Eighteen hospitality and tourism students will experience the wonders of Italian cuisine and culture firsthand during a seven-city tour of northern Italy, March 23 through April 1.
The trip was made possible by the Statler Foundation, which provided a $33,000 grant to finance the majority of the travel costs.
“Without this gift from the Statler Foundation, many of the students would not be able to afford this opportunity,” said Rebecca Dowsey, lecturer and interim chair of the Hospitality and Tourism Department. “It’s tremendous.”
Dowsey and Kathleen O’Brien, director of Campus House, will accompany the students on the study-intensive trip that also earns them three credits as part of Dowsey’s cultural tourism course. The value of such a rich travel experience, of course, extends far beyond what can immediately be measured.
“This trip will help students understand the international component of the hospitality and tourism field,” said Dowsey. “Many of our students could end up working in different countries. Experiencing a different culture firsthand will not only transform their lives, but also will increase their career opportunities worldwide.”
Called the “Taste of Italy,” the trip will focus primarily on cuisine, but will also include visits to the cultural attractions that make Italy such a vibrant travel destination. This marks the first time the Hospitality and Tourism Department has offered a study abroad opportunity.
“This gift is very important to the program,” said Susanne Bair, vice president for institutional advancement. “Having the students travel abroad is tied to Buffalo State’s mission and goals.”
This grant is just one example of the Statler Foundation’s generosity toward the hospitality and tourism program.
In 2012, Statler added Buffalo State to the impressive list of universities that provide a $20,000 competitive scholarship to a hospitality and tourism student based on academic standing and financial need. Additionally, Statler recently gave Buffalo State $500,000 to revamp its hospitality laboratory as part of the renovations to Caudell Hall.
The Hospitality and Tourism Department is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration, a specialized accrediting body supported through the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education.
The department will hold its annual Ambassador Awards ceremony April 17 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, followed by a reception at Campus House. Statler Foundation Trustee Ernestine Green, among three award recipients, will be recognized for her support to the program and to Buffalo State at the ceremony.