A Whirlwind of an Adventure, Ending at Drexel

Wonderful Whirl Thru Philly dinner

As 75 Philadelphia hotel professionals raced around the city on a breakneck 8-hour adventure, what kept them going? For some, it may have been this thought: “Gotta get to Drexel.”

The finish line for the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association’s sixth annual Wonderful Whirl Thru Philly scavenger hunt was Drexel University’s Academic Bistro, where hospitality and culinary students prepared a congratulatory reception for the participants.

Sponsored by SugarHouse Casino, the July 11 Philly Whirl sent employees and managers from prestigious Philadelphia hotels to numerous local landmarks in the city, like the “Rocky Steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the historic Eastern State Penitentiary, before finishing in University City at the Bistro. The teams solved clues and challenges while exploring Philadelphia neighborhoods including Society Hill, Rittenhouse Square and South Street on foot. The goal: To better familiarize themselves with what the city has to offer their guests. And at the end, they got to meet Drexel students.

“One of our focuses has been to connect our students with the industry in meaningful ways beyond co-op,” said Jonathan Deutsch, professor and director of the Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts and Food Science program in the Goodwin College of Professional Studies. “This event gave us the opportunity to host the leaders of the Philadelphia hospitality industry in our space to interact informally with students, and to encourage them to think of Drexel first when they need employees, training, research or other support.”

Though the Drexel department has partnered with the GPHA in the past, this was the first time the culinary program sponsored the Philly Whirl.

“Our students volunteered at the event and got to network, which is why we originally suggested having the Bistro serve as a finish line,” said Jessica Apgar, program assistant.

Hospitality and culinary students held a happy hour event for the participants. Six students worked the event and many other students in the culinary program stopped by to meet the guests.

Employees of the Four Seasons, Windsor Suites, Courtyard Marriott, Hilton Homewood Suites, Where Traveler magazine and Hilton Garden Inn participated in the scavenger hunt and then mingled with the Drexel students.

“It was great having all of the hotel professionals and the representatives from SugarHouse Casino in our space, meeting our students and getting to see what we’re all about,” Apgar said.

According to its website, the GPHA has served the interests of 87 hotels and more than 140 allied members in the Delaware Valley region for the past two decades.

For more photos on Drexel’s involvement with Wonderful Whirl Thru Philly, check out the photo album on the Facebook page for Drexel’s Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts and Food Science Department.