HATMA Works to Gain New Members

 

Currently, 10 to 15 students attend the Hospitality and Tourism Management Association’s monthly meetings, a statistic that RMU’S HATMA chapter president, senior Pamela Isoldi, hopes to change this semester.

Double majoring in business and hospitality, Isoldi and HATMA’s faculty advisor Dr. Ersem Karadag, who is an RMU associate professor of hospitality and tourism management, understand that many factors contribute to the lack of student participation.

The time of the meetings, which is 11:45 a.m. in the private area of the Nicholson Food Court, is one key reason for poor attendance.

“Meetings have always been at odd times of the day; students can’t get to them,” stated Isoldi. “If we do it later at night, it’s very hard to find a place for us to get into because there are so many organizations on this campus.”

Another issue Isoldi mentioned is the overwhelming amount of clubs and organizations that students can join. While she thinks it is a “great thing” to have so many available, she believes it could have a negative effect on the funds those clubs and organizations receive from the Student Government Association (SGA) in the future.

Lastly, Karadag cited the leadership within the organization itself as a reason for the decrease.

“Depending on the leadership, sometimes we have more and sometimes we have less members participating in meetings,” he said. “Two years ago we had a very good president. She was active, she had many activities, and motivated students to participate in meetings to do something for the organization.”

Through Student Life email blasts and flyers and word of mouth, the club has already seen its numbers climb from a mere five members to its current 10 to 15 members.

The group has neither a Facebook page nor Twitter account to connect and recruit members.

“I really don’t think social media can be very effective. With clubs it needs to be a little bit more personal than a Facebook page,” explained Isoldi.

Karadag agrees that being present at the meetings and communicating in-person is what makes this organization effective.

“. . . [I]n order to participate in this kind of meeting, it will enhance your leadership ability and skills in hospitality and even management positions,” stated Karadag. “It gives them an approach to increased leadership skills.”

Since being brought to campus in 1996, HATMA has offered students insight into the business and hospitality fields through its monthly meetings as well as planned trips to national conventions.

Just two years ago, Karadag explained that the group attended the International Hotel, Motel, and Restaurant Show, held in New York City each November. This convention gave students a first-hand look at some hotels in Manhattan.

As for future plans of the group, Isoldi hopes to organize some sort of community service project. She is looking into possibly volunteering at a local nursing home or soup kitchen.

“[It’s a] great way to help out the community and learn from different parts of that industry,” she stated.

HATMA’s next meeting will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 11:45 a.m. in the private area of the Nicholson Center Food Court.

If you are interested in becoming part of this business and hospitality focused student organization, please contact Isoldi at [email protected]