Mount Union Students Gain Practical Experience Planning the 2009 Annual Sport Marketing Association International Conference
October 30, 2009
Students at Mount Union have been gaining practical experience planning the 2009 Annual Sports Marketing Association International Conference.
The sport business program at Mount Union will be hosting the conference on Wednesday, October 28 through Friday, October 30 at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. The 2009 conference, “Addressing Challenges, Providing Solutions” aims to bring together local and international sports marketing practitioners and academics to discuss sport marketing strategies and how to enhance and advance the sport industry. The agenda includes cutting-edge research sessions, keynote speakers and special events for conference attendees.
“Hosting the Sport Marketing Association conference is a terrific opportunity for the sport business program and Mount Union,” said Jim Kadlececk, associate professor of human performance and sport business, chair of the Department of Human Performance and Sport Business and conference director. “Hosting the event increases awareness of the Mount Union brand on a global basis and allows some of our sport business students to gain valuable experience and exposure to important issues facing the sport industry. It also provides us (Mount Union) with the opportunity to feature several of our alumni as keynote speakers.”
Individuals from around the world and across the United States will be attending the conference and students at Mount Union have had the opportunity to help organize the international conference. Seven Mount Union students serve as conference coordinators and three recent graduates of the institution have been helping with the event as well.
Dani Baxendale, a senior sport business major from Middleburg Heights, OH serves as one of the conference coordinators and is head of the program development and VIP logistics team. Over the past few months, she has been overseeing the development of all conference program materials and coordinating transportation schedules and lodging needs of VIP speakers, among other duties.
Baxendale has been given the opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge outside of the classroom and has learned various practical skills. “Organization is very important,” she said. “Events like this aren’t just thrown together – it takes a lot of planning, communication and hours of work.”
Two students – Sarah Eckersley, a senior sport business major from Lyndhurst, OH and Elyse Underwood, a junior sport business major from Orrville, OH – are co-coordinating the Career Day Conference on Friday, October 30. Some of their responsibilities include facilitating the operation of all activities pertaining to Career Day, serving as a liaison between the conference and speakers, coordinating attendee check-in and student bus transportation, as well as many other duties as needed.
Eckersley has learned that professionalism and teamwork have been integral throughout this process. “Although all of us are responsible for different tasks and assignments, we all have been working together to make this event possible,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the actual event itself and seeing all of our hard work pay off.”
Underwood noted that being behind the scenes is her favorite part. “I never realized how much hard work, preparation and attention to detail are necessary to run this type of event until I became a part of it.”
Tiffany Oster, a senior business administration major from Newbury, OH also serves as a conference coordinator. Oster, who is pursuing a minor in sport business explained that she has always been an avid sports fan her entire life. “Why not go into something you enjoy and are passionate about?”
She has been busy managing registration materials, compiling information packets and fulfilling various pre-event duties. This practical experience working with professionals has allowed for her to expand her network and build upon her professionalism.
“I’ve been given the opportunity to correspond with high-ranked professionals within the sports industry,” said Oster. “My favorite part has been communicating with Leigh Castergine, the director of sales and fan relations for the Boston Bruins.”
Last year's conference was held on the Gold Coast of Australia and next year the conference will be held in New Orleans, LA.