Written by PRISM Communication Team Member Erica Wiles
I’ve been preparing for my trip to Africa for over a year. Countless meetings and information sessions, emails and Facebook groups, I’ve been through a lot of preparation in order to be ready for our two week trip. I was lucky enough to visit two countries on my trip to Africa, both Kenya and Rwanda. Spending time in two completely different cultures has changed my outlook and personal philosophies and I’ve gained a new appreciation for the simple things in life.
In Kenya it was actually rewarding to get a cold shower. I learned as soon as I got off the plane in Mombasa that there’s no avoiding the constant heat and sweatiness and when I could take a shower I was in pure bliss. I also learned that mosquito nets are a necessary evil but when you’re dealing with fist sized spiders that you’ll find daily in your room, it’s comforting to know you have a net that’ll come between you and giant bugs. In Rwanda I learned about the privilege of electricity and how handy it is since the sun sets around 6:30pm. I also spent a few days planting different crops in Rwanda and I have a new found appreciation for how difficult it is to cultivate land and spend hours planting things just so that in a few months something will come out if it. Numerous blisters and picking up cow manure with our bare hands taught me a lot and made me realize the extent people go through to sustain a living.
I learned a lot by just spending two weeks in Africa and the people I met and bonds I made will always stay with me. I was able to teach children English at a school and learn how grateful they were to own one pencil. I was mentored by two scholarship students in Rwanda and they were so appreciative of their education that I felt so honored to know that I can attend a university without any doubts that I won’t be able to afford it one year. I also learned the importance of water and how vital it is to the people in Africa. Many people spend their entire day walking a few miles with a multi liter container to get water for their entire family. I mostly learned that life in Africa is extremely simple but at the same time, with the little belongings many people own, they are happier than many people I know now with multiple material possessions. If I took anything away from my trip it is to look at everything I have and be thankful. There are people in the world with so little and somehow they manage to be so happy with everything they have
Written by PRISM Communication team member Mia Fudesco
The Club Managers Association of America is preparing Hokies in hospitality for their future. The student organization strives to familiarize its members with the basic concepts and practices of club management. In order to become a club manager at any point, a certain amount of class credits is required. These classes aren’t given at college campuses so most people complete this process after graduation. The classes are also pretty pricey considering the income of a newly-graduated college student. CMAA helps students begin to take credits while they are still in college. There are fifty dollar yearly dues to help cover the price of the classes but that’s a small price compared to what classes cost after graduation. The club hosts a biannual dinner for the HTM advisory board. The board consists of careered hospitality people ranging from professors to representatives for hotels. They graciously contribute money to the HTM department and are responsible for making executive decisions. CMAA has front of the house in the fall and back of the house in the spring. For those unfamiliar with these terms, they basically mean serving food, making the menu, deciding the theme, etc. The event gives students hands-on experience for working in hospitality and a great opportunity for networking. CMAA regularly makes professional visits to country clubs, city clubs and winery tours. Managers often give them guided tours of the club and share the tricks of the trade. Moira Guzi, the co-president since Fall 2012, says being a part of CMAA has been a fulfilling experience. She wants to be a club manager but suggests that all HTM majors join CMAA because it helps students begin networking in the field and gives members an opportunity to see a side of HTM that not many students are aware of. CMAA is in the process of creating a Virginia Tech specific web page so if you have any questions or would like to become a member, contact Moira Guzi.