Throughout 2016, Glion students came out in force to support the efforts of the Glion Charity Committee (GCC), attending events and making donations to help the committee achieve their fund-raising goals. This semester, the GCC collected funds for the Sumba Hospitality Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by a Glion alumna that provides vocational hospitality courses for local children to support the growth of sustainable tourism, and for ShareADream, a foundation that connects NGOs to volunteers, donors and businesses to build networks and broaden capabilities.

We caught up with Anna Pelkonen, this semester’s President of the Glion Charity Committee, to learn more about the GCC’s achievements and future plans, and to better understand our students’ commitment to these causes and their impacts.

Interview with Anna Pelkonen, MBA in Hospitality ’16

Anna Pelkonen is a Finnish student who just finished her MBA in Hospitality and Service Industries Management and graduated in December 2016. In addition to presiding over the charity committee, she was also featured in the news recently as a finalist in the Hyatt Student Prize competition which ended December 8th. Watch Anna Pelkonen’s Hyatt Student Prize video entry here. She won the MBA student prize for her cohort and is an inspiring young lady with plenty of ideas and a willingness to go the extra mile. Here’s what she told us about the Charity Committee this year.

Q: Hi Anna, at the last update in September, the GCC had reached 65% of the fundraising goal. How did it go until the end of the semester? Did you reach your goals for the two associations?

The Glion Charity Committee had an amazing semester, where we participated in and organised 18 events in total! Throughout all of our events we raised a total of CHF 6’676.80, which was way past our initial fundraising target of CHF 5’000.

How many members were in the committee this year?

This semester the committee had incredible participation. We had a committee of 15, with 9 members on Bulle campus and 6 members on Glion campus. We had an active network of around thirty volunteers who we could rely on for help during events. In addition to the members of the Charity Committee, other campus groups, campus life leaders and classes reached out to us with the goal of helping us achieve our fundraising target.

What is your personal history with charity? What motivated you to participate in and preside over the Charity Committee this year?

During my undergraduate studies, I was involved with UNICEF which I really enjoyed. When I arrived on campus last January, I joined the Charity Committee as the treasurer and after a successful semester, I was elected as the President. I believed that it would be an incredible opportunity to make a difference in our community as well as in the communities which we support. I identified so much with the values of the charity committee and found philanthropy to be one of my passions.

Do most of the members come from a background of doing charity work?

Most of the members of the committee have done charity work before and have been extremely motivated to continue this during their studies at Glion. Our team comes from 14 different nationalities, which is just amazing, so the variety of backgrounds and experiences is a phenomenal starting point for our work as a team.

What is the general attitude towards giving back/fundraising among Glion students?

We have had great participation from students this semester! Students have really identified with the causes that we support, both of which work to make dreams come true for children. Sumba Hospitality Foundation was founded by a Glion alumna, and it aims to offer vocational hospitality education for youths on the island of Sumba so that they can contribute to the sustainable development of tourism there. In October of this year, Sumba Hospitality Foundation opened their Hotel and Restaurant where students of the Sumba Hotel School are now serving guests and practicing their skills in an environmentally friendly bamboo hotel and restaurant.

We also raise funds for Share A Dream, a foundation that works to connect NGOs to volunteers, donors and businesses to build networks and broaden capabilities.

Consequently, our fellow students have been very willing to join us at our events and supporting our causes. I believe the other key to getting participation is organizing events that contribute something different to the Glion experience and offer something of value to the students.

Are there any plans to expand or vary the types of events the GCC puts on next year?

Totally! One of the most exciting things about the CC is that it’s growing so incredibly fast. We are growing in all different ways from support from the community to membership numbers, and student recognition. The number of events we were able to be part of this semester was just phenomenal. So absolutely, we are expanding to London during the next semester with the opening of a Vice-President position on that campus. Having a presence across the three campuses would help us raise more awareness for our causes and raise more funds.

What was this year’s biggest success?

This year’s biggest success was definitely the Charity Rooftop Party at the Club in the Glion campus above Montreux. It was a memorable evening with great music and a record number of students attending!

For more information about the Charity Committee or to become a member, get in touch with:

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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