The University of South Carolina’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management has launched a program designed to open doors for young people in South Carolina.
The college is bringing high school and middle school students from all over the state to campus for day-long visits focused on demonstrating career paths in the tourism and hospitality industry. Students from Abbeville County schools visited on Monday, February 20.
Tourism is the main driver of South Carolina’s economy, accounting for about 10 percent of jobs in the state and an estimated annual impact of $29 billion. The day camps, funded by a grant from the Statler Foundation, allow students to hear firsthand from USC faculty about potential opportunities in the industry.
“Some of these students never even considered some of the opportunities we’re telling them about,” said Scott Smith, assistant professor and graduate program director in USC’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “We hope to see some of them return as Gamecocks in the future.”
The students had a chance to meet faculty members, participate in team-building activities, and tour the Graduate Hotel near campus. They also gained some hands-on experience in the culinary side of the industry while making their own delicious stir-fry lunch in the college’s the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Culinary Laboratory, with help from HRSM faculty. Thanks to funding from the Statler Foundation, each student also received a Gamecocks shoulder bag and other souvenirs.
Students from R. H Fulmer Middle School in West Columbia were the first participants in the program, and College of HRSM leaders are arranging visits for other schools and districts.
USC’s tourism and hospitality management program is one of the best in the country, ranked No. 1 in the SEC and in the top 10 nationwide.
The Statler Foundation is a private organization which supports students and programs in the hotel/hospitality industry.
For more information, visit sc.edu/hrsm.