Hospitality Students Preparing for 'First-Class' SMASH Networking/Fundraising Dining Event

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U of A students in the hospitality management program are wrapping up preparations for this year's SMASH event - Students Mastering the Art of Southern Hospitality.

SMASH is a dining and networking experience designed to highlight the skills of students and a fundraiser for the program in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Science's School of Human Environmental Sciences.

This year's event is Saturday, April 6, at the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences from 6-9 p.m. The theme is first-class air travel.

"We want to attract our guests to a first-class experience," said Elizabeth Young, a hospitality management student serving on the SMASH marketing team. "We are exploring hospitality in different destinations. Each year we create a theme we think will attract adults to our fundraiser and to put our skills to the test."

Two hospitality classes are using the semester to prepare for the event. A SMASH class is handling the planning and organization, under the direction of instructor Dede Hamm.

"This is done by students in three sections - environment, marketing, and logistics," Young said. "The teams have created a master timeline with the responsibility of everything from logos, design, signage, emailing and coordinating with vendors, the look and feel of the event, technology, parking, and more. On April 6, it all comes together and is executed. Each week in class we have different deadlines that have to be met."

Meanwhile, a cooking lab class, Cultures and Cuisines of the World, is in charge of the meal, under the direction of instructor Lobat Bayyari. Around 20 students are preparing to prep and cook the food.

"These students are learning how to manage a kitchen, create a menu, collect recipes, decide on a budget, assign roles, execute the cooking, and serve the meals."

The cooking class is the same one preparing and serving meals on Mondays and Wednesdays in Pineapple Café, a lunch service held in the Maudine Sanders Commons in the Human Environmental Sciences Building.

Tickets to SMASH are available to the public for $75 and can be purchased here.

Sponsorships for seats and tables, ranging from two guests ($250) up to 10 guests ($5,000) with access to a VIP reception and other benefits are also available. There are also packages for couples ($130), parents and grandparents ($120), HESC faculty and staff ($60) and hospitality alumni ($50). See options here.

"SMASH is a true learning experience for our students since they plan and execute every detail of the event," said Hamm. "The class really challenges our event students. They are applying everything they have learned up to this point and are able to see their hard work culminate in the amazing experience they create for guests."

Tickets and sponsorships are available now through March 29. Tickets will not be available at the door the day of the event. Proceeds benefit the hospitality management program through scholarships, resources, equipment, and funds for educational travel.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.


Robby Edwards, director of communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences


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