Have you been wondering what I want for Christmas? Well, sure you have. Here it is. I want every single person in the hospitality industry to “pay it forward” to the next generation of hospitality professionals. Seriously.
It is so sad to see a promising student whose parents can’t (or won’t) pay their tuition. Or who can’t afford the books (which at $80-150 per class are a ridiculous expense!). I admire the students who work 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. And frankly, I think they should all work and get experience in the hospitality industry while they are in school but there IS a law of diminishing returns that kicks in somewhere around the third job.
So consider contributing to a school in your town–or anywhere–that offers a hospitality program. And if you represent a company, consider having the company make a significant gift. If you are an individual, consider offering enough for a book scholarship, or enough to pay for one class, or anything you can that can be put together with other contributions to help a student.
And if you aren’t in a place where you can contribute financially, consider contributing in another way. Be a mentor. Be a guest speaker (even by Skype!). Allow students to volunteer at your conference/meeting/event/hotel/etc. As a professor, I can tell a student something 13 times and it doesn’t sink in. But YOU? You as an industry professional can say it once or better yet, show them, and it becomes golden wisdom.
So won’t you please consider (here-at-year-end-when-there-are-tax-benefits) making a contribution to students who want to be like you when you grow up? Here’s a sample “Giving” page (random, of course). All university websites have them. And you can specify where your gift should go.
Carpe paying it forward.