Each year, the Hospitality Program of Ferris State University hosts a fundraising gala to support scholarships, equipment, site visits, conferences, and student involvement in professional organizations. It is a night filled with music, dance, silent auction, and an exquisite dinner planned by students of the Hospitality Programs under the guidance of the core faculty of the Programs. There may also be wine... yes... definitely lots of wine.
As a freshman in college, I first became involved by volunteering on the Silent Auction committee as a night-of worker for the "Night in Nashville" themed event, selling raffle tickets, distributing item bid sheets, collecting bid sheets... you get the idea. Despite rumors of a dull night of work and no pay, I loved it. So much that the following semester as a sophomore, I applied to be on the executive planning committee for "Cuisines of the World," and
being the only applicant,
won the bid for Silent Auction Chairperson. As a junior, I tackled the position of Financial Chairperson to track the profit and loss of the overall gala process, while helping the silent auction committee and marketing chairperson for "Venetian Masquerade." And as a senior, I had the privilege to run the executive planning board of "Havana Nights" with two very dear friends of mine, as the Chief Financial Officer, keeping everyone in budget and leading the group through one of the most successful Galas in the almost 20 year history, raising over $20,000 for the Hospitality Programs.
|Gala 2006: Venetian Masquerade|
Me as Financial Chairman, Devin as GM
|Gala 2007: Havana Nights|
Me as CFO, Erica as Special Services Manager, Joe as COO
|Gala 2008: Big Band|
Erica as COO, Me as a guest
|Gala 2009: World Fair|
"The Group" with GA
Throughout this four year journey, I developed several relationships with fellow students that became my best of friends, and still are. The three core professors of the Programs have also become very close friends. Everyone in "the group" had held an important role in Gala during their college careers. Long story short (too late), the Ferris Hospitality Gala has been a very large part of our lives, and we continue to support it today.
|Gala 2010: A Night with Willie Wonka|
"The Group" mid-Gala
Each year, we try to provide something unique to each other within the confines of our group
of elitist narcissists
. Whether simply a lunch beforehand (Peppers Deli), opening a bottle of wine that has meaning to all of us (The Black Chook) or making t-shirts with a phrase only we would understand (our college motto: "Someday, you'll pay to sleep with us...,") or my personal addition last year, Project Button, which I will detail in a later blog.
|Gala 2010: A Night with Willie Wonka|
"The Group" nearing the end of Gala
|JW Marriott Grand Rapids|
So, now with that long back story out of the way (if you're still reading), we are stoked to attend the 2011 Gala, celebrating the 20th year of this endeavor, and to top it off, it is being held at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, the epic hotel in which I had the privilege to be a part of the opening team. As it is the 20th year, the theme is coined as the "Year of the Alumni," celebrating the success of the past 20 Galas, and the accomplishments of the people who made them possible. The hopes are to raise a very large endowment for which the Programs can build a stronger base for scholarships and other funds. We can't wait to once again support FSU Hospitality, and to see each other, our dearest friends; and being "home" is such a privilege... we can't wait to behold the thrill of the JW Experience. And while there may not be any mention of wine in this post (as it is a wine blog), I guarantee you, with much assurance, that there will be plenty of wine consumed throughout the evening.
MORE CHAPTERS TO COME ON "THE ROAD TO 20," STAY TUNED...
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