Students studying event and convention management at Stephens this week had the opportunity to do hands-on work for a convention taking place in St. Louis next month.
Students were charged with assembling name tags for the Veterinary Cancer Society’s upcoming conference. That might sound simple, but it was critically important, said Sandi Strother, executive director of the society. Each tag had to include the correct information, tickets, labels and other identifying information for every one of the hundreds of attendees and speakers coming from around the globe.
Hands-on experience is a cornerstone of the Event and Convention Management program at Stephens. Throughout the year, students have a chance to tour area hotels, work with professional planners and help plan on-campus events.
But the work leading up to an event is as important as the actual event, and attention to detail is a necessary skill set, Assistant Professor Cindy Hazelrigg said. That’s why classroom experiences such as creating name tag packets are so important.
“One mismatched name, room location or time can ruin an entire conference,” she said. “Even if you catch the mistake in time, it can create large amounts of overtime. I pose these situations to students and ask them how they would handle those types of challenges, but avoiding problems in the first place is ideal. Event planning is all about paying attention to minuscule but vital details.”
Event, meeting and convention planning is growing much faster than the average career, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s because these are well-paying, fast-paced and rewarding careers with lots of opportunities and lots of demand. Stephens launched the three-year degree program last fall in response to that market demand.
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