Monroe College Hospitality Management Students Win Prestigious CTO Competition for the Third Consecutive Year

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Student Team Earns Sixth Win in Eight Years at Annual Caribbean Tourism Organization Contest

Monroe College, a national leader in educating urban and international students, today shared the exciting news that four students within its School of Hospitality Management recently won the annual Students Colloquium competition hosted by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

The victory marks the third consecutive year – and the sixth time in eight years – that the College’s Hospitality Management competition team earned top honors at this prestigious event held in New York City. Members of this year’s winning team all hail from Caribbean islands, and are studying at the College in New York. They are: Stasia Joyce and Kia Harrigan of Antigua and Barbuda, and Mataya Culmer and Kaicee King of the Bahamas.

CTO’s Students Colloquium is held each year in conjunction with Caribbean Week festivities across New York City. The event requires competing college teams to devise business plans for creative tourism projects that tackle real-world issues in the Caribbean. Teams then present the plans for these well-researched, financially viable, and sustainable tourism projects before a panel of tourism and travel executives from the region.

“We look forward to participating in this event every year for it gives our students and other talented, young future hospitality professionals a chance to truly bring together their classroom learning, creativity, drive, and passion to show what they can do,” said Professor St. Clair Thompson, a long-time faculty member within Monroe College’s School of Hospitality Management and coach of its Hospitality Management competition team.

He added: “We commend the other teams on their wonderful work and thank the CTO for honoring our students once again. Their top marks certainly reflect their hard work, wonderful creativity and resourcefulness, and, of course, their Caribbean roots.”

The Caribbean Students Colloquium was created in 2010, providing aspiring hospitality management professionals a forum to exhibit their creativity and professional training. In the first round of the competition, teams must submit a business plan on a practical, sustainable tourism project to address a specific need or theme selected by the CTO. In the second round, the qualifying teams must present their business plans to a panel of judges, comprising sustainable tourism practitioners and educators. Each plan is assessed against a variety of factors, including effectiveness, marketing strategy, practicality to the Caribbean region, financial viability and more.

With CTO declaring 2019 ‘The Year of Festivals’ in the Caribbean, this year’s contest required students to focus their efforts on cultural assets and events. As such, Monroe’s team researched, developed, and presented a business plan for a regional celebration dubbed “CariBush Fest,” to be hosted by the island nation of Dominica. The proposed festival would embrace and promote the Caribbean region’s rich tradition of bush medicine, which involves the cultivation of herbal plants for medicinal purposes.

Founded in 1933, Monroe College is a recognized leader in urban and international education. The College is proud of its innovative programs to increase college access, affordability, and completion outcomes, especially among first-generation students. The strength of its warm, supportive culture is reflected in the personal connections fostered among students, faculty, and staff.

Monroe educates close to 8,000 students each year, offering Certificate, Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs from campuses in the Bronx, New Rochelle, and St. Lucia. Students may also take courses online.

Programs are offered through seven academic schools, including the Schools of Allied Health Professions, Business & Accounting, Criminal Justice, Education, Hospitality Management and the Culinary Institute of New York (CINY), Information Technology, and Nursing, as well as through King Graduate School. Liberal arts and continuing education programs are also available. For more information and admissions criteria, please visit

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Jacqueline Ruegger