Members of Niagara University's student chapter of the Club Managers Association of America, named the best among medium-sized chapters in the country.

Niagara University’s student chapter of the Club Management Association of America was named Student Chapter of the Year by the association at its 2024 World Conference and Club Business Expo, held March 4-8 in Las Vegas. This is the 13th time in its 15-year history that the chapter has been recognized as the top medium-sized chapter in the country.

The prestigious annual award is based on a series of factors, including the number and variety of educational programs offered, member employment and internships in clubs, membership growth, its relationship with the state chapter of CMAA, and member attendance at events.

“Being the Student Chapter of the Year is a great honor that recognizes the hard work and dedication of our student members and executive board,” said junior Molly Passow, president of the chapter. “Last year’s board set the chapter up for success through club tours, meetings with managers, our fundraiser dinner, and trips to develop our networks and knowledge of the club industry.”

"Throughout the past year, the Niagara chapter of CMAA has worked diligently in meeting all of the requirements that helped qualify them for the Chapter of the Year honors,” said Peter Florczak, hotel and club management coordinator. “The students should be very proud of their great accomplishment."

In addition to attending educational seminars, the students participated in the Shark Tank and Idea Fair competitions at the conference to encourage creativity and hone their public speaking skills.

Two student groups participated in the Shark Tank student competition. Althea Simmons, NU CMAA vice president, and Gabriella Cole, club treasurer, presented their idea, “Club Sitters,” which would provide country club members with a network of babysitters available to come to the club to watch their children. Passow and Valentina Krajacic’s idea was for an app called “LoyalTEE” that would create a fun and competitive element to training sessions and the work shift. The students placed second and third for their ideas.

The NU students also did well in the idea fair, which provides chapters the opportunity to showcase their strategies and accomplishments.

Hayden Carter’s entry in the Training Students category explained how the chapter provides students with hands-on experience that they can carry into their internships, while Simmons discussed how the chapter successfully recruits students through its dynamic club events and opportunities to attend the Great Lakes Regional Conference in her submission for the Recruitment and Retention category. Both students placed first in their categories.

The students also meet with Niagara alumnus Zachary McCarthy, ’09, MBA’11, CEO of Club Capital Group, to learn about his organization.

“All of these opportunities allow for student members to enhance their knowledge within the field and build professionalism that they can take with them in future endeavors,” Passow said.

Founded in 1927, the Club Management Association of America is the largest professional association for club management professionals. Its 6,800 members contribute to the success of more than 2,500 country, golf, athletic, city, faculty, military, town, and yacht clubs. The objectives of the association are to promote relationships between club management professionals and other similar professions; to encourage the education and advancement of members; and to provide the resources needed for efficient and successful club operations.

Niagara University’s College of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management offers undergraduate degree programs in hotel and restaurant management, sport and recreation management, and tourism and event management, as well as a graduate program in sport management. To learn more, please call 716.286.8279 or visit To learn more about Niagara University’s CMAA student chapter, please go to