Hospitality senior's effort to revive campus

Culture Editor Giuliana Denicolo contributed to the reporting and writing of this article. 

On a late Saturday afternoon, the Robinson Quad filled up with people, booths, food and bright colors to “bring the fun back to campus.”

Hospitality majors were tasked with to creating, organizing and executing a glow run for their senior capstone project. Project Lead of Operations Paris Burton and Lead of Guest Services Breanna Swift worked together to organize everything as hospitality seniors for hospitality director and professor Amy Dorey’s class.

“The students were highly dedicated to the overall goal of the project that they set up as a group in our second week of class to help bring the fun back to campus,” Dorey said.

Swift described planning the glow run as “one of the biggest learning accomplishments” she has ever received at Ferris.  The process took many hours of networking with industry professionals, presenting the idea to the Student Activity Fund Allocation Committee board, budgeting and working with Excel, according to Swift. However, in the end, it bettered her and her classmate’s skills.

“Before this semester, I was an avid event planner. Now, with the help of professor Amy Dorey and my other colleagues on this event team, I feel beyond confident that I have the skills to excel in this event industry,” Swift said.

To Burton, their team was small but mighty. Though Dorey guided them throughout the process, the students ensured their independence. This strengthened Burton’s confidence in her skills as an event planner.

“From securing funds through a SAFAC board meeting, to working closely with [Department of Public Safety] chief [Abe] Haroon to ensure safety for the students as well as working alongside Nick Campau and Jennie Strange to tie together some of the moving parts in the planning process, I have been able to confidently develop skills that I will implement in my professional career,” Burton said.

Students and members of the community take-off under the balloon arches at the ‘80s themed color run. Photo by: Jordan Wilson| Torch Photographer

Before the run began, students registered for the race. They had the chance to explore other tables, see the raffle prizes and enjoy the snacks and brightly colored accessories. Across the Quad, students were glowing in brightly colored clothing, glow sticks, bracelets and paint.

Kicking off with an ice cream social, runners then coated themselves in neon-colored paint to prepare for the competition. Students, faculty, staff and community members battled to see who would be the first to cross the finish line after circling campus. The participants were encouraged to decorate themselves with brightly colored glow sticks and accessories to fit the theme.

Medical laboratory science junior Adrianna Arce walked the long race. As she used to hike a lot, she figured this would be a fun event for her to attend. It ended up exceeding her expectations with the fun activities that were offered.

The hospitality class decided that they wanted to “create the level of engagement that has been difficult to accomplish since the pandemic” before they graduate.

“We wanted to bring the fun back to campus,” Swift said. “Our professor is a big fan of the ‘80’s. We said, ‘Let’s get some exercise. A race? ‘80’s? Ice cream? That’s the best of all worlds.’”

When racers returned from their lap around the entirety of campus, they were cheered on by hospitality students and Frutus, the pineapple mascot. As their semester-long project successfully came to a close, Burton felt that the experience had been “bittersweet” and “surreal.”

“I have learned so much throughout the entirety of this process, and I am forever grateful for the experience that not only this event, but my classmates and Amy Dorey have given me,” Burton said.

Students weren’t the only ones pleased with the outcome, either. Dorey felt overjoyed with the success of the event. She is excited to see her students become leaders in the event industry.

“This project is an illustration of everything Ferris stands for: opportunity, innovation and collaboration driven by hands-on, student-centric learning,” Dorey said. “This has been an incredibly cohesive team with one of the most diverse, established skill sets in event management I have had in a single classroom in all my years of teaching. So watching the event unfold successfully was a career highlight for me.”

At the end of the night, the top three winners of the race were announced and awarded a trophy for first, second and third place, which was donated by the welding program. Dorey, Swift and Burton felt they had a strong attendance for the day’s events. While no future glow run has been confirmed, the trio hopes that another office or class picks up the event to carry on the fun and camaraderie of this year’s event.