Campus Celeb: Anthony Meshnick, Dwight Mills, and Jake Audorff

At this point in the school year, fantasizing about spring break travels is inevitable.  Unfortunately, it can be hard to find an inexpensive vacation- especially as a college student.  Luckily, Anthony Meshnick, Dwight Mills, and Jake Audorff, three students from UW-Eau Claire have started their own spring break business.  Catering directly to the UW-Eau Claire and UW-Madison student body, they offer an affordable 5-day, 4-night trip to South Padre Island, Texas with everything included!  These business majors have planned everything down to the last detail, including transportation, hotel accommodations, and a breakfast buffet every morning!

1.How did you come up with the idea to create a business centered around making an affordable spring break trip for college students?

After talking about spring break plans with my roommates (Dwight Mills and Jake Audorff) we decided a trip to South Padre Island would be the best plan (PCB has outlawed alcohol on their beaches).  We originally planned to just drive ourselves down, but that’s when it came to us; wouldn’t it be 100x more fun to go down with a bunch of fellow students?  Nothing could compare to partying on the beach with the same people that you party with in your college town.  So that’s when we started looking into the logistics of sending 250 college students down to South Padre Island, TX and that’s how Spring Break Adventures LLC was born.

2. This is the first year that this trip has been available.  Do you think you’ll offer this trip again next year?

Yes, we are definitely planning on doing the trip for at least one more year.  We are looking forward to being able to make the trip an even better experience in the future based off of feedback we receive from this year.  After that, who knows what will happen?  Myself and my roommate, Dwight, will both be graduating, and we don’t know where that will take us yet.

3. How did you go about/was it difficult collaborating with hotels, bus companies, etc. to finalize details and prices?

I contacted about 15 different coach bus companies and 10 different hotels in the process of finding the best deal while still maintaining a high level of quality. Kobussen won the bid, which is outstanding for us because they have the newest fleet of coach buses in Wisconsin, and all of their buses are equipped with free wifi.  It will definitely be more comfortable and relaxing than driving down in a car.  The hotels were a little trickier to negotiate with and get all the details worked out but we were able to do it.  Both of the hotels we are staying in are beachfront and directly facing the ocean.  The Hilton Garden Inn is ranked the 2nd best hotel out of 33 on South Padre Island according to TripAdvisor, so it will definitely be a classy place to stay for spring break!

4. Is it hard being a student and running a business at the same time?

Anthony: It’s definitely a little difficult to manage everything all at once.  Especially now that we are almost to the end of the semester.  I am in the National Guard too so I have to balance my military, school, and business obligations.  However, I think it’s been a great experience and all 3 of those things build off of each other and contribute to the success of the others.

Jake: Yeah it’s hard.  Especially when homework and exams seem to pile up all at once but we have to go hand out flyers or go promote the trip in some way.

Dwight: I’d say the hardest part for me is to try to balance them evenly.  It’s definitely easy to just get really excited about the trip and keep working on it and not focus on school as much.

5. Describe what happens when someone books a trip through your website.

When you book your trip you’ll first be prompted to fill out some information such as your name, email address, location you are leaving from, t-shirt size, and emergency contact information.  You’ll also be asked to fill out the names of the people you will want to room with on the trip.  If you don’t know who you want to room with yet or are still figuring it out, that’s ok!  You can sign up and then email us that information later at [email protected].  You and all of your roommates will need to sign up individually! After you fill out that information you will be directed to PayPal to pay for your trip and you’ll receive a receipt via email.  We will periodically send emails with trip details and updates to everyone that has signed up.

6. You’re all in the College of Business at UW-Eau Claire.  After this experience, can you see yourselves running a company someday?

Yes, I think we can all see ourselves running a business someday after this experience.  Whether that will be together or individually, we aren’t sure yet.  One things for sure though, this trip has been a great hands-on and real life experience to go with our business studies.

7. How do you each contribute to the success of this business?

Anthony: I handled the hotel and bus company bookings and also did the majority of website planning and development.

Jake: I’m kind of the guy that has ideas bounced off me before they go through and I give my input.  I also help with handing out the flyers and just spreading the trip with word of mouth.

Dwight: As a marketing major I help with the development of flyers and other materials and help distribute them.

Spring break is just around the corner!  Check out their website for more information!