Saunders hospitality and tourism students have the opportunity to join Eta Sigma Delta (ESD), an international honor society that recognizes high-achieving students who have completed at least half of their credit hours.
“The professional benefits of Eta Sigma Delta include an opportunity for outstanding students to distinguish themselves in the eyes of educators, recruiters and industry executives in an increasingly competitive industry. In addition, through their chapters, ESD provides a networking system for interaction and the exchange of information among students,” said RIT Rochester ESD Faculty Advisor Dr. Muhammet Kesgin.
RIT Rochester and its global counterparts have seen considerable growth in their ESD activities and recognition. “Through creative events with scholarship and service components, such as industry mixers, induction ceremonies, and peer mentoring, our members achieved higher levels of excellence, while also doubling the size of our chapter,” noted former RIT Rochester ESD President and adjunct professor Jesse Redlo.
This year the International Council for Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) presented RIT Croatia, advised by professor Milena Kuznin, with the ESD Chapter of Distinction Award. The annual award is meant to recognize a leading local chapter that exhibits efforts to advance the five pillars of ESD: excellence, leadership, creativity, service, and ethics.
Belma Sokolovic, President of RIT Croatia’s ESD Honorary Society, said “ICHRIE is widely known and recognized by various hospitality industry companies and professionals. ESD, as a part of ICHRIE, really celebrates the excellence of students who are proactive, creative, open-minded and passionate about the hospitality industry.”
The award was presented at the ICHRIE conference in New Orleans, Louisiana on July 26, 2019. Dr. Kesgin accepted the award on behalf of RIT Croatia ESD Advisor Milena Kuznin, who said, “By engaging with the community, devoting services, and inspiring professional distinction we have fully represented the potential of the Croatian Eta Sigma Delta Chapter. The students involved in our society represent the best and brightest of upcoming hospitality professionals and we believe that our chapter is providing a great platform for their further development and growth.”
The RIT Croatia chapter was established only three years ago, and in that time has maximized its impact. “The foremost motivation for chartering the chapter in Croatia was to have it serve as a catalyst for increased global collaboration between the hospitality programs in Rochester and Dubrovnik. Both campuses have robust hospitality programs, but there was little synergy between them. The hospitality industry continues to grow more global in nature and I felt that collaborating with colleagues around the world would be an added advantage to those students that capitalized on the opportunity,” said Linden Pohland, a study abroad student who served as the Rochester chapter’s secretary and a key member in chartering Croatia’s ESD Chapter.
RIT Rochester and Croatia have future plans to collaborate on community events and may begin a new project that targets the same population.
As for ESD’s recent success, Kuznin said, “We focused on five pillars of the ESD chapter, thus contributing to a purpose larger than the ESD society itself.”