With the launch of seven American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) pilot school chapters since last fall, there has been widespread interest from schools across the country. To encourage the formation of additional chapters, an AH&LA officer or executive staff member will visit any school that becomes an official chapter prior to Sept. 30 (meeting all requirements and hosting their first meeting with appointed board members) for either the Fall or Spring semester, as well as the existing chapters.
Conceived as the winning idea of an Under 30 Gateway contest in 2008, pilot chapters include San Diego State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of New Orleans, Florida International University, Penn State University, Johnson & Wales University, and the University of Central Florida. Ten other schools are in various planning stages of launching chapters.
“As a result of the chapters, student memberships have increased by almost 50 percent over the past year,” said AH&LA President/CEO Joe McInerney. “In light of the amazing response we’ve received, we’ve set a goal to have 20 chapters in place by this time next year.”
Notable student chapter accomplishments include:
- Four schools attended the AH&LA Legislative Action Summit, representing 17 students and three faculty, as featured in Lodging.
- SDSU held a mixer in January hosted by AH&LA Vice Chair John Campbell, general manager of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, with more than 100 hoteliers and students.
- Johnson & Wales student chapter is coordinating the marketing for IHMRS.
Future efforts include engaging the Under 30 Gateway as mentors/advisors, creating programming at November’s IHMRS, and assembling all chapter presidents for a networking and idea exchange.