By: Valentina Palm/Staff Writer
For the first time in their five years of partnership, the University hosted Royal Caribbean Day Tuesday, March 26 at the Biscayne Bay Campus.
Activities included tours of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Production Studio, a networking event with FIU alumni who are now working for RCCL, a Resume Fest and classroom speakers.
38 students and 8 faculty toured the Production Studio. Additionally, 46students participated in the Resume Fest, where RCCL employers reviewed their resumes and the hallway networking was led by 4 FIU alumni.
Royal Caribbean Day was held three months after PantherNow reported on the underdevelopment of the partnership between FIU and RCCL.
Caryn Lavernia, assistant vice president of the University’s Engagement Office explained the purpose of the event was to promote the partnership and the summer internships RCCL offers University students.
“One of the big points of today is to make sure that students understand that we have a partnership with RCCL and that there are opportunities available,” said Lavernia.
The event was organized in collaboration with the School of Hospitality who had three RCCL employees speak at their senior seminar course.
“I wish they would’ve had these type of events when I was here,” said Rebecca Noble, a University alumna who interned with RCCL and is now working for the corporation. “It’s definitely something I would’ve taken advantage of when I was a student here.”
Noble believes her internship in RCCL where she participated in their projects gave her real-world experience instead of “busy-work” other corporations delegate to their interns.
Royal Caribbean Day was held in order to increase brand awareness and strengthen student engagement with the corporation, said Chip Turrisi RCCL partnership liaison.
“We talked about making sure students know what the studio is because most students seemed like they weren’t familiar with what it is or why it’s there what it looks like,” said Turrisi.
Student unfamiliarity with the studio is expectable since in the crystal, blue doors of the production studio are locked and a note in the entrance signals RCCL cast members and staff must have their RCCL ID to enter the facility.
Student access is limited to requestable tours of the facility and 4 annual master classes offered to CARTA students.
Lavernia explained the event is an effort to continue the growth of the 40-year partnership and increase students participation.
“I think the awareness piece is really the critical piece,” said Lavernia. “These opportunities have existed for a long time but students didn’t generally know too much about them. So I think the point is communicating these opportunities.”
Turrisi explained the daily event part of RCCL’s effort to hire local university talent.
“FIU is extremely diverse, like a very diverse student population and they have every major so there’s a whole diverse in either background of students and the programs they have,” said Turrisi. “The volume is massive and we hire a big amount of students so it’s a win-win to be focusing in our backyard, FIU.”
Despite not having additional events or initiatives in the making, Turrisi is optimistic about improvements to the components in the Memorandum Of Understanding agreed on by both entities.
“I think we are doing well, we are hitting a lot of that MOU and beyond the MOU, for the partnership, I think events like this help build the brand and get students more excited and more opportunity to meet with us,” said Turissi.
Currently both entities are working on “improving systems” and the RCCL investment of $120,000 for annual joint research, an undeveloped component of the agreement.
Photos by Valentina Palm/PantherNOW