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Glion’s graduation committee (Grad Com) is an independent student-run group with an extremely challenging and high stakes mission: to organize and raise funds for the Glion graduation gala dinner. Perrine Simmenauer, Grad Com member, S7 BA in Hospitality Management with Real Estate Finance with Honors, explains what they do and how it all works out in the end.

As a committee, Grad Com is composed entirely of students in their final semester on campus in Bulle. Their mission is to raise funds for the gala dinner event and organize every aspect of the event (the venue, catering, music, bar, photography etc.) for more than 500 Glion graduates and their guests. From the group of students who volunteer to participate, roughly 20-25 are selected to head-up the event with a President and two Vice Presidents, then there are teams and leaders of various departments: events, marketing, finance, sponsorship and yearbook teams.

Surprisingly, Grad Com operates independently from the institution, which is both impressive and a little scary. Leaving the fate of the graduation gala dinner in the hands of a group of 20-something students is pretty risky, but so far, the gala events have been highly appreciated by graduates and their guests.

Perrine agrees that it’s not always simple: “Grad Com is an intensive learning experience, it’s a big team and you have to learn to deal with difficult team dynamics. Because everyone is so invested in this project, everyone wants the gala dinner to be the very best experience to show their family what the whole Glion Spirit is about. When you have people who are so emotionally attached to an outcome, it’s hard to find solutions. And you are working with friends, so while everyone is trying to push their own ideas, it’s hard to compromise, even among friends,” she said. “Plus, if something were to go wrong, the school is not officially responsible, so the weight of responsibility is with us, the committee members, which is both empowering and a bit worrying. We spoke with Guy Bentley this semester and he was keen to work with us to establish an official channel with the school, to give Grad Com the support and guidance needed, and also to manage the risk that something could go wrong.”

The scope and scale of the upcoming gala dinner which will follow the graduation ceremony on May 30th is impressive. This year, Grad Com has secured the Miles Davis Hall at the 2M2C conference center in Montreux, near the main hall where the graduation ceremony will be held. They have hired catering for F&B event photographers (Gala Image), DJs and musicians, flowers and decoration.

“The funds we raise cover as much of the cost as possible, and we try to keep the price of the tickets roughly the same, from year to year, and we keep them equally priced per graduate and per family member or guest,” explains Perrine.

With only a few weeks left before the big event, Grad Com members are working hard to tie up loose ends and get everything just right. This ultimate exercise in Glion Spirit is a challenge and a joy for the committee members who put their best skills forward to create a perfect, memorable night for the Glion graduates, their friends and family members who come from around the world for this commemorative event.

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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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