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Ask An Expert: UNLV’s New Hospitality Hall Welcomes New Students for a New Era

UNLV Hallby Calanit Atia

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Harrah College of Hospitality has opened its new state-of-the-art academic building, Hospitality Hall. With the reputation for being one of the best hospitality schools in the world, this building is expected to add to the continued success of its students and alumni.

As a proud alumna of UNLV Harrah College of Hospitality, I am personally excited about the new Hospitality Hall. I moved from Israel to attend the best school in the world and I loved every minute of it. I am only envious that this new building was not built when I was attending UNLV.

In my opinion, this new building inspires success, team building, and motivates students to excel. The atmosphere of a boutique hotel inspired Hospitality Hall. According to principal architect Michael Del Gatto of Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto Architecture, the 93,500-sq.ft. Hospitality Hall was designed “for the industry, by the industry,”

Hospitality Hall features sweeping views of the Las Vegas Strip and serves as a bridge to the hospitality and gaming industry. With combined classroom, laboratory, and meeting space; the design encourages interaction and a sense of community among students, faculty, and industry professionals. A dramatic wooden staircase, seen passing through the amber-tinted entrance, serves as the focal element that draws visitors in to lounge in the lobby; the advising and career service centers. Situated on the first floor is the college’s student concierge desk, coffee shop, and a golf store. The classrooms/labs on subsequent floors also double as ballrooms.

UNLV Professors with Calanit
Calanit Atia with UNLV Professors John Stefanelli, Ellis Norman, Al Izzolo and Vince Eade

“The purpose of this building,” explains Stowe Shoemaker, Ph. D., Dean, William F. Harrah College, UNLV, was that “we wanted to create a space that mimics the kind of space that our students will be working in when they graduate. Hospitality is all about creating great experiences. It is about having lots of places where people can interact with each other with a lot of vibe and things happen. We wanted to make sure that hospitality students really understand that hospitality industry is not a job—it’s a lifestyle. So if you come into the building, taking classes and there is all this excitement around, if you love that, you know you found your true passion.”

He adds, “The new building has 80 offices, 16 classrooms and four conference rooms.” As for future plans, he says, “We are going to create a Hotel Catering Company that will be used by our students to gain a lot of practical experience in running events and catering events.”

Professor Gail Sammons, Ph.D., explains, “The best thing about the flat classroom tables is that you can move them around to best suit the subject matter and classroom activity. You can set up for small groups, set up as U- or square-shaped instead of a straight line of six rows. Changing the way the seating of the classroom allows different types of teaching strategies depending on the faculty member and course.”

She adds, “We have so many nooks and crannies that students can sit in. The day classes started, every one of them was filled with students working together and already applying themselves.”

I am continually thrilled at the growth of my alma mater, the Harrah College of Hospitality, now in its 50th year. For more info, visit www.unlv.edu/hospitality/hospitalityhall.

Calanit Atia is the founder and president of A to Z Events and Trade Show Talent; she’s an award-winning event planner, a Las Vegas ambassador, social media maven, columnist, Air Force veteran and speaker. She can be contacted at Info@AtoZevents.com

This column originally appeared in the May/June issue of Exhibit City News, p. 22. For more pictures and original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/may-jun_ecn2018 

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