UCLA Conferences & Catering shines during Bruin Family Weekend

As the sun rose on UCLA, there was already a flurry of activity permeating as the campus prepared for Bruin Family Weekend. This annual tradition welcomes thousands of guests from across the nation and around the world who gather to spend time with their students in their lives, most of whom are freshman, and learn more about  what makes UCLA  the No. 1 public university in the nation.

In total, the campus welcomed roughly 5,000 individuals over the two days event.

A critical component of events, no matter the size, is food, and UCLA Conferences & Catering works to help clients keep their hungry guests happy.

“Bruin Family Weekend is one of our largest events of the year,” said Samantha Chan, director of UCLA Conferences, Catering and Events, which provides planning expertise, professional catering services and meeting rooms all year round, plus overnight accommodations during the summer. “People expect a lot from UCLA because of its world-class reputation and commitment to excellence, and our campus catering operations are no different. We put our all into making every event match that standard.”

In nearby kitchens, talented chefs, cooks and bakers had been chopping, cutting, assembling, blending, mixing and finishing items to be delivered for two breakfast events. In addition, banquet staff are gathering equipment, loading trucks and charting floor plans. One event held in Dickson Plaza welcomed parents and families, while other one held on the Ahmanson Terrace at Royce Hall was for UCLA alumni.

And this was only the beginning.

By noon, the team had prepared and delivered lunch to six different “Meet the Dean” events and were preparing for dinner service. They also provided breakfast service the following morning.

“An event like this requires a great deal of logistics, planning and care,” said Chan. “Everything needs to be perfect.”

The same care and dedication to excellence also extends to smaller gatherings,” said Chan, noting that groups as small as 20 can order catering from her team for their meetings, celebrations and other events. UCLA Conferences & Catering can also help with meeting spaces at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center and various other locations at UCLA.

“We’re really a one-stop shop for events at UCLA. It’s something we take extreme pride in.”

Cozy, mid-week mountain stay or family holiday getaway

There is no question that remote and hybrid work and learning are here to stay. The ability to log in to meetings and handle assignments from virtually anywhere is an exciting approach to what used to feel mundane. For those staying at the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Lodge, mid-week escapes allow people the benefit of getting back to nature and for creativity and fresh-thinking to flourish in a beautiful environment. Right now, our mid-week stays start at just $179 per night. This year alone, the Lodge has welcomed a variety of visitors to the mountains to mix work and learning with fun, adventure and relaxation.

Many of these visitors are parents with children who are looking for a fun way to spend time together away from screens and other distractions. With Spring Break approaching, lots of families will be visiting us from April 6-9 for our all-inclusive Spring Break Family Holiday stay. Spaces are still available if you’d like to join us!

If you’ve been here you know this is a pretty special place. And If you haven’t, you need to experience it. Here are just a few of the things that make the Lake Arrowhead Lodge the No. 1 hotel in Lake Arrowhead, a Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award recipient for the past three years and a must-visit destination for so many in 2023.

Amazing food

Meal planning, shopping and preparing meals are off the table while you’re here. Each day starts with a hearty breakfast made fresh by an award-winning culinary team. Guests converge in the dining room to enjoy a full buffet and the company of other guests. And just when you think things can’t get better it does because you are welcomed back for a buffet lunch and a plated sit-down dinner, too! Come see why guests like you voted to make us a 2023 Diners’ Choice Award winner.

Fantastic rooms

Unlike standard hotels, our accommodations have real personality. Whether you come solo bring your spouse, children, friends or colleagues, we have a chalet to suit your needs. Accommodations range from one-bedroom plus twin loft to our four-bedroom Briar Creek house that sleeps up to 10 people. Many of our  accommodations also come with decks and fireplaces for that little something special. Some even have kitchenettes and full kitchens.

Free activities

There is certainly lots to see and do here. Not only do guests have access to our fitness center and jacuzzi, there is also a host of great outdoor activities for those who like to hike, bike, bird-watch and enjoy getting back to nature. In 2020, we introduced a 12 stop self-guided history tour, which guests really enjoy. And nothing captures the magic of a mountain night under the stars than s’mores over a crackling campfire.

Off-site fun

Lake Arrowhead and its surrounding communities are also pretty cool places. Get out and enjoy our surroundings with shopping, dining and events in Lake Arrowhead Village, outdoor adventures at SkyPark, the slopes at Snow Valley Ski Resort, exciting Lake Arrowhead Queen Boat Tours and arid forests and majestic mountains in San Bernardino National Forest. There is no time like now to experience this kind of SoCal experience. For a limited time, enjoy rates for midweek stays (Sunday – Thursday) starting at just $179 per night, based on availability.

Conference goers mix it up in UCLA’s new teaching kitchen

When the team at the Luskin Conference Center and Hotel has an opportunity to elevate a meeting, group stay or conference by offering a little something extra to the experience, they look to the resources available at UCLA to do it. Unlike other hotels, the Luskin resides in the heart of the nation’s No. 1 public university and one of the most well-known campuses in the world. This allows the Luskin to bring a myriad of unique experiences to their clients and guests.

Members of the global Teaching Kitchen Collaborative know this first-hand. The group recently held a three-day hybrid research conference featuring discussions, presentations and breakout sessions. A highlight of the event was a series of pre-taped cooking demonstrations enjoyed on-site by some and streamed online for those attending remotely.

Leveraging a new state-of-the-art teaching kitchen that opened in one of UCLA’s new student residences in Fall 2022, guests not only watched some of UCLA’s talented chefs prepare dishes in front of them, they also participated at 25 individual stations equipped with all the necessary tools to participate in following along in the cooking demos.

This was the first time that conference goers had worked in this space, as the teaching kitchen is primarily designed for UCLA students, but the space was be available at the particular time and offered a wonderful experience that was perfectly aligned with the mission of the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative.

This was not the first time that Luskin event guests have participated in cooking classes. As part of its efforts to create fun and engaging team-building events, the Luskin sales and events team has invited UCLA chefs to the conference center to guide small teams in the creation of a multi-course meal that the group prepares and then enjoys together. Meeting and conference guests have also had opportunities to step out of their comfort zone and build trust with one another by climbing on UCLA Recreation’s ropes course.

Another fun option has been to hold receptions steps away from the Luskin in UCLA’s Morgan Center, which is home to the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame, 120 NCAA championship trophies (more than any other school in the nation) and a replica of renowned basketball coach John Wooden’s den.

UCLA Hospitality creates new events team

Meetings and conferences at UCLA have always been fantastic, but now they are even better. After strategizing ways to amplify the talents of our Conferences & Catering professionals for the betterment of our guests and clients, a new events team has emerged.

“We are expanding UCLA’s meeting servicing expertise to now include the Luskin Conference Center,” said Samantha Chan, director of conferences, catering and events, who leads the team.

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