An Insight into the Lives of Hotel Ezra Cornell’s Student Managers

Editor’s note: The 88th Annual Hotel Ezra Cornell starts today! The student directors, managers, and volunteers have put together an outstanding line-up of speakers and events for the sold-out crowd. Save the date for HEC 89, March 20-23, 2014.

By Sven Fors ’14, HEC communications manager

Students dedicate a great amount of time outside of school, work, and other activities to organize the weekend-long educational conference, Hotel Ezra Cornell. We interviewed two students who are integral to the planning and execution of HEC, Jane Zelenko ’15, guest experience manager, and Ashleigh Evans ’14, executive pastry chef. Through their answers, we see HEC through eyes of student managers and find out about their specific duties during the weekend as well as what they learn from the experience.

An interview with Jane Zelenko ’15, guest experience manager
Jane believes that a customized experience makes a memorable one. Compiling background information on what HEC guests like and don’t like helps students tailor the HEC experience to each and every guest. In preparation for the weekend, Jane reaches out to guests to get to know them so she can plan out a customized weekend schedule. Travel plans and other accommodations are set and confirmed by Jane as she serves as a personal concierge for every guest she is assigned to.

Jane sees HEC weekend as a great learning experience both in terms of self-growth and showing other students what she is capable of organizing and accomplishing. She would like more exposure to the marketing and front-of-house operations that go into HEC, which is something she will explore during next year’s event. She also says that creating connections and working with other students to create such a rewarding experience for guests is what makes all the work worthwhile.

An interview with Ashleigh Evans ’14, executive pastry chef
Ashleigh sees food as a way to communicate with guests and create a wonderful dining experience that they will remember. Ashleigh will appeal to the guests of HEC 88 by providing even more delicacies from the kitchen than last year, including turn-down amenities, take-away menus, and in-room chocolate treats. Her specific roles include baking decadent event pastries and managing all the work that goes into the preparation and plating of these indulgences.

Ashleigh appreciates the many talented students that help make HEC weekend a memorable one for both guests and students. Specifically, working in the kitchen with other students who share a similar love for food and service is what makes HEC weekend special for Ashleigh. Ashleigh is especially looking forward to HEC 88’s closing cocktail because of the extensive amount of work that she has put into the event.