Decoding Event Inequality in MMC and BBC

eventThe start location of the scavenger hunt event held on Nov. 15 by the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management | Alba Rosa, PantherNOW

Alba Rosa | Assistant News Director

On Nov. 15, Vice Dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Diann Newman sat alone while the heavy rain droplets hit her window. She was disappointed that the scavenger hunt she hosted for international students received no turnout.

As part of International Education Week, the hospitality school at the Biscayne Bay Campus hosted the scavenger hunt for international students to meet staff and administration and understand their involvement with those who’ve come to FIU abroad. However, heavy rain hit the North Miami campus, which resulted in the cancellation of some classes and, as a result, fewer students. It was the only event they hosted for IEW.

On the other hand, the Modesto Maidique Campus held multiple events for the international student body, from organizing a dynamic Language Day at the Green Library and the Breezeway to a late-night international game held at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, which received a considerable attendance.

Newman stressed that the scavenger hunt she held was for them to understand the importance of creating relationships with “key players at FIU,” as they can make connections. The winner would receive a voucher for a free lunch for two at the FIU Bistro, the student-run restaurant at the hospitality school.

Aside from her disappointment, she still wanted international students to know that “if they need assistance, we’re happy to help.”

Ian Gonzalez, president of the Bartenders Guild and Puerto Rican native, was one of the people international students would have gotten to meet for the scavenger hunt. He was equally disappointed to find out the scavenger hunt received no turnout.

After learning about the hospitality field from his family in the food industry, he moved to South Florida to enroll in FIU’s hospitality program and work in the Bacardi Center of Excellence. Spending time with the international students at the university made him recognize that the communication barriers are there, but he says that understanding their mindset as he studies their cuisine is important.

Some students who study exclusively at BBC share the disappointment. Ivan Espinoza, a journalism student, calls the situation unfortunate. He understands that MMC is more of a convenient place to hold events, but the hour-long drive to the other campus or the commute using the “jam-packed” shuttle make it so barely any students attend to the other campus – unless they have to. 

“I find the campus quite beautiful,” he says. “It’s vibrant and has plenty of activities to do. But there just aren’t many students willing to make the drive, and it’s already difficult to find a seat on the bus.”

“Those factors make it so that attending events at BBC is more of a hassle than a rewarding experience.”

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