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HTM team finishes second at international Sustainable Hospitality Challenge

September 22, 2021
Zoom HTM Case Competition in Dubai
Clockwise from top: Brian Riback, Raina Patel and Michelle Novotny

A student team from the Ted Rogers School of Management managed to place second in an international Sustainability Hospitality Challenge held in Dubai -- even though the group was the only one competing virtually at the event.

The 2021 Sustainable Hospitality Challenge (SHC) took place at the Arabian & African Hospitality Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai. Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Ted Rogers School team, made up of Hospitality & Tourism Management students Raina Patel and Brian Riback and HTM alumna and MScM student Michelle Novotny, had to participate in the Finals online. 

“While it was unfortunate that we could not be there in-person, the SHC team did a wonderful job of keeping us in the loop,” says Novotvy. “We could still feel the energy, excitement and anticipation in Dubai even from our rooms back at home.” 

The 2021 SHC event kicked off a year ago with 36 hospitality institutes worldwide participating. This year’s case was led by the question: ‘What does the hospitality industry look like in 2050?’. To create the concept, each team was appointed one of three dimensions: Future Brand, Future Space and Hospitality of tomorrow, as their focal point. 

In the Future Brand category, the Ted Rogers School team pitched their idea to instill in students values of the “Slow Movement,” (external link, opens in new window)  through academics, work and lifestyle as a potential solution to change the industry. The “Slow Movement” is a social movement characterized by a cultural shift away from the rapid speed of westernized consumption, and a movement towards a more mindful, sustainable and authentic lifestyle.

After the qualifying round, quarter-finals and semi-finals, the Ted Rogers School team and teams from five other universities advanced to the Finals. The finalists presented their concepts and ideas in front of a jury consisting of ten class industry leaders, such as CEOs of leading hospitality companies.

“Almost exactly one year from when we started on this project, we are so excited that team Ryerson University has come second place out of 36 international universities! And the only team competing virtually at that!” says Novotny.

“We are so proud of our concept and all that we have been able to accomplish throughout this journey,” she adds. “We owe great thanks to the faculty and staff at the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management for providing us with the knowledge, resources and opportunities to excel beyond the classroom.”