February 12, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- Twelve Western Michigan University students have traveled to Florida to learn about the real world in the land of make-believe by participating in the Walt Disney World College Program.
The program provides a unique, multifaceted experience designed to increase practical knowledge of the various Disney entertainment and resort industries. The selected students are part of Disney's spring program, which began in January. They will be the first group to work in Disney's fourth theme park, Animal Kingdom.
The WMU students joined other undergraduate students from more than 200 colleges and universities throughout the nation. Since Disney representatives began recruiting at WMU in 1993, more than 90 WMU students have participated in the program and have joined the ranks of more than 30,000 college program alumni worldwide.
Students are hired through an interview process and must be pursuing their degrees full time and in good academic standing at WMU.
The college program consists of three components: living, learning and working experiences. Students live in the Vista Way apartment complex, located on the Disney property. Participants share fully furnished two- and three-bedroom apartments with students from other colleges and universities.
The learning aspect, called the Walt Disney World College Program Educational Curriculum, involves core business classes, elective seminars and self-directed study opportunities. Five core business classes focus on the Disney culture, situational leadership, communication, the business world and cultural change. These seminars include lectures, interactive case studies, and individual and group activities. The electives allow students to personalize their learning experience and provide networking opportunities with professionals from various departments and disciplines within the Walt Disney World Resort.
The work experience places students in positions at the various theme parks, resorts and other Disney operations. Students serve as "cast members" in areas such as merchandising, transportation, attractions, food services, custodial services, lifeguarding and hospitality.
While many of the students are receiving academic credit for the program, they also have an opportunity to receive a "Mousters" or "Ducktorate" degree upon successful completion of the program.
After successfully completing the program, students may apply for advanced internships that enable them to obtain more focused experience in a specific field. More than 60 advanced internship opportunities are offered, ranging from the Disney Cruise Line Marketing Internship to the Horticulture Internship.
Upon their return to campus, the students will become members of the Walt Disney World Program Alumni Chapter of WMU, which was established in 1996 to provide networking opportunities as well as promote the development of the Walt Disney World College Program at WMU.
Key: State, city, student's name, home address. Class, major, position.
BEAR LAKE-- Peter J. Ware, 9788 Chippewa Highway. A junior majoring in retailing, he is serving as a transportation host.
BATTLE CREEK-- Ryan B. Mowinski, 7562 Poorman Road. A freshman majoring in general business, he is serving as a merchandise host.
BURTON-- Rebecca L. Thompson, 4406 Springfield. A sophomore majoring in general business, she is serving as a merchandise host.
INKSTER-- Devan Stephens, 28952 Oakwood. A freshman majoring in communication, she is serving as an attractions host.
MOUNT CLEMENS -- Ericka T. Guy, 20 Mulligan Drive. A senior majoring in biology, she is serving as an intern at The Living Seas in EPCOT. She also participated in the Walt Disney World College Program in Spring 1997 as an attractions host.
PORTLAND-- Douglas J. Snitgen, 7870 Dawn Drive. A sophomore majoring in marketing, he is serving as an attractions host.
SAGINAW-- Alison M. Wood, 5157 Dewberry Drive. A sophomore majoring in general business, she is serving as a lifeguard host.
SOUTHGATE-- Robert W. Aquilina, 12575 Shery Lane. A junior majoring in food marketing, he is serving as a quick service restaurant host.
WATERVLIET-- Nicholas Schultz, 6769 N. Watervliet Road. A freshman majoring in communication, he is serving as a merchandise host.
LANSING-- Julie C. Schuldt, 2843 191st Place. A junior majoring in exercise science, she is serving as a merchandise host.
LEMONT-- Christina J. Nogol, 18 W. 432 91st St. A freshman majoring in marketing, she is serving as a merchandise host.
OAK LAWN-- Nicolette E. Dinolfo, 10024 S. Major. A freshman majoring in University curriculum, she is serving as an attractions host.
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA