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Hospitality College in California Hosted "Welcome BBQ" as Its First Big In-Person Campus Event Since COVID

The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona, one of the largest hospitality colleges on the West Coast, hosted a long overdue in-person event on campus on August 30. As a tradition, the College usually hosts a Welcome Barbeque in the first few weeks of the academic year to welcome hospitality students back to school. 


In the past two years, most in-person campus events in the State of California have been put on hold due to strict social distancing guidelines. The Collins College brought back its proud tradition with a Habit Burger food truck and a Kona Ice truck (shave ice).


The Turnout


Over 300 hospitality students showed up at the cookout. They greeted and met with the faculty, staff, and administrators. They also got a chance to talk to different student clubs in the college and took part in some fun activities onside (e.g., photo booth, swag, door prizes, etc.) 


The Feedback


The event was a great success. A survey was sent out to collect participants’ feedback. Close to 50 participants responded (approximately a 15% response rate), suggesting 83% of them enjoyed the BBQ a lot, followed by 17% who felt somewhat enjoyable. Nobody chose “not-at-all” enjoyed. 


People enjoyed the Welcome BBQ because …


Predominantly but not surprisingly, students wanted to connect with others at in-person events. After two years of Zoom classes and Zoom events, it seems people genuinely value the opportunity of networking and getting to meet others in person. Selected comments include: 


“I enjoyed the people I got to meet there.”

“I met some people who were nice.”

“Meeting some of the Collins staff for the first time.”

“Meeting new people and making connections!”

“I was able to network with the Collins professors and students.”

“I loved the cute bronco pin, and I was glad that the professors and administrators were out there so we could talk to them.”

“I got to talk to someone new and make a friend.”


The food, the activities, and student clubs are other reasons why people enjoyed the experience. Some shared: 


“The food. Overall, the different activities included food, shaved ice, clubs, raffles, pictures, and music. Also, I think that the timing of the event was great.”

“I really enjoyed trying a Habit Burger for the first time!”

“The student clubs, free burger & fries, meeting new students!”

“I was able to meet new people and learn about clubs for hospitality students.”

“Billy being there for photos was fun.” 


It was so lovely to see many happy faces on campus. Hospitality management is a fun major. People at Cal Poly Pomona always love to visit the Collins College of Hospitality Management and participate in Collins events. For many alums, the Collins College is where they started their American dreams. I can’t wait to learn more about how these students are doing in the program and, later, how they do in their careers through hospitality education.

Note: This article was also published in Hospitality News Magazine


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