If you’re heading down Broadway in New York City, there’s a good chance you’ll pass Ally Weaver waiting in line for a show. The West Chester, Pennsylvania, native and Class of 2023 Hotel and Tourism Management major is a huge Broadway fan. She has attended 18 shows in the span of a year. “I pretty much only spend my money on Broadway shows,” she jokes. The magic of live performances has special poignancy after an 18-month shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the tourism, entertainment, and event-planning industries responded to the crisis, NYU School of Professional Studies (SPS) classes also pivoted. “The pandemic always gets discussed in our classes because it has impacted the industry so much,” Ally says. “It’s not only changing what kind of events we’re doing but what’s being taught in our classes.”
Applying Classroom Lessons in Real Time
“I love that my classes are very small—usually no more than 20 students. And they’re very project-heavy,” Ally says of the Hotel and Tourism Management program. “It gives us a good opportunity to be hands-on in the field and learn from people in the industry today. And our degree is so expansive that we can go any route.” Ally started in events planning and interned at an Indian wedding-planning company. After an influential sales and marketing course, she shifted her focus to marketing.
Through her participation in the student council, Ally has applied many of her hotel and tourism management class lessons to real life. She served as student council recreation chair during the shift from in-person to virtual events, helped plan virtual events for SPS students such as game night and karaoke night, participated in the All-University Games—which SPS won—and contributed to the student council podcast. Now she’s student council president. “As part of the student council, I’ve done so many different events that have given me that event experience for what I want to do for the rest of my life,” says Ally.
Connecting Her Passion for Theatre
With a marketing concentration in her Hotel and Tourism Management degree, Ally dreams of one day promoting the Broadway shows she loves attending. Her bucket list productions to market for are Hamilton and “anything with Darren Criss in it.”
As the event and tourism sectors make a slow return to normalcy, Ally believes they will proceed with more caution, such as including new cancellation clauses in contracts. But she also believes the crowds will return. “People are easing restrictions, and people are starting to feel more comfortable. Everyone’s feeling a lot more optimistic.” And as the theatres refill, you can bet Ally will be in the audience, cheering the industry on.
A New Name That Reflects the Program’s Flexibility
The Hotel and Tourism Management program at SPS recently changed its name to Hospitality, Travel and Tourism Management. This change reflects the flexibility students have within the program to explore and pursue academic and career opportunities outside the constraints of a typical hospitality and tourism degree.