Public Affairs, The California State University

From Surf Tourism to Wine Management, the CSU Teaches the Business of Hospitality

By Stephanie Thara

Granting nearly 95 percent of hospitality management degrees in California, the CSU is a vital contributor to the state’s hospitality industry. The CSU has approximately 4,000 undergraduates majoring in hospitality-related fields, including everything from travel and lodging to casino management and corporate event planning.

Sonoma State Wine Business InstituteCampuses specialize in different niches of the hospitality industry, which gives students a unique set of skills to help set them apart from their industry peers. At San Diego State, students can learn about the social, cultural and environmental impacts of surf tourism through the Center for Surf Research. SDSU also houses a Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming and recently started offering a Professional Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer. Sonoma State’s Wine Business Institute was the first in the United States to offer an undergraduate degree, an MBA and an Executive MBA focused exclusively on the business aspects of the wine industry. Cal State Fullerton blends together the business sides of entertainment and tourism to give students a comprehensive education in media-based and tourism-focused/ground-based entertainment through its Entertainment and Tourism Management program.

In an effort to meet California’s demand for skilled hospitality professionals, the CSU has collaborated with industry leaders to create the Hospitality Management Education Initiative (HMEI). HMEI has 14 participating campuses and gives students the opportunity to meet industry leaders and gain hands-on experiences through job shadowing, speaker series, internships/work study and “adopt-a-campus” programs where HMEI board members serve as mentors to colleges that specialize in their respective industries.

HMEI Student Outreach On December 4, the CSU Hospitality Industry and Advisory Board and CSU hospitality management program leaders met at the CSU Chancellor’s Office to detail HMEI program updates. Throughout the year, HMEI has strengthened its efforts to expose middle and high school students to the hospitality industry by conducting hands-on workshops and demonstrations at various CSU outreach events.

Additionally, the institute is focusing on producing research in the hospitality field, sharing important hospitality program information with legislators through advocacy and re-structuring their outreach events to reach CSU-bound community college students. In March 2014, the HMEI will host its first annual CSU Northern California Hospitality Career Expo where hospitality students and alumni will be able to network with recruiters.

The meeting also reflected on the state of the hospitality industry, highlighted the changing needs of the consumer market and discussed ways to streamline career opportunities for students. It wrapped up with a panel where students from CSU Northridge, Pomona, Long Beach and Fullerton had the opportunity to ask industry leaders of the HMEI advisory board questions about how to succeed in the various fields of hospitality.