School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Opens Cafe

ACANS News & Information Center

School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Opens Cafe

The School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at New Mexico State University opened 100 West Café September 27th.  Located on the first floor of Gerald Thomas Hall, students prepare and serve meals every Wednesday and Friday.

School of HRTM students prepare a La carte meals every Wednesday and Friday.School of HRTM students prepare a La carte meals every Wednesday and Friday.

100 West Café is a $620,000 state-of-the-art commercial food production and service lab that provides HRTM students with real-world experience. HRTM Assistant Professor John Hartley states, “This facility has allowed us to expand the food courses we offer and provide the students with more specific education and hands-on experience.”

Founded in 1988, HRTM began its program with 50 students. Today, there are 320 students enrolled in the program. And last year, at the recommendation of NMSU President Michael Martin, HRTM evolved from a program within the Family and Consumer Science Department to a school in its own right. Today, HRTM is a one of eight schools or academic departments that make up the College of Agriculture and Home Economics, and it is one of the fastest growing programs in that college.

School of HRTM Director Janet Green notes that tourism is New Mexico’s second largest private sector industry. In 2003, tourism generated $573 million in state, local, and federal taxes. The business of tourism is big business and it offers many career choices. Students are encouraged to tailor their degree to their area of interest. For example, those interested in the business aspects of tourism are encouraged to take classes offered by the College of Business. And to further meet the needs of those interested in the profession, but who cannot attend classes on NMSU’s main campus, the School of HRTM has added a distance education component to its program.

NMSU’s HRTM graduates are in high demand to meet the needs of this growing industry. Of the 150 schools in the nation that offer a bachelor’s degree in HRTM, NMSU’s school is ranked among the top 25. Hartley states, “People in our industry say that one of the reasons they like our students over students from similar programs is that our students graduate with a lot of hands-on real world experience.”

Arturo Garcia and Lilly Apodaca work in the School of HRTM food production lab.Arturo Garcia and Lilly Apodaca work in the School of HRTM food production lab.

For HRTM students this is an envious position to be in. Junior Lilly Apodaca says, “When I enter the job market, I will have the experience and first-hand knowledge of what needs to go on, what needs to happen, and how things need to be done. I’m learning by doing.” And even though Caitlin Odom does not plan on working in a restaurant when she earns her degree in December 2007, she knows that today’s experiences will give her an edge over her competitors.

The future looks bright for those pursuing a bachelor’s degree in HRTM. The industry continues to grow to meet the needs of the many Americans who have more disposal income than ever, and as Janet Green notes that there are more jobs than graduates.

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