Morrisville State College students gain educational opportunities from nearby hotel

It was a chance for nine Morrisville State College students to check out the actual operations of a major hotel corporation.

John Felton took his Hotel Operations class away from their books to hold class at the Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton in Cazenovia for part of the semester.

The trip was an educational capstone for his students who are aiming at careers in the hospitality industry.

“It’s enhancing the educational experience for our students,” said Felton, assistant professor of hospitality. “They get to learn in a brand new, outstanding facility which is affiliated with Hilton, an industry leader.”

The 80-room, four-story franchise hotel with a 5,000-square-foot conference center, located just off of Route 20 in Cazenovia, opened in July 2016.

Part of students’ overall experience at the new hotel and conference center was getting to know four areas: front office, sales and marketing, housekeeping and general management.

“Seeing the different operations is a great experience,” said Joshua Wood, a travel and tourism student from New Jersey who is leaning toward a career in resort sales.

For others who haven’t decided on a career choice yet, it was a chance to consider options.

Young Goodyear, guest services agent from Cazenovia, was among the Hampton Inn employees showing students the ropes.

“I’m introducing them to everything we do at the front desk and discussing what a typical day is like,” she said.

General Manager Kathy Shue was talking to students about how to run a hotel, her specific role and how to communicate with employees.  That was critical information for travel and tourism student Anthony Davis of Cazenovia, who wants to manage a hotel or resort someday.

The experience was also a chance for Shue to learn more about MSC students. “They are potential members of our staff,” she said.

The new hotel is already familiar with MSC hospitality students. Two alumni are on board as full-time employees.

“Morrisville students have the basic knowledge and some of skills we look for,” Shue said. “They also come with energy and a dynamic work ethic.”

The hotel’s close proximity to campus is opening many doors for students. Last year, the two partnered for the college’s Harvest Dinner, an event which was hosted at the Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton in Cazenovia.

The dinner provided an experience for hospitality students to do a little bit of everything, including setting and waiting on tables and plating food.

“The industry is saying, we want graduates with hands-on experience and this is one way for them to get it,” Felton said about partnering with the Cazenovia hotel.

Working events also opens networking opportunities for students.

“There are many opportunities in the hospitality field that offer competitive salaries,” Felton said about the growing industry.

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