Academics and Research

DU team wins first place at Global Spa & Wellness Summit

If the University of Denver ever decides to build a student spa, there are three undergraduate students who would make excellent consultants.

Molly Tomkins, Jing Wan and Lian Duan, from the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, took first place at the fourth annual Global Spa & Wellness Summit student challenge held in Aspen, Colo., June 3–6. The DU team was the only team at the conference made up of undergraduate students.

The challenge was to design a spa of the future that is profitable and practical. The students, with help from Associate Professor Cheri Young, created a concept spa called “Defiant!” Their concept was marketed to teen girls specifically. “Defiant!” would provide special teen treatments and help girls build confidence through an enrichment program addressing issues such as body image and self-care. The spa also would feature a “VIG”—or “Very Important Girl”—membership card.

“All of us at the Knoebel School are extremely proud of the creative, professional work our students did under Dr. Young’s direction,” says Knoebel School Director David Corsun. “The industry response to their spa concept and to them was absolutely tremendous. We believe their performance was accretive to our branding efforts and definitely put us among the elite hospitality education institutions in the eyes of the spa world.”

For winning the competition, the students were awarded $1,000, a trophy and a certificate of achievement. The Walt Disney Co. has invited the team to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., to present the concept to executives and to comment on Disney’s new spa for kids.







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