Students of CSUSB’s Palm Desert Campus and Jack H. Brown College (JHBC) of Business and Public Administration had the unique opportunity on Tuesday, April 16, to delve into the inner workings of Yaamava’ Resort & Casino in Highland, gaining insights into the hospitality and entertainment industry firsthand. The special tour and networking day, organized by Yaamava’, provided students with a comprehensive overview of the resort's operations while offering valuable networking opportunities with industry professionals. Students had the opportunity to meet over 40 staff and leadership team members throughout the day.

The day commenced with the students being picked up from campus by Yaamava’ Shuttles at 8:30 a.m. Their morning tour began at the Pine Steakhouse, where they were greeted with a presentation covering the rich history of Yaamava’ and the tribe, an enterprise overview, and insights into guest services — a crucial aspect of the hospitality industry.

Following the presentation, the students split into four groups, embarking on immersive tours of various key areas within the resort. From the bustling casino floor to the luxurious rooms on the 17th floor of the hotel, students had the chance to explore every facet of Yaamava's offerings. They were also treated to behind-the-scenes glimpses of the theater, including the green room and dressing rooms used by performers. One of the highlights of the tour was standing on the grand stage, offering students a perspective rarely seen by the audience. Theater engineers dazzled them with a lights and music show, showcasing the technical wizardry behind live performances.

After the tours, the students reconvened at the Pine Steakhouse for a complimentary lunch and an engaging Q&A session with esteemed members of Yaamava's leadership team. The panel, comprising industry veterans and CSUSB alumni, including Leslie Agulia, human resources supervisor, and Michelle Uribe, training supervisor guest services, provided invaluable insights into the industry's recipe for success, offering practical advice and sharing their personal experiences with the students.

Throughout the day, students were encouraged to participate in a trivia challenge, testing their knowledge about Yaamava’ and the hospitality industry, with prizes awaiting the winners. Additionally, each student received a swag bag filled with mementos to commemorate their memorable experience.

Joe Tormey, director of the Hospitality Management Program at the Palm Desert Campus, coordinated with Yaamavá Resort & Casino to create this enriching opportunity for students, and Jessica Chavez, the JHBC student success and internship coordinator, orchestrated the entire event with meticulous care and attention to detail. Their dedication ensured that students received an immersive and rewarding experience, laying the groundwork for future success in the hospitality and business sectors.