CSU, Chico News

Association’s New Chico Student Chapter Is World’s First

Date: 05-23-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs

A group of California State University, Chico students has formed the first-ever student chapter of the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA), a global nonprofit supporting event professionals.

The new chapter was made official during a campus ceremony on May 1, where inaugural board members Stephanie Farmwald (president), Jamie Chino (vice president), Erinne Hoedt (secretary) and Stephanie Falzon (treasurer) received pins. IFEA president and CEO Steven Schmader congratulated the students via Skype.

The news was also shared in the May 15 edition of the association’s e-newsletter, Event Insider, which reaches thousands of event planners around the world.

Founded in 1956, the nonprofit IFEA supports festival and event planners through education, networking and representation. From its headquarters in Boise, Idaho, it serves about 2,000 premiere members and partners with affiliates in Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America.

Farmwald, Chino, Hoedt and Falzon – all recreation administration majors – recruited more than 40 students from a range of academic areas including event management, marketing, public relations, business, finance, recreation, journalism and hospitality. The chapter held its first event May 6with speaker Jean McFaddin, who produced Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade for 24 years.

Now the chapter is planning fundraisers for the fall in order to send a dozen members to the IFEA annual convention in Kansas City, Missouri, Sept. 28-Oct. 1. The students and student chapter will be recognized at the convention, which draws event professionals, educators and students from around the world.

“This is an amazing opportunity for students to get involved with networking and get an idea of what the industry is like,” Farmwald said, adding that the association offers important student internship opportunities. “Anybody in the field is going to benefit with experience. That’s where the jobs come from – knowing people.”

Farmwald said she hopes to establish a career fair for event management students in the fall and, eventually, a student chapter model that can be replicated at other colleges and universities.

Recreation professor Jeff Jiang, who coordinates the special events and tourism option, is a longtime IFEA member and has served on several of the association’s councils.

“This is a group of very passionate, dedicated, organized and proactive students,” Jiang said. “They had very clear objectives from the beginning: They wanted not only to network with event industry professionals, but also to actively seek leadership opportunities in the industry. They have lots of great ideas for sustaining this multidisciplinary student organization, and benefiting from and contributing to the event industry association.”


Photo caption: From left, IFEA student chapter inaugural board members are Stephanie Farmwald, president; Erinne Hoedt, secretary; Jamie Chino, vice president; and Stephanie Falzon, treasurer.