Durham College becomes first Canadian post-secondary institution to win PCMA North American Student Challenge

A team of Durham College (DC) Event Planning students has been selected as winners of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) North American Student Challenge. In its first year participating, DC is the only Canadian post-secondary institution to reach the finals in this prestigious competition, bringing distinction to both the Event Planning program and the college on an international stage. Emily Last, Michelle Corradetti, Naomi Brock, Nicole Rayment and Ryan Windsor – all second-year Event Planning students – competed against 12 other schools, with 21 submissions, to proudly bring the winning title home to DC.

This year’s theme, Combatting Human Trafficking, tasked competitors with building an event proposal that focused on educating the hospitality industry on the impacts of this real-life issue. After developing their in-depth proposal, the students virtually presented their plans to a committee of event planning professionals, which were recorded and shared across the industry globally.

“Being the first and only winning Canadian post-secondary is an incredible achievement for Durham College,” says Tony Doyle, dean, School of Hospitality & Horticultural Science. “The success of our students speaks to their dedication to learning and perfecting their skills, the strength of the program’s ability to prepare them to be future leaders in their chosen sector, and our industry-connected faculty who champion them along the way. Congratulations to everyone involved in this important achievement.”

The success with the competition is the latest connection between the college and PCMA. Nicole is president and Emily is vice-president of the only Canadian student chapter of the association. Working closely with Christine Baily, professor, School of Hospitality & Horticultural Science, the chapter has held a number of virtual events that included students and faculty from other Ontario colleges, further building industry knowledge for the next generation of Events professionals.

“This challenge presented an opportunity for the students to integrate into the industry and showcase a high level of event management knowledge and professionalism,” explains Baily, who is also coordinator of the Event Planning program. “Individually, the ability to highlight their roles as part of an international winning team will set them apart from other applicants as they embark on their careers following graduation.”

Throughout the course of this project, the students have learned how to use the knowledge and experiences they’ve acquired in class to develop meaningful events as part of their studies and gained insight into the skills required to succeed as industry. View the students’ winning presentation here. To learn more about DC’s Event Planning program, follow @DCEVPN on Instagram.