University Club offers students employment experienceBy Katie Thurber | 06/27/2012 1:15am
Students interested in hotel and restaurant management can now get experience in everything from bartending to managing catered events through the College of Human and Environmental Sciences work with The University Club.
The club, which has a history that extends as far back as the mid-1800s, has served as a family home, a Tuscaloosa Service Center for soldier entertainment during World War II, a social center for University of Alabama faculty and a coed dormitory. In 1946, the University officially opened the building as the University Club.
Roy Maize, director of restaurant, hotel and meetings management, said CHES has been in charge of the club since April 1, and it has since been a great place for students to work.
“It’s a living, breathing organization where students can gain real-world experience but where we still have some control,” he said. “It’s a great way for students to get a feel for what’s going on.”
Maize said right now students have internship and employment opportunities, but in the future, the primary focus will be to integrate experience into the classroom.
“We hope to be able to use the club for labs and practicums with our classes, such as our catering class, where we could have the students cater events as part of their coursework,” he said.
Senior restaurant and hospitality management major Corey Brannon has been working at the University Club since May and said he’s always busy.
“I do pretty much everything,” he said. “I wait tables, I bartend, I manage catering events, I answer the phone – it’s been a great opportunity.”
Carice Parker, a junior restaurant, hotel and meetings management major, has also enjoyed her experience working at the University Club.
“Working here has been one of the best ways to learn customer service because that’s what I’m always doing here,” she said. “I know I’ve learned a lot already.”
Parker also said the benefits of working at the club don’t just apply to a specific type of student.
“There are so many opportunities to learn,” she said. “Different students can utilize the experience in so many different ways.”
Maize said the opportunities will not be limited to students within the college of HES.
“We want any student on campus to be able to work or intern at the University Club,” he said. “We’d love to have collaboration with dance and theatre students for special events and really make it a University-wide experience.”
Maize said the faculty and students involved in CHES and the club are looking forward to future plans.
“We’re really just at the beginning,” he said. “We’re excited for what we know we can do now.”