Dogs to hit the catwalk with help of Penn State SHM students

Jennifer Miller
November 06, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When furry friends are dolled up for a dog fashion show inside the State College Veterans of Foreign Wars post, it will be more than a few hours of canine and family fun.

The event will be the culmination of 15 weeks of planning by Penn State School of Hospitality Management students enrolled in Advanced Meetings and Events, HM 485, who planned the zero-budget event to raise awareness and funds for the Animal Aid and Rescue Foundation of Pennsylvania (AARF PA).

During the course, students collaborate with a local organization to plan, promote, implement and evaluate a special event. Through the process, the emerging young professionals gain valuable hands-on event-planning experience.

“This class will prepare me for my future career because it is providing me with the building blocks for becoming an event planner,” said Katherine Kauffman, student and president of the Penn State Meetings and Events Club. “In this field, you learn through hands-on experience. This opportunity is a great beginner-level experience. I also think that it will be a great experience to speak to future employers about. I think this is something that will help us to stand apart from the crowd while applying for jobs.”

Students work around a table

Students enrolled in Advanced Meetings and Events spend 15 weeks planning a fundraising event for a nonprofit organization on a zero-budget basis. 

IMAGE: Kevin Sliman

Instructor Jackie Golas understands the importance of Penn State students entering the workforce with real-world experience.

“The hands-on experience gives students tools they will utilize in their future career, like organization and time management skills, managing volunteer staff, budgeting, sponsorship, marketing and promotion, and meeting management technology,” Golas said. “The class applies a high-pressure scenario where the students work in small teams of five, a short time frame (less than 15 weeks) to plan and execute such an event, and working on a zero budget. Once the students successfully execute the event it gives them the confidence that they can do it as a profession.”

"Through this course, I’ve been able to become more involved, since we are planning an event on a zero-based budget, and see all of the major and minor aspects that go into planning an event," said Madison Cry, a student in the course. "This course will help with my career plans because my dream job is to be an event coordinator for a professional sports team, and I wouldn’t even know how to go about planning an event if I hadn’t taken this course."

Students’ work will come to fruition at “Strike a Paws,” a dog fashion show beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6, at the State College VFW banquet hall, located at 139 N. Barnard St. The event is a family-friendly and dog-friendly event.

In addition to the fashion show, there will be an opportunity for photos with Santa Claus, caricature artists, raffle prizes, and the opportunity to learn about AARF PA, a new organization.

General admission tickets are $5 and fashion show contestant tickets are $10, which includes admission for one pet owner and one dog participating in the fashion show. Participants may register the day of the event or in advance online.

AARF provides financial assistance to help offset spay and neuter costs and extraordinary medical expenses for individuals and animal shelters in central Pennsylvania.

“As an organization that is less than one year old, we are so grateful that this group of Penn State students has selected our organization as the beneficiary of their event planning project,” said Deidre Yingling, president of AARF PA. “It has been a great experience to work with the students. They have done everything necessary to put together a great event in an incredibly short amount of time. They considered our suggestions and planned the event with our values and mission in mind. It has been a pleasure working with them.” 

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 06, 2015