UMSL sport management students travel to Super Bowl LVII
More than 113 million people across the country tuned in to watch the thrilling contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 12. However, 13 lucky sport management students and one graduate of the program watched the big game from the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
The students were among the thousands of volunteers who contributed to the production of the biggest sporting event in the country. They worked from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on the upper concourse level of the stadium, helping fans find stadium amenities and their way to their seats and answering questions.
Karen Boleska, assistant teaching professor and director of the sport management program in the College of Education, noted that five members of this year’s crew – Amanda Barry, Alex Elmore, Hannah Karl, Kalyn Ohrt and Emily Vanhooser – earned leadership positions as shift captains and shift coaches for their volunteer teams.
“With that, which I thought was the coolest thing, they got walkie talkies,” Boleska said. “So, we got to hear the NFL and how they communicate, how they go up the hierarchy and how they put out fires. I thought it was really cool that we got to hear that side of it.”
Senior Davis Volpitto said it was rewarding to learn on the job and find that he could adapt quickly even during the commotion of an event like the Super Bowl.
“You’re pretty much being thrown right into the deep end,” he said. “You kind of had to navigate it, but you had help too, which was nice.”
In addition to volunteering, the students took time to network and take in some local sights during the weeklong trip. The group attended a networking event for sport management students at Chase Field – home to the Arizona Diamondbacks – and received a private tour of the stadium. The UMSL delegation also hosted a pizza party for student volunteers from two other universities. Several students stayed in Arizona for a few extra days to explore Phoenix and see the Grand Canyon.
The natural wonder is likely the only thing that could rival the spectacle of the Super Bowl.
“This was my second Super Bowl,” Ohrt said. “It doesn’t get any less unreal. When you’re there the second time, it’s still just breathtaking and unreal.”
Here’s what they saw:
Fellow volunteers work to prepare the field before fans enter the stadium.
The pregame ceremonies get underway.
The Chiefs fans, including several UMSL students, celebrate after the win.
Fans trickle out of the stadium after the game.
Hannah Karl poses with the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the Super Bowl Experience.
A group of students gets a closer look at Chase Field after a networking event at the ballpark.
Several students tour the Grand Canyon after the Super Bowl.
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