Behind the scenes of second annual Hospitality Day

By Alex Balletto – 1851 Staff 


Lasell College held its second annual Hospitality Day on March 2. The event was planned by students for students. The day was plentiful with students connecting with real world professionals, educating themselves on the various branches of the industry.

“Hospitality Day is about making a choice to do more, meet more, learn more, and be more. We want students to discover the endless opportunities that can come from the value of education and networking,” said head coordinator, senior Deirdre Duddy-Kennedy.

Hospitality Day was coordinated by Duddy-Kennedy, an event management student, senior Briana Penney, public relations student, sophomores Alexandra Hoffman, and Lauren DiGiandomenico, each event management students.

The day started off with a keynote address from David Giblin, Vice President of Sales at Marriott International Inc. Next came an alumni panel discussion, featuring Shannon Pasco (2015 graduate), Amy Sleeper, Jillian Riches, and Eric Default (all 2013 graduates) . Subsequent to lunch, there was a career and internship fair with nearly 40 professional booths, quite a jump from last year, where there was 17 booths.

Professor Melissa Varao presents the alumni panel, featuring graduates of 2015 and 2013. Photo by Rosemary Leger

“Two years later this event is bigger and better than I ever imagined it to be,” said Duddy-Kennedy.

At the close of the event, students had the chance to network during an hours-d’oeuvre reception.

In her sophomore year, Duddy-Kennedy had a dream of something like Hospitality Day; she felt as if event management was heavily based on skill, experience and networking. She traveled abroad her junior year, but recruited Penney, and her advisor Melissa Varao who both coordinated the event with her halfway around the globe.

Senior Deirdre Duddy-Kennedy after a second successful year planning Hospitality Day. Photo by Rosemary Leger

The need for the event was a no brainer to Duddy-Kennedy. However, the planning of the day is not as easy as coming up with the idea. The work and efforts of over a year are for a seven hour event.

“The devil is in the details and the planning process is never ending, however the reward is always worth it,” said Duddy-Kennedy.

Hospitality Day opened many doors for students either majoring or minoring in hospitality, event management, and resort and casino management.

Sophomores Hoffman, DiGiandomenico, and Madison Garside will take over Hospitality Day planning once Duddy-Kennedy and Penney graduate this May. Duddy-Kennedy has no worries leaving Hospitality Day in their hands. Her favorite part about the new coordinators is that they are so proud of the event, exemplifying it in their enthusiasm.

To Duddy-Kennedy, Hospitality Day is the most rewarding, emotional, fulfilling and incredible experience of her undergraduate career.

“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together,” she said.

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