Students Prepare All Year Long for HEC 88

Hotel Ezra Cornell may be a weekend-long conference, but student directors, managers, and team members spend the whole year planning, preparing, and practicing their skills in anticipation of the big event in April.

During Orientation this fall, HEC sponsored an informal Mocktail Reception. Incoming students enjoyed creative non-alcoholic beverages while they met with current HEC participants and learned about the many experiential learning opportunities available through HEC.

The fun continued during Homecoming, when HEC hosted the annual Hotelie Tailgate. The theme this year was “International Street Food,” and Hotelie chefs prepared dishes from around the world, including international sausages, BLTs, nachos, root beer floats, and Big Red macaroons. Hotelies know how to please a crowd, and the enthusiastic football fans were well nourished as they cheered the Big Red to a victory over Yale.

In October, HEC took over the Carriage House Café and held a fundraiser for Share our Strength, a campaign to end childhood hunger in America. HEC executive chef Levi Austin ’14, design director Margalit Kohanim ’14, service director Dana Ocher ’13, and beverage director Matt Tong ’13 led their teams in preparing and serving the gourmet seven-course dinner.

HEC participants helped their fellow students celebrate the last day of fall classes by sponsoring a Pancake Party and providing free pancakes and hot chocolate for all in attendance.

All the while, the HEC team has been busy confirming fabulous guest speakers for the conference this year, which will be held April 4-7, 2013. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Mark Joseph, CEO and vice chairman of Veolia Transportation,
  • Brad Tolkin ’80, co-chairman and CEO of World Travel Holdings,
  • Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings,
  • Neera Chanani ’02, South Asia head of Caesars Entertainment,
  • Lisa Holladay, VP of brand and guest experience, Ritz Carlton,
  • Stacy Fischer-Rosenthal, president of Fischer Travel Enterprise,
  • Jim Abrahamson, CEO of Interstate Hotels,
  • and Teddy Zhang ’97, president and CEO of HUBS1.

With more than 130 student directors and managers, HEC 88 promises to be an exciting and enjoyable conference for all involved. We encourage all alumni to attend this wonderful Hotelie-filled weekend. Please register at