Tourism student gains real life experience with festival

November 26, 2015

Ruth Noble at Issaquah City HallA final year Murdoch University tourism and marketing student gained a unique insight into a popular North American festival after helping to write and present a report evaluating the event.

Ruth Noble, who will be graduating in February, travelled to the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival in Washington on the West coast of the United States, to hand the report over to organisers.

The multi-day festival celebrates the annual migration of salmon returning to the Issaquah creek to spawn and embraces Issaquah’s history, culture and ethnic diversity.

“The event is run by passionate people who wish to sustain and celebrate their local environment,” explained Ruth.

“It was an amazing experience to attend the festival, meet and work alongside the many volunteers who make it possible.

“In our report we considered the capacity of the town to continue hosting the event and recommended that it be expanded to a month-long festival. It gave us the opportunity to apply everything we have learnt theoretically and practically on the tourism course on a real life case study.

“Having grown up in Karratha and been involved in its festival, I felt I had a deeper understanding of what such events mean to residents. The experience also opened my eyes to the nature and importance of volunteering in America. The Salmon Days festival is particularly reliant on its volunteers.”

Murdoch University’s involvement in the festival was instigated by Dr Diane Lee, a senior lecturer in the School of Arts, who volunteered for the Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH) in 2011 and the Salmon Days Festival.

As a lecturer in event policy and evaluation, Dr Lee said the festival presented a valuable opportunity for her students to gain real world experience and provide them with an international and client-based perspective on events. Their work on the event was part of their assessment in Dr Lee’s unit Events, Policy and Evaluation.

“There were 30 students working on various chapters in the report and they all became very attached to the festival,” said Dr Lee.

“The information they gathered and the theory they applied will provide invaluable insights for the organisers of Salmon Days.

“Beverley Lee from FISH said that Ruth jumped right in with the Salmon Days event, volunteering to set up and take down the festival and presenting the report to FISH board members. She also met the Mayor of Issaquah Fred Butler and told him her impressions of the event.

“The students did a fantastic job of pulling the report together and Ruth did a terrific job of presenting the report and representing Murdoch over there.”

After completing her tourism and marketing degree in semester one, Ruth has gone on to secure a job with Coles in their marketing graduate program.

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