Student meetings-and-events group named Chapter of the Year

Members of the Penn State Meeting and Events Club PCMA student chapter attended the virtual PCMA national conference, Convening Leaders, in January.  The student group was awarded the organization's 2020 Chapter of the Year. Credit: Jackie GolasAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State student chapter of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has been named the 2020 Chapter of the Year by the organization’s Foundation Committee.

With the recognition, the student group received a $1,000 award to fund education, community service, or membership programs in 2021.

“The PCMA Foundation was particularly impressed by the Penn State chapter’s depth of details for their plans on how to use the education stipend,” said Madeline Schimeck, community engagement for the PCMA national organization.

The Penn State student chapter plans to use the award money to increase involvement with the Greater Philadelphia chapter of PCMA, the regional chapter with which it is associated. With this money, more Penn State students will be able to attend Greater Philadelphia chapter and national PCMA events, including Education Day and the national Convening Leaders conference.

“It’s rewarding to receive this recognition from PCMA, because we have worked hard to plan and assist with events at the University,” said Amber Bortner, vice president of the Penn State Meetings and Events Club PCMA student chapter, and the member who submitted the award application. “With this, we are able to continue to give members opportunities to grow their event planning skills through interactive experiences.”

For the past three years, the club has planned and implemented a formal fundraising event to benefit the School of Hospitality Management THON, including a virtual paint night in 2020. The club hosts committees to organize sponsorship, event design, and marketing and promotion. Additionally, the club holds educational sessions for students throughout the year with guests from the PCMA Greater Philadelphia and Washington D.C. chapters, as well as Penn State alumni in the events industry.

With the funds from the award, the chapter plans to expand opportunities for students to engage directly with the events industry and send more students to the PCMA national conference.

This month, 10 event management-focused students from the Penn State chapter attended the Convening Leaders conference, which was held virtually. During the conference, students participated in educational sessions, networked with industry leaders, and learned about the latest trends in the hospitality segment of meeting and event management.

“I am so proud of the Penn State organization for receiving this honorable award,” said Faith Busanic, president of the Penn State Meetings and Events Club PCMA student chapter. “Over the years, I have witnessed the extreme dedication from all of our members, and it is amazing to see not only the growth of the Penn State PCMA student chapter, but the students who are part of it.”

According to Kyle Bixby, club liaison, being a part of the Meeting and Events Club during COVID-19, in particular, has shown him how resilient the events industry is.

“Even though we may not be physically together, we are able to learn from industry professionals about how to keep the events industry going with virtual and hybrid options that would not have been considered prior to 2020.”

Jackie Golas, program and events manager for the School of Hospitality Management, serves as the student chapter’s adviser.

The PCMA Foundation is committed to professional development and shaping tomorrow’s meeting and convention leaders by providing grants for scholarships, educational programming, and research for innovation.

PCMA is a national professional organization with more than 6,500 members that focuses on education, business networking, and community engagement for leaders in the global meetings, convention, and business events industry.

Last Updated January 19, 2021