For Rosen College of Hospitality Management student Renea Anderson, president of Meeting Professionals International at UCF, planning corporate events is a dream job.
Whether it’s making sure VIP’s get to a corporate meeting alright or figuring out who to book as a speaker at a large corporate conference, she said hopes to do it all and that MPI at UCF, a club chapter for event management majors interested in corporate planning as a career, can help her do just that.
As a senior event management major at Rosen, Anderson is currently putting the finishing touches on a project she entered into competition a year ago at the World Education Congress in Salt Lake City, Utah. The project was called the International University Challenge.
“Going to the WEC last year was a great experience,” Anderson said. “It is basically the place to learn the latest and greatest in the meeting planning world from speaking to and hearing from leading industry officials.”
The WEC is an annual international event hosted by the national MPI chapter and an international exhibition called IMEX that brings together professionals in the meetings industry to discuss new ideas and innovative practices to enhance the field and the knowledge of those within in it.
Anderson will go to Germany in May to present the project, where she was asked to create a mock layout and plan for a ficticious tradeshow put on by a hypothetical organization. If she wins, she could join four other Rosen students in Vancouver, Canada, this July at the 2010 WEC and present to the entire conference, which will include the four Rosen students who already received a scholarship from the conference to go.
“It’s a great place to network and really see the different niche areas of the profession that can’t be covered that much in a college curriculum,” Anderson said. “I hope I get to go again and meet up with my fellow MPI members.”
Anderson applied for and received a scholarship to go to the WEC last year, where she not only got to got attend the WEC, but a special forum within the WEC called the Future Leaders Forum, a two-day mini-conference designed to give one-on-one training to 30 college students in the event management and hospitality fields in the U.S. and Canada to nurture the leadership potential in selected individuals.
The scholarship opportunity she received last year is the same one Kaitlyn Pearson, George Kong, Leslie Shrader and Danielle Letendre received this year. They too will be among the 30 students who get to participate in the Future Leaders Forum at the WEC. The FLF will take place on July 24 and 25, but the WEC continues on until the 27.
All four applicants who applied for the scholarship received one. Anderson was not eligible for the scholarship again because she had already received it the previous year.
There is no specific amount for the scholarship because it includes attendance into both the FLF and WEC, plus airfare and accommodations, which is where prices can vary.
Anderson said requirements for the scholarship were an essay explaining why you want to go or how it will benefit you, GPA standing, letters of recommendation, description of future plans and a resume.
Danielle Letendre, senior event management major and vice president of MPI at UCF, said she can’t wait to go and bring back everything she learned to use for herself and for other students.
“What I hear from Renea is that it’s a lot of learning,” she said. “You get to see all sides of the industry from working with vendors and suppliers to production to seeing the big picture of putting these large-scale corporate events on. I want to focus on a leadership role in this industry for me now as student vice president for UCF’s chapter of MPI and for my future in this industry.”
Leslie Shrader, treasurer of MPI and senior event management and finance double-major, said she’s excited to learn more about the industry and represent UCF, more specifically Rosen, because next year the WEC is being held in Orlando.
“We are all really excited to go learn the latest information on the ins and outs of the industry and to build up Rosen’s reputation and network in order to prepare for next year when the WEC is in our own backyard,” she said.
Letendre said having four students selected to participate in the FLF means that Rosen will be well represented at the conference because other colleges usually only have one or two members representing their college.
If Anderson’s project wins in Germany this May, Rosen will also get a lot more international recognition as well for having one of its students win the competition.
For George Kong, former president of MPI and senior event management major at Rosen, the free trip to Vancouver and seeing the sights of this past Winter Olympics is definitely reason enough to attend the conference, but that the chance to get out of the classroom and learn some things Rosen can’t offer him isn’t too shabby of a reason either.
“It’s all about building momentum for next year though because Orlando is our town,” he said.
By: Carmen Carroquino
Carmen Carroquino is a UCF journalism student.