student organizations,” Jack said. “We have great relationships with our students and our industry partners. Raising scholarship money is a great way to incentivize students to participate in things going on within the department and the industry as a whole.”
Stampfler said support for the local hospitality communities has an impact on the tourism industry statewide.
“Tourism is Michigan’s number three industry, providing an economic impact of about $30 billion, and KCHA has an active role to market and promote travel to the greater Grand Rapids area,” Stampfler said. “Nearly everyone in the state is a tourist here at some point, so supporting this industry helps in a way to support the overall Pure Michigan tourism experience.”