Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

September 16 2015

Meet The Powerhouse EMC From Iowa State University

Eric Jacobson, Vice President, Ascend Integrated Media

The majority of the Heartland Chapter's members from Iowa are students from Iowa State University. And, this powerhouse group of students is doing great things. They're active on campus. Engaged with the Chapter. And, attending national-level events.

The Iowa State University: Event Management Club (EMC) is entering its fifth year. Earlier this month, the club met for the first time this academic year, and will continue to meet every Monday. The club’s logo phrase is, “We create, you celebrate.”

During its weekly meetings, club members discuss various topics, such as PCMA articles, issues, and events. Plus, local guest speakers are often invited to address the group.

In addition, the EMC selects a Convene magazine article each week and then discusses how it can incorporate the article ideas into future club organized meetings and events.

The past year has seen the club gain exposure on campus. For example, instead of only hosting its own events and fundraisers, the club is now also helping to organize events for other campus clubs, sororities, and other organizations.

“We have only been around four full academic years, but within the last two years our club has grown strong thanks to our collaboration with PCMA and the Heartland Chapter,” says club member Valerielizbeth Villa. “Now that our club is getting more recognition we are getting more meeting and event projects each year!

This fall semester, the EMC will organize the following community events:

  • March of Dimes Chefs Auction
  • College of Human Sciences Week: FunFest October
  • Relationship Seminar with David Colman
  • Annual Secret Signature Event (it changes every year. The EMC votes at the beginning of the academic year which event it wants to do and then announces it to ISU as a surprise)

During the school years and summers, club members also stay busy serving in internships, attending conferences, taking summer classes, and working jobs - jobs that range from working at CVB’s around the US to working on campus with summer events.

Club members also participate in various Heartland Chapter and PCMA national-sponsored events.  

“Most of our activities and national-sponsored events are funded through club fees and through club fundraisers that the club puts on throughout the academic year,” explains Villa.

“Heartland’s State of the Hospitality Industry in Kansas City has been selected to be part of our annual fall semester trips. We fundraise for the trips, including for Convening Leaders 2015 & 2016,” she adds.

Joining the EMC goes hand in hand with joining PCMA. Being a club member means that you will also have to become a PCMA student member.

According to Villa, the idea to collaborate with PCMA was started because the ISU Event/ Hospitality professors and the university’s Professor and Event Advisor, Jamie Beyer, wanted to give students more than in-class experience. “She directs and guides us to get a better understanding how the industry works and networks. Students grow as professionals when professionals are involved,” says Villa.

Jamie Beyer (left) and Liz Harris

The EMC encourages ISU students to join its club through several different activities:

  • Sponsoring a table at the annual ISU Clubfest; this gives the club the opportunity to recruit new members and promote PCMA to the ISU community.
  • The club president, Elizabeth Johnson, also promotes the club by being a guest speaker in courses that are in sync with the meetings and events field. 
  • The club creates gift baskets with buttons, a shirt, a cup, and candy for freshman; handed out throughout the campus dorm rooms.

What do ISU Chapter members like about belonging to PCMA?


Elizabeth Johnson, EMC President: "I like belonging to PCMA because of what I gained from volunteering at Convening Leaders. People would stop you for help and thank you for giving your time, and people would ask about you genuinely trying to get to know you. Even though the conference was so huge it was very welcoming and accepting of you.”

Lainey Crawford: "Belonging to PCMA is a wonderful networking opportunity. A lot of our club members were able to network with many professionals at the PCMA Convening Leaders conference. I also enjoyed volunteering at the event because it was a great learning experience and allowed me to gain a different perspective of the conference. I also enjoy reading the articles sent through email and in Convene to stay current on all of the trends and happenings in the events industry.”

Valerie Villa: "I like about belonging to PCMA because it’s all about growing in your industry. The opportunities are endless! Whether it’s learning to network or expanding your knowledge, people are always willing to help and share. It’s the notion of helping each other grow into better professionals from all over the world.”


Finally, special thanks to Jamie Beyer, professor and adivsor for juniors and seniors in event management. And, to Liz Harris, professor and advisor for freshmen and sophomores in event management!

Note: Watch for another article about this amazing group of students in the Chapter's Q4 newsletter!

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