As a Hospitality, Retail and Sports Management (HSRM) student at The University of South Carolina, Bennett Velasquez strives to become a leader in the hospitality industry on matters of sustainability and the environment. His desire is to find responsible ways to lessen overall waste where possible in the hospitality and tourism industry and create “smart business tactics.” Due to his strong passion for sustainability in the hospitality industry, Bennett Velasquez discusses the latest trends.
Solar Energy Roofs and Energy Saving Windows
During his studies, Bennett Velasquez has noticed the increasing trend among hotels of solar energy roofs and energy-saving windows. More and more hotels are opting for adding solar panels to their rooftops to help power the building and reduce energy consumption. Many new properties are also making installing energy-saving windows a priority. These windows help keep the temperature inside the room and reduce energy consumption.
Saving the Bees
Although not many people know this, the bee population is in rapid decline due to industrial agriculture, pesticides, parasites, and climate change. The decrease in the bee population could have a significant effect on biodiversity. Hotels such as the Waldorf Astoria, New York have begun to take steps to save the bee population. Some other hotels that keep bees on their roofs include the Mandarin Oriental (Paris), W (Taipei), Fairmont Waterfront (Vancouver), and St. Ermin’s Hotel (London).
Food Waste Reduction
Bennett Velasquez mentions that research shows the hotel industry produces 5 to 7 million tons of food waste a year. To reduce their overall food waste, hotels are taking significant steps to remedy this issue. Some hotels have considered implementing à la carte menus instead of buffets to minimize excess food. Other hotels are focusing on sourcing local produce and adding only seasonal foods to their menus. Composting programs to help hotels dispose of food are becoming more and more common. On-site herb gardens are also on the rise.
Bennett Velasquez is a freshman at The University of South Carolina in Columbia. Although he just started his college career, he is the recipient of the Garnet Scholarship and the South Carolina Life Scholarship. Bennett is a Green Scholar at USC and is the Carolina Sustainable Newcomer of the Year. He also has been invited to attend the prestigious and competitive Cesar Ritz Hotel and Hospitality Management School in Switzerland.