Community-Engaged Student and Alumni Activities and Research

By: Dr. Jie Gao, Dr. Yinghua Huang, Dr. Faranak Memarzadeh and Dr. Jooyeon Ha

HTEM Community-Engaged Teaching Practices

The Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management (HTEM) has been using community engaged teaching practices to enhance students’ learning in hospitality, tourism and event management. In Spring 2021, students in HSPM 130 (Events Production) and HSPM 140 (Meeting, Convention and Event Industry) engage in planning and producing two major virtual events to apply their learning into practice: (1) Spring 2021 HTEM Graduation Celebration Virtual Event and (2) Learning in Events Virtual Showcase, an exhibit to showcase learning in event management curriculum. With the leadership of student Event Directors, Esther Roldan Cervantes and Jordan Partida formed two student groups for both events, built their core team organizational structure, created a proposal and timeline, set up regular team meetings, and have progressed well on the events. Jordan extended the showcase invitations to HSPM 86 (Special Events Management) and HSPM 142 (Tradeshow Management), and her event team has created a website to promote the event across the campus. In addition, students in HSPM 175 (Entrepreneurship in Hospitality) teamed up with students in Jordan through the Global Solution program, which is a virtual exchange initiative supporting workforce development in the U.S., Iraq, and   Jordan. The program improves global citizenship, strengthens problem-solving skills, and develops enduring connections while enhancing students’ job skills through online collaboration. Senior students in HSPM 177 (Hospitality Service Management) and HSPM 184 (Directed Reading) also participated in Castell@College Panel Session with many executives, who talked about hospitality careers and leadership, their real-life experiences, work-life balance, opportunities and obstacles. Given the practical needs of the industry, these community-engaged teaching practices are of great value to HTEM students who can learn by participating in hands-on opportunities.

Connecting Alumni with HTEM Students

The HTEM department was proud of holding the first Alumni Career Panel and Workshop in February by inviting five alumni with diverse backgrounds and working experiences, who were Mika Barrett (What If Syndicate Restaurant Group), Katalina Beltran (Comtel Systems Technology), Brea Carrillo (Owner, Events by Brea), Melissa Leong (Apple), Sarah Welker (Salesforce). The workshop aims were (1) to provide career advice to current students, (2) to connect HTEM alumni with students, and (3) engage alumni into higher education in HTEM. The workshop generated many career tips from the alumni panel, including adapting to changes in the industry, using the versatile hospitality skillset, being creative in response to COVID-19, thinking outside the box, professionalism and networking. Participants enjoyed learning about alumni’s stories, experiences and active interactions:

“It was very informative and helpful. Everything went smoothly. I enjoyed so much the event. The breakout rooms particularly helped narrow down everyone’s interest.”

Collaborative Research on Community Food Security

Dr. Yinghua Huang collaborates with Dr. Wencen Wu (College of Engineering) and a local food rescue organization on a collaborative research of developing a blockchain-based intelligence system to improve community food security, which was funded by the 2020-2021 SJSU Multidisciplinary RSCA Stimulus Grant. Dr. Huang’s team has developed and published a blockchain-based mobile app in Apple App Store and Google Play that enables food-related stakeholders (e.g., donors, rescue organizations, assistance agencies) to share data, secure food safety, and track food delivery. Hunger at Home, a food rescue organization, has used the app for food rescue operations since this March. Other food donors (e.g., restaurants, farms) and assistance agencies (e.g., food pantries, homeless shelters) can submit food requests, schedule food delivery time, access food order information, and track food rescue logistics in real-time. The app is Helping Hunger at Home and its partners to improve traceability, transparency, food safety, and logistic efficiency for serving people in need.

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