Arkansas Tech hospitality students have to think outside of the box during difficult times

Local News

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark.- For students at Arkansas Tech University majoring in hospitality during a pandemic has been difficult.

But it has also forced students to think outside the box.

They’ve found a creative way to push forward, learning tough, real-world lessons along way.

The Hospitality Administration program at Arkansas Tech has taken quite a few blows.

From their building catching fire in 2019 to the onset of a global pandemic, they’ve had to learn to adapt to a lot of changes.

“On a lot of levels, it’s been very frustrating because what we knew for our hospitality program, and that hand’s on piece, had to be completely flipped, completely changed,” said Department Head Cathy McMahan.

Senior Cannon Cobb said he took these courses because he’s a people person.

“It kind of hurt me a little bit because I’m at home, like, man, I have to isolate myself,” Codd said. “I can’t talk to as many people as I was used to.”

The students used to serve customers in person every Thursday evening in their dining room. Now, that dining rooms sit empty.

But sometimes hardships bring out the best in people.

The students and staff still continue to make the meals, but now they just serve them drive-through style.

“We’ve been able to have the buy-in from the students and I think that’s because they’ve been allowed to help us make some of those decisions,” McMahan said.

The faculty said this has actually been a blessing in disguise. After shifting their model completely, they say they can do almost anything now.

“This is the real world, I mean, day by day you’re going to have to figure this out,” McMahan said.

Thursday drive-through dinners have wrapped up for now, but customers can expect lunches to be served in the spring.

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