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Tourism students’ studies benefit charities

Thursday 29 November 2018 12:04pm

Tour 304 students
Dr Mingming Cheng and students celebrate planning and hosting a successful golf day, as part of their TOUR 304 studies.

A group of Otago Business School tourism students have raised more than $7000 for local charities by taking their studies out of the lecture theatre and into the community.

Department of Tourism event and convention management lecturer Dr Mingming Cheng redesigned TOUR 304 – a previously theory-based programme – to give the students practical experience, while giving back to, and engaging with, the Dunedin community.

“The students were required to plan an event and actually host it this year. In the past they have just had to do the theory on how they would plan an event, but I decided they really need that practical experience,” Dr Cheng says.

The four groups held a quiz night, a DJ night and golf day and yoga events, benefitting the St Clair Surf Lifesaving Club, ChatBus, and Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust. The four events raised $7056.37.

“While this was great for community engagement, the students reported a real sense of pride that they had organised the event. Some couldn’t believe they could actually do it.”

Student Kevin Wu was one of the quiz night organisers. They raised $2499 for the children’s counselling service ChatBus.

The group even persuaded Act party leader David Seymour to be quizmaster for the evening.

“He has a pretty positive relationship with the university and he was happy to help.”

The pair say the new assessment had been well received by students.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience just because of the practical, real life experience we gained. It builds a better reputation between Otago University and the community when as students we are able to do something positive and give back,” Wu says.

Dr Cheng says the success of this year’s events meant the assessment would now be held annually.

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