The Club Management Association of America (CMAA) named the UMass Student Chapter of CMAA as the 2020 Student Chapter of the Year in the middle-size category during the March 2021 CMAA Virtual World Conference. The chapter, which is part of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department in the Isenberg School of Management, was rewarded for excellence in goal attainment, membership recruitment and retention, external and extracurricular programming, club and member communications, special educational programming/tours, senior or regional chapter collaboration and extended student chapter operations, and Covid-19 adaptation during an unprecedented and challenging year.
The “Student Chapter of the Year Award” competition recognizes outstanding work, participation, and successful accomplishments of student chapters within the association. The UMass Student Chapter (pictured at the last pre-pandemic in-person meeting in October 2019) competed with more than 40 other national student university chapters and colonies from across the U.S. A financial grant funded by The Club Foundation is awarded to each winning chapter and supports travel to the new year’s world conference, which will be held in San Diego in March 2022.
The UMass Amherst Chapter also won two of the five Idea Fair Awards, for Senior and Student Chapter Relations and Collaboration with Other Chapters.
The Senior and Student Chapter Relations category reflected the chapter’s quick pivot during the summer of 2020, when it updated its UMass CMAA Student Profile Booklet, quickly adding students who had lost placements—either entry-level or internships—that were rescinded, most notably with hotels, restaurants, and event management venues. The chapter worked hard in helping to place students near their homes in positions at venues that were still operating in take-out or social distancing outdoor dining and that held outdoor sport activities, most notably golf and tennis.
While some schools’ CMAA chapters went totally remote and curtailed student activities, the UMass Student Chapter embraced the new virtual world in 2020 by offering virtual tours, manager outreach and advising, and regular club meetings with both local chapters as well as regional chapter parent clubs. The Collaboration with Other Chapters award reflected the group’s efforts to extend opportunities for students to join from New Hampshire, Johnson and Wales, Niagara, and James Madison University.
The UMass Student Chapter also took advantage of the pre-pandemic time in January 2020 by offering three high-level externship programs for students, including an externship education in South Florida at 10 different clubs over 5 days; a week-long externship program at the New York Athletic Club and its Travers Island location in Westchester County, and a three-week winternship program at the Country Club in Brookline.
The UMass Student Chapter of CMAA is made up of 42 members with 15 to 20 highly active students engaged in the daily chapter operations. The membership is driven by an engaging and purpose-driven executive board comprised of Hannah Kemp ’21, president (from Peabody, Mass.; two-time winner of the National Joe Perdue Scholarship Award); Jesse Feeney ’20, vice president (from Merrimac, Mass.); Natasha Prokopowich ’21, secretary (from Worcester, Mass.); Jacob LeClair ’21, treasurer (from Springfield, Mass.); Michael Maroney ’22, fundraising and events (from Reading, Mass.); Jessica Harrington ’23, communications and social media (from Ipwisch, Mass.); and past officer Taylor Giron ’21, events (from Clarksburg, Mass.).
Hannah Kemp, president, noted: “I am so proud of all of our e-board and chapter members for working so hard this year despite spending the majority of it in a virtual setting. Winning Chapter of the Year has been a goal for our chapter ever since I was a first-year student, and we have all worked tirelessly to reach this goal by providing the best club management experiences for our members. In a year full of uncertainty and constant change, it is great to be recognized for the ways we adapted and continued to show up for our chapter. It has been a pleasure being the president of this resilient chapter.“
Rod Warnick, faculty advisor to the chapter, noted: “This was a very special group of students who in the face of adversity and an unbelievable challenge during the pandemic drove the chapter to new heights, by turning quickly to help students with summer placements, tours, education, and collaboration with NECMA and regional students’ chapters throughout the school year. I am very proud of how the e-board, through the leadership of Hannah Kemp ’21, made the best of the challenges and built on the culture and involvement of their education beyond the classroom that has sustained and built this student chapter to what it is today and the pinnacle of achievement this year. It is with great pride that I see the culture these students have created and invested in their education and I am honored to be their faculty advisor.”