BHSU students get first-hand experience at SD Tourism Conference

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, February 5, 2015/Categories: 2015



   

   

   

       

           

       

       

           

           Black Hills State University students attended the 2015 South Dakota Governor&rsquos Conference on Tourism Jan. 20-22 in Pierre. Pictured back row, from left are, Chihiro Oseki, business administration-tourism major from Nagaoka (Japan) Maria Mraz, business administration-management major from Dupree Dr. Jeff Wehrung, assistant professor of management at BHSU Jim Hagen, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism Jamie Wilhelm, business administration-tourism major from Hot Springs and Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto, assistant professor of tourism and hospitality at BHSU. Front row, from left, Jenna Fairfield, tourism and hospitality management major from Rapid City Calla Nelson, business administration-tourism major from Lead Annette Loveday, business administration-tourism major from Douglas Morgan Chavez, business administration major from Gillette, Wyo. Logan Miller, business administration-tourism major from Chester South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and Max Bergstrom from Sturgis.

            

            

       

   



Black Hills State University students got a behind-the-scenes look at the state tourism conference.

Five BHSU tourism and hospitality management majors volunteered during the 2015 South Dakota Governor&rsquos Tourism Conference, an annual event that brings in keynote speakers, distributors and professionals in the tourism industry. Four other students attended the conference, networking and learning from the guest speakers and industry professionals in attendance. This is the second year BHSU students volunteered at the conference.

Students who attended the conference include:

&middot Maria Mraz, business administration-management major from Dupree

&middot Morgan Chavez, business administration major from Gillette, Wyo.

&middot Calla Nelson, business administration-tourism major from Lead

&middot Annette Loveday, business administration-tourism major from Douglas

&middot Logan Miller, business administration-tourism major from Chester

&middot Chihiro Oseki, business administration-tourism major from Nagaoka (Japan)

&middot Jamie Wilhelm, business administration-tourism major from Hot Springs

&middot Jenna Fairfield, tourism and hospitality management major from Rapid City

&middot Max Bergstrom from Sturgis

Mraz, Chavez, Nelson, Loveday and Miller served as student volunteers for the conference. Their duties included general setup and clean up, handing out papers and assisting keynote speakers.

"They get a good behind-the-scenes look at how a large event is put on and pulled off," said Eileen Bertsch, Industry Relations Representative with the South Dakota Department of Tourism. "They can see how important details are in making an event flow with few problems."

The two-day conference draws more than 600 attendees, and students were able to play a role in the event running successfully. This is the third year Mraz has attended the state tourism conference, both as a volunteer and attendee. Mraz said the conference has proven to be invaluable to her education.

"This experience has helped me grow as a professional in training in the hospitality and tourism field," Mraz said. "Getting that hands-on experience gives students a whole new outlook on what it takes to complete various projects within the business world. You can plan and organize on paper, but that never prepares you for the real deal."

Bertsch said the students have done excellent work the past two conferences and has been approached by professionals who are interested in learning more about the students and their plans upon graduating.

"It makes them, as young professionals and students, and their university look good," she said.

Cahyanto said it&rsquos involvement in big events like the state&rsquos tourism conference that help provide a name for the BHSU tourism program. He added that he strives to provide quality, community involvement for the students to help them gain the experience necessary to enter the professional tourism industry.

"We want to work with the community and build the impact our program has on the community," Cahyanto said. "We want to focus our projects on helping others. That&rsquos how we showcase our work and create a name for the BHSU tourism program."

Recently, Cahyanto had a group of students develop a comprehensive plan to boost tourism in Hill City. This semester students are working with Belle Joli Winery in Sturgis and will help judge the ProStart contest in Mitchell, a high school culinary contest where students are judged on their skills and business management knowledge.

"Our goal is to showcase the program in a strategic way," Cahyanto said.
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