The stage is set for Super Bowl 50 – and 11 Niagara University students will be working behind the scenes as the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos in the National Football League’s showcase event next Sunday.
The students, all enrolled in Niagara’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, will set out Wednesday for Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. During their six days on the West Coast, the students will get a first-hand look at what goes into organizing one of the world’s largest sporting events.
This marks the seventh year in a row that Niagara has sent students to the Super Bowl.
Niagara students will have the opportunity to participate in many activities leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. They will greet visitors, join a media party and try out the NFL Experience, the league’s interactive theme park, among other activities.
On Super Bowl Sunday, the sport and recreation management majors will be working with NFL On Location at a sold-out, pregame VIP party adjacent to the stadium.
“The trip is a valuable experience for students and will assist them in learning about all aspects of business, especially hospitality and tourism management,” said Dr. Youngsoo Choi, an assistant professor and program coordinator of sport and recreation management. He will be one of two university employees chaperoning the students.
“The outstanding education that students receive at Niagara University will help open doors for them, but the experiences we provide for them outside of the classroom will make them extremely attractive to employers after graduation,” he noted.
Participating students include: Justine Pugliese of Lewiston; Zach Monell of Lockport; Shaun O’Lay of North Tonawanda; Taylor Bosket of Syracuse; Doran Brandt of Sodus Point; Jennifer Getty of Canastota; Shawn Gillen of Schenectady; Scott Goodwin and Michael Paglicci, both of Buffalo; Jacqueline Porras of Queens; and Nick Wojcicki of West Seneca. All of the students are sport and recreation management majors. Pugliese is pursuing a master’s in sport management at Niagara.
Interested students undergo a fairly rigorous process to be chosen. Resumes and cover letters are collected and interviews are conducted to determine which students to take. Each student covers approximately $1,000 for airfare and hotel accommodations.
The students will take part in on-site training Thursday, then they will meet Niagara alumni during a gathering Saturday in San Francisco at the home of Kevin O’Shea, Class of 1990.
On Sunday, the students will serve in numerous hospitality positions inside the stadium, where more than 70,000 fans are expected to see the NFL crown a champion. An estimated 120 million viewers are projected to watch the game on television. The students return to Niagara on Feb. 9.
On-site service-learning experiences are offered regularly by Niagara’s program. For example, sport management students have recently volunteered during Major League Baseball’s spring training and the NCAA Final Four.
Niagara offers undergraduate degrees in hotel and restaurant management, sport and recreation management, and tourism and event management, as well as a master’s in sport management. For more information, call 286-8279 or visit: www.niagara.edu/hospitality.