Get Involved, It's Important!

I am, and have always been, an involved student. I describe myself as a busy body. However, this year I decided that I wanted to be more involved in my major by joining clubs and associations that had to do with my major. As a hospitality student, and really a student in any major, experience is incredibly important. The first club I joined was my schools Country Club Managers of America Association Chapter at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. CMAA seeks to network students with professionals in the field. We visit local clubs in the greater Pittsburgh area, run fundraising events to raise money for ourselves and different charities, as well as visit and participate in the different events the Pittsburgh CMAA Chapter holds.

Being a part of this organization has increased my understanding about an aspect of our industry. It has given me an opportunity to go behind the scenes of many clubs and the chance to experience things that are not offered to the general public, such as tours of the less glamorous parts of the facility that are not open to members but important for those who are looking to work in the industry to be aware of. One of the things that I enjoy most about getting to visit the different clubs in the different areas is seeing how each one of them has its different challenges and different demographics it seeks to appease. Some of the clubs we visit have older cliental, some have younger. One might be in an area that has a lower income that needs more marketing and more relaxed rules. Another club might not have the problem of a demographic that isn’t interested in investing in clubs, but might struggle with competing against other clubs. Being a part of this group has allowed me to see these different challenges I might not have been aware of.

(Photo by Olivia Grim)

Every time we go on a club visit, we meet new people, new general managers, and new potential employers. Our industry has a lot of turn over and with that comes a lot of job opportunity. The person you are shaking hands with may be your future boss or someone that could help you find your next employer. They also tend to be people we see at other CMAA events in the future. It is very possible that the General Manager whose club is 40 minutes outside of Pittsburgh may travel into one of the chapter events held in the city for the afternoon. It has also given me a greater connection with my peers. By having weekly meetings, planning events,  and traveling together to the different visits; I have been able to get to know people in my major I wouldn't have normally been able to or would have had the chance to talk to.

(Photo by Olivia Grim)

I have also had, through this experience, the opportunity to get to know the professors in my major better. They are our faculty advisors, thus they are very involved in our visits and helping us plan our different events. They also come with us on our trips and we are able to talk to them about different things they have encountered in their professional lives which is always very helpful. Also, when you know your professors on a more personal level, they are able to more effectively speak on your character when writing letters of recommendation but also when speaking of you to their peers.

If I had not made it a goal to become more involved in my major this year and had not joined CMAA, I would have missed out on all these wonderful opportunities. If you are someone who isn’t involved in at least one of your major’s organizations, find ways to get involved! Even if your college is small and there isn’t one to join...create one! Look at what other schools are doing. What is important to your major and to your future job? Nothing says “wow” on a resume more than being a leader or the founder of an organization.