Posted May 14, 2008

Two tourism and hospitality grads promote socially responsible hospitality

Master of tourism and hospitality management

Alexis Hahalis
Photo courtesy Alexis Hahalis

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” This philosophy is a familiar one for Tiffany Taylor Newmuis, who is graduating Temple with a master’s in tourism and hospitality management, and Alexis Hahalis, who is graduating with a bachelor’s in tourism and hospitality management.

Both graduates recently interned with the Responsible Hospitality Institute, a public nonprofit organization dedicated to developing safe hospitality districts within U.S. cities. Through RHI, Newmuis and Hahalis are doing their part to ensure that hospitality zones are socially responsible in creating sustainable and safe places for socializing in cities.

Of the projects you worked on with RHI, which do you think had the most significant social impact?

Hahalis: I helped with a hospitality zone assessment in New Orleans. It was gratifying to learn where the city of New Orleans is post-Hurricane Katrina, and how it is evolving. The residents want to see a change. They viewed Hurricane Katrina as a sad and tragic event, but it left the door open to new opportunities. The city now has to revitalize its image as a music city, while providing a safer nightlife.

Newmuis: I also helped with the hospitality zone assessment in New Orleans. It was amazing to take part in bringing together community stakeholders, such as fire chiefs, police officers, restaurant owners and developers, and watch them discuss as a community how the city can move forward to create a safer, more vibrant atmosphere.

Why is it important to have socially responsible tourism?

Hahalis: It is important to show tourists more than just a good time, and to also show that you care about their safety. For example, making sure late-night patrons don’t risk driving home under the influence, and promoting good strategies to ensure that businesses don’t serve alcohol to minors.

Newmuis: When you have a whole city working together, it can create a great change and truly improve the city. Working as a collaborative group helps ensure that streets are clean, a city is safe, and overall, provides a better quality of life, so that people will have more pride in their community.

What’s next?

Hahalis: After graduation, I am going to be an administrative coordinator for RHI. I am excited to continue my career there because it is an organization that can provide me with all of the ingredients to accomplish my goals, and fulfill my life philosophy, carpe diem or “seize the day.”

Tiffany Taylor Newmuis
Photo courtesy Tiffany Taylor Newmuis

Newmuis: I am excited to finally have enough free time to read Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, a gift I received for my 24th birthday. As for my career goals, I plan to pursue a career working at the National Trust Main Street Center, a group that focuses on commercial district revitalization. I also will continue to take more courses to explore economic policy. For me, learning never ends.

—Written by Margaret Mastrogiacomo

For the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management