Elon students assume leadership roles for U.S. Open fundraiser
Five students from the Department of Sport and Event Management have recruited volunteers, handled sales receipts and coordinated inventory this month at a concessions tent in Pinehurst, North Carolina, for the 2014 men’s and women’s U.S. Open Championships.
Elon University student efforts at a top national golf event helped to raise money for an endowed scholarship that benefits sport and event management majors.
A team comprised of students Aly Yarwood, Jake Stalzer, Jane Domeck, Matt Robertson and Brian Ahern recruited nearly 500 volunteers to staff a concession tent that sells burgers, hot dogs, soft drinks, beer and more to guests of the men’s and women’s U.S. Open Championships this month in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Most of those volunteers have direct ties to Elon, whether as students, alumni, parents, or faculty and staff, both active and retired.
"I have loved my experience so far,” said Yarwood, a rising senior in the Department of Sport and Event Management. “While the men’s open was a very long and tiring week, it has been a wonderful feeling to contribute to this fundraising effort to raise money for our endowed scholarship.”
Associate Professor Hal Walker, chair of the Department of Sport and Event Management, supervises the five students, three of whom are conducting formal internships under his guidance. Walker said he is amazed at the quality of their work and by the dedication of volunteers who, in some instances, drove several hours to make the fundraiser a success.
“Elon is a neat place with a lot of good people willing to assist others in our community,” Walker said.
The university benefitted in other unique ways from family and friends. The grandparents of a young alumnus offered use of their home in Pinehurst to house Walker and the five students. Elon President Emeritus J. Fred Young also opened up his home in the nearby Seven Lakes community for university leaders and trustees visiting the championships.
"Our first week at the U.S. Open was one of the more exhausting weeks of my life,” said Domeck, a rising Elon junior. “From waking up at 5 a.m. to standing all day performing a variety of physical tasks, we all were challenged by our work. However, looking back on the week, we had an enjoyable experience, we met a bunch of interesting people, learned about management at a major sporting event, and watched some world class golf in our off time."
This is the second time the Department of Sport and Event Management has assisted with concessions at the U.S. Open. In 2005, faculty and students operated a smaller concession operation at Pinehurst and made more than $16,000 to start the department’s endowed scholarship fund, which has since grown to nearly seven times the original amount.
The scholarship each year supports two students from the department who are earning academic credits for their required internships.
"Working a large concession operation at the U.S. Open has been a great experience so far,” said Stalzer, a rising Elon senior. “You get to interact with a variety of people and I’ve learned a great deal about behind-the-scene things that it takes to run a concession stand and how stressful but rewarding it can be."