One of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals' (HFTP's) priorities as an organization is to support students who are working towards higher degrees within the industry. While any full-time hospitality student can sign up for free association membership, several student members are also invited annually to volunteer behind the scenes at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) in North America.
The HITEC Student Volunteer Program provides students the opportunity to pitch in while gaining access to an unforgettable experience: in exchange for assisting HFTP staff throughout the conference, they are provided with a complimentary full conference registration and housing accommodations. For the student volunteers, the program is a significant chance to network and learn from the brightest minds in the industry without the price tag of conference registration. In exchange, HFTP's on-site staffers get a little extra help making this massive, carefully orchestrated event into a successful reality.
In June, this year's HITEC North America drew 6,073 individuals from all over the globe to the Minneapolis Convention Center for four days of networking, innovative technology and professional education. On-site staff members had their work cut out for them in order to keep everything running smoothly.
This year, several student chapters were selected to send members to the event. In total, there were 20 student volunteers, representing nine universities and four countries. Participants came from the student chapters affiliated with the University of Houston, New York University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Niagara College, the Rochester Institute of Technology, San Jose State University, the University of South Florida at Sarasota, the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
Chief Research and Development Officer of HFTP and Executive Director of the HFTP Foundation, Lucinda Hart, CAE, MBA, who has managed the program for several years, thanked and congratulated this year's volunteers for their hard work: "HFTP is grateful to our student volunteers for their enthusiastic contributions to another successful HITEC. Each detail of this event is the product of teamwork and foresight, and without the help of these dedicated student volunteers, this year's HITEC North America would not have been possible."
After the lights go down and the last exhibit is dismantled, most student volunteers join the thousands of people setting out from Minneapolis on their journeys home — hopefully to get some well-deserved rest. Even though this HITEC is a wrap, HFTP is always working to provide this and other resources to support students. Stakeholders who want to help these and other future leaders of the hospitality industry are encouraged to contribute to the HFTP General Scholarship Fund.
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