ITHACA, N.Y.—The student board of directors of the 82nd Annual Hotel Ezra Cornell (HEC) has announced the theme for next year’s student-run event. It is “Sustainability Through Innovation.” The event will be held at the Cornell Hotel School April 12-15.
The weekend will feature a delicate blend of education and leisure. Industry leaders attend HEC in order to mingle with students, learn cutting-edge business concepts, and enjoy a feast of culinary delights. What will make HEC 82 different than the 81 preceding HECs is the theme. It originated from the question: What must innovative hospitality organizations do in order to survive and to thrive?
The world is fast changing, and stagnant organizations quickly become dead organizations. What everyone may not know, however, are the keys to success—the keys to staying alive and relevant as a hospitality organization. HEC will be the place for students and guests to find answers.
The keynote address will be titled “Innovating an Empire” and will feature one or more hospitality industry leaders. Another panel, titled “Sustaining the Environment,” will focus specifically on the “green” aspect of the theme. HEC 82 will also incorporate many student projects—from original academic research to creative business concepts to student/business collaborations.
For example, Sue Brush, senior vice president of Westin Hotels and Resorts, will showcase her collaboration with students and professors through an interactive case study. Guests will be invited to do their “homework” ahead of time and participate in a lively case discussion to explore how Westin’s innovative branding strategies have sustained the organization for many years.
Students are planning leisure activities, such as a chocolate demonstration event, a Banfi wine tasting, and a culinary mystery box competition. On Friday, April 13, a gala banquet will honor the past, present, and future of HEC; afterward, guests will be swept off to the Johnson Museum of Art for cocktails, live music, and fireworks.