Southern students soon will test their hotel management skills in a global competition with their peers from Germany, Belgium, China and Turkey.
The 10 students will compete from Feb. 2 to 6 in a virtual, Internet-based simulation game called the “Emerald Forest Global Competition” at Karlshochschule International University in Karlruhe, Germany. The event models the management of a hotel business and is designed to develop entrepreneurial collaboration and communication skills, according to Jan Jones, associate professor of recreation and leisure studies. Jones is organizing the trip and will accompany the students, who are recreation and leisure studies majors with a concentration in tourism, hospitality and event management.
“Our students are actually the first Americans ever to participate in the Emerald Forest competition,” she said. “It’s very exciting and I’m confident this will be a rewarding experience for them. Besides honing their skills, they will have an opportunity to network with their peers from several countries.”
The participants will be divided among 10 teams, and the format requires the students to interact and cooperate with those from other countries. The event is conducted in English.
The teams will seek to maximize profits for the hotel by developing a business/operational strategy that includes the generation of press releases and promotional materials; advertising; preparation of a trade fair; analysis of their competition; and development of responses to crises. Jones has been selected to coach one of the teams. The Southern group includes eight undergraduate and two graduate students.
Jones says she was invited by a German professor who she met at a program in Portugal last year to participate as a coach.
“This opportunity is really a dream come true for me,” she adds. “I have always wanted to take my students abroad for an educational experience.”
The students attending are: Kristen Leigh, Lorette O’Connor, Jessee Keirsread, Eric Larson, Brendan Donovan, Julianne Prusinski, Brianne Horn, Valerie Kaoud, Kaitlyn Wetzel, and Jessica Teixeira.