Niagara University’s student chapter of the Club Managers Association of America was named 2021 Student Chapter of the Year.

Niagara University’s student chapter of the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) was named Student Chapter of the Year by the association at its 2022 World Conference and Club Business Expo, held Feb. 19-23 in San Diego, Calif.

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.

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Kaitlynn Dauphinee and Gigi Ortiz won the Student Shark Tank Competition.

In addition, two of the members, Gabriella Ortiz, the chapter’s president, and Kaitlynn Dauphinee, its secretary, won the Student Shark Tank Competition, which challenged students to come up with an idea or product that could benefit the club industry. Ortiz and Dauphinee were one of three student teams selected to present their idea to a panel of industry professionals and other conference attendees. Their proposal of a subscription box that would enable employers to send employees tokens of appreciation as a way to retain and engage them, was chosen as the best, based on its applicability and creativity. Ortiz and Dauphinee’s presentation skills and professional appearance also were taken into consideration. 

“They did a wonderful job talking about the benefits, the cost involved, and the return on the investment,” said Dr. Deborah Curtis, associate professor in the College of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management, CMAA advisor.

During the conference, in addition to educational seminars and networking opportunities, students can interview for summer internships and full-time jobs at clubs throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The Niagara University CMAA Student Colony was established on March 30, 2006, and granted charter by the Club Management Association of America as a student chapter on April 1, 2007. The students who are part of the chapter are required to complete a rigorous schedule of educational, networking, and professional development events, and work at a CMAA-affiliated club each summer between academic semesters.

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


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