BHSU students, faculty and staff recently attended the 2013 S.D. Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Pierre. Pictured left to right front row, Abby Bies, Kari Rogers, Kellie Dejong, Dorothy Collins-Aurand and Barbara Zwetzig, director of the Center for Business, Entrepreneurship & Tourism.  Back row, Carmen Moschell, Josh Thurmes, Sheila Aaker, special assistant to Academic Affairs, and Ignatius Cahyanto, assistant professor of tourism and hospitality.

A group of Black Hills State University students and faculty recently attended the 2013 S.D. Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Pierre.

More than 600 people attended the annual event that promotes tourism throughout the state as well as reveals upcoming plans for marketing and networking in the industry.  Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto, tourism and hospitality management assistant professor, attended the conference with Barb Zwetzig, director of the center for business, entrepreneurship, and tourism service, and Sheila Aaker, special assistant to academic affairs, along with six BHSU tourism students.

“These conferences are good experience for students as they are an eye opener for how the industry works. I encourage them to network with businesses for future jobs. I hope to bring more students in the future,” said Dr. Cahyanto.

The tourism conference allows students to engage with professionals while getting hands-on experience in the field and receive contacts for possible future employment or internships. All tourism and hospitality students are encouraged to attend as it is beneficial to their education and their careers, Cahyanto said

“The conference was an amazing experience. It gave us students a chance to see what is going on in the tourism industry, and also gave us a chance to connect with people who will be able to help us along the way,” said Kari Rogers, tourism and hospitality management major from Agar.  “I had already decided the area of tourism I wanted to go into, but the conference gave me a chance to talk to people already in that area to find out what challenges I might face along the way. I would highly recommend for all students to attend the conference if they get the chance,”

With BHSU being the only state university offering a tourism program, the conference provides an important opportunity for students and faculty to promote the unique course. BHSU sponsored a booth and luncheon table to encourage business through tourism. Several keynote speakers presented during the conference covering materials such as communication leadership, sales, customer relationship practices, and ways to differentiate travel businesses from the rest. The conference ended with an Award Night Gala featuring special guest, Gov. Dennis Daugaard and First Lady Linda Daugaard.