Catskill Hospitality Institute and Sullivan 180 Offering New Course On Creating Public Spaces This Spring at SUNY Sullivan

Course Explores Caring for Public Spaces and Their Value to Business, Tourism, and Community Health and Wellness

The beauty of the Sullivan Catskills has been an enduring draw to tourists and new residents for generations and one of the main drivers of the region’s rich history of hospitality business. Building on that heritage, the Catskill Hospitality Institute at SUNY Sullivan and Sullivan 180 are launching a new elective course this fall exploring the planning, management, and value of public spaces.

The courtyard at Monticello’s E. B. Crawford Public Library. Photo credit: E. B. Crawford Public Library.

The unique new course, Creating and Activating Public Spaces, will introduce students to the importance of public spaces for community health and wellness; careers and opportunities associated with caring for public spaces, facilities and grounds, parks, and main streets; and an understanding of the effort to engage citizens in creating public spaces. Finally, this course will connect students to the natural resources and growing tourism and recreational opportunities in Sullivan County.

“Students in this course will not only define and understand placemaking, but also explore how public spaces interact and benefit tourism and hospitality, as well as the greater community,” said Catskill Hospitality Institute Director Justine Hoskin. “Given this area’s hospitality heritage, and the continuing tourism draw of the beauty of the Sullivan Catskills, it is on the next generation of hospitality leaders learn more about and embrace the value behind public spaces.”

Placemaking is an approach to planning, designing, and managing public spaces with the intention of using a community’s assets, inspiration, and potential to create public spaces that improve community vitality and promote health and wellness.

“So many memorable guest experiences are built off of all that we have to offer just outside the lodging doors,” said Hoskin. “Our business and culinary students will be the entrepreneurs opening businesses on many of our Main Streets. They will need to consider the value of placemaking for their businesses’ success and for the health and wellness of the people and communities they serve.”

“I’m thrilled to work with SUNY Sullivan and the Catskill Hospitality Institute to bring this course to life,” said Sullivan 180 Community Development and Communications Manager Shannon Cilento, who is teaching the Public Spaces course. “Creating great public spaces is not just about designing a beautiful place, but about activating it and establishing it as a multidimensional destination.”

With the course’s focus on health and wellness, Hoskin says she sees a great value for students within the Catskill Hospitality Institute, as well as in other disciplines.

“Having the opportunity to partner with Sullivan 180 was exciting knowing that they are catalysts in our community to promote health and wellness, and that is something we all can and should be learning from,” said Hoskin.

HUM 1350: Creating and Activating Public Spaces, is running this spring on Tuesdays from 1 pm– 3:40 pm. For more information about SUNY Sullivan’s spring course offerings or to register, visit or call the Office of Admissions at 845-434-5750, ext. 4287, or email

The Sullivan Promise Scholarship provides eligible Sullivan County residents who earn a high school diploma or GED in 2023 the opportunity to receive free tuition and fees at SUNY Sullivan. Learn more at

About Sullivan 180

Sullivan 180 is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a healthy community through people, places, and policy; with an intentional focus on prevention and empowering a healthier generation. Through initiatives and collaborations with community partners and volunteers, Sullivan 180 is committed to making Sullivan County a healthier place to live, learn, work, play, and raise a family. For more information, visit

About The Catskill Hospitality Institute

The Catskill Hospitality Institute at SUNY Sullivan prepares students who are passionate about the service industries to become hospitality managers, culinary arts leaders, and tourism experts. For more information, visit


November 27, 2023.

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