Hospitality and resort management majors received a lesson in philanthropy from the Holiday Inn this week when the hotel donated a room and funds to the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality.
The organization celebrated the opening of their $10,000 student lounge Wednesday. It is named Kemmons Corner in honor ofKemmons Wilson, the late founder of Holiday Inn.
Brittany Jones, senior hospi-tality resort management major, said funding for the lounge came from a joint contribution from InterContinental Hotels Group, Skal International and Metropolitan Memphis Hotel and Lodging Association.
"We have The University Center, but we needed somewhere on this side of campus because this is where we are most of the time," Jones said. "We're a small school to begin with, so this is just something extra. So we can hang out and get to know each other."
The room boasts a 50-inch television, a Nintendo Wii, a large, leather couch, a refrigerator, a dining area, artwork and smaller room accessories.
Leonard Jackson, assistant professor for the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management, said he stood behind the students because he observed their needs.
"In order to have a wholesome student experience, students need to socialize with their peers in their major," he said.
Jackson said it's important for students to have a professional environment to enjoy.
"I wanted it to be a place to socialize and do homework; I didn't want it to look like a frat house," he said.
David Leyva, senior hospitality and resort management major, said the comfort level of the room was important and playing games on the Wii system helps relieve stress for students who need a study break.
"I will definitely be sleeping on the couch whenever I can," said Leyva, who bragged that he planned to beat his classmates in a dance-off playing "Just Dance 2."
Glyn Vanderberg, senior hospitality and resort management major, created the sign that was hung outside the fully furnished lounge. She said the lounge helps commuter students who have nothing to do in between classes besides sit around.
"I had a three hour gap between classes with nowhere to go in past semesters. I think the hotel helped us out because we couldn't hang out in the lobby because it is a functioning hotel," she said. "Before, it was just thrown-away hotel couches in a room that we made into a little space for us."
The faculty was hands on in helping students design the lounge.
"Tom Johnson is the general manager of the hotel, but he moved furniture with us and helped us pick it out, which was really big for us," Vanderberg said.