Community Invited to Vote on Students’ Table Designs April 30

Joliet Junior College hospitality management student teams are creating six elaborate tabletop design projects – and they want the public to vote for their favorite on Tuesday, April 30 from noon until 5 p.m.Community Invited to Vote on Students
The projects, which will be on display in the C-Building Concourse on the Main Campus at 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet, will feature three tabletop designs meant for a citrus-themed wedding, and three tabletop designs meant for a “going green” awards ceremony, both real events. Students participating are part of JJC’s event planning class, led by Catherine Anderson, professor of hotel and restaurant management.
Anderson said she hopes both JJC and local community members stop by to see what her students have accomplished.
“See what we do,” she said. “You can take away the ideas and use them in your own home.”
While Anderson and her students are anxious to see the vote results on April 30, they are also looking forward to feedback from industry professionals. After putting together a Request for Proposal (RFP), an executive summary, and a video presentation of their design, the student teams will receive critiques from four to five New York experts in May. They will also get to see how the New York professionals designed the tabletops that were actually used for the two events, which have both already happened.
Though it may seem like an easy feat, Anderson said the designing process takes a lot of hard work and research. The goal is to create something that is true to the customer’s vision. Students have been preparing for three to four weeks, and all have met with floral and linen vendors.
Like in the professional world, students will not get the materials to build their designs until the day before the event – or in this case, the day before voting begins.
“They are doing a good job, they really are,” Anderson said. Even though three teams are working on the citrus-themed wedding, and three teams are working on the “going green” awards ceremony, Anderson said all the designs have been very unique and different from one another.
Though Anderson has not hosted a voting competition like this at JJC before, her students have participated in similar projects. About five or six years ago, Anderson said one project, meant for a home, appeared on the HGTV network.
Because event planning and hospitality management are visual disciplines, Anderson focuses on visual elements when she teaches her classes. Anderson has become the first professor to teach her students with videos from the Event Leadership Institute website(, which is primarily dedicated to professional development for those already in the field. Instead of working in textbooks, students learn through videos on the website. Many of Anderson’s students enjoy the videos because it keeps them focused and shows them detailed examples of event planning concepts and ideas.
“It’s a very dynamic field, there’s nothing static about it,” Anderson said.
For more information about the April 30 tabletop design event or about the hospitality management program, contact Anderson at 815-280-2345.

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