For more than 250 guests, it was all about sips and samples during A Taste of Hilton College, held Oct. 16 at the Hilton University of Houston. This first ever student-run event featured food and beverage delights from more than 30 of Houston’s favorite establishments, many owned and operated by Hilton College alumni. Held in celebration of Texas Wine Month, the event also featured samples from the state’s most acclaimed vineyards. Leftover food was donated to Second Servings.
A Taste of Hilton College came to light two years ago as the brainchild of Instructional Assistant Professor Alexis Jamieson. She envisioned a fun, casual and affordable tasting event for scholarship endowments while showcasing businesses owned by alumni and friends of the College. It would be run completely by students and teach them teamwork, leadership, problem solving, adaptability, networking and professional relationship management in the process of planning the event. The goal was also to have students improve their skills in professional business communications, project management and sponsorship solicitation. But, Hurricane Harvey had other plans and last year’s event was postponed to this October to coincide with the College’s Industry Think Tanks, which are also student produced.
The event’s student leadership team, led by General Manager Emma Sinclair, included Piper Gammons, Sunhae Lee, Jihee Shim, Ryan Stephenson, Sammie Theige, Tuan Truong and Elaine Vo. This team also executed the seamless, two-day flow of Think Tank sessions on Oct. 16-17. More than 100 faculty, staff, alumni and industry partners attended 25 industry sessions as moderators, panelists and supportive members of the audience. Topics included everything from hospitality sales and food truck culture, to travel trends and how to maximize restaurant revenue through menu layout and design. Company information sessions, led by recruiters here for the Fall Career Fair the following day, were also among the featured sessions.
“The service was so smooth that many volunteers, exhibitors and guests said it seemed like this tasting had been going on for years – we had so many positive comments. The amount of engagement and information at the Think Tanks was also amazing,” Jamieson said. “The anticipation had been building up for a long time and once the day finally arrived, everyone was so happy yet exhausted. It was truly a labor of love.”
Jamieson, who is moving to Scotland at the end of the semester, said A Taste of Hilton College is an experience that she will always cherish.
“Of all the things I do, I will miss working with the students the most,” she said. “They get better and better every year and they work so hard. Hilton College students are special – I admire them, and I hope to have the pleasure of working with them again in some capacity in the future.”
Cheers to our student managers, their tireless faculty advisor, dozens of student volunteers, Dr. Chris Taylor and the “woman behind the curtain,” Donna Shaw in the Dean’s office. And a huge “thank you” to all of our tasting partners, alumni and friends who helped make A Taste of Hilton College and this year’s Industry Think Tanks a phenomenal success!
For photos from the event, visit the College’s Facebook page.
(Story & Photo: Pearl Cajoles)
Posted on Oct. 26, 2018