U.S. Open fundraiser builds Elon scholarship fund

Five sport and event management majors helped manage a concession tent during men's and women's golf championships this summer in Pinehurst, North Carolina, and proceeds from their effort will benefit a scholarship program for Elon students completing sport and event mangagement internships.

Students studying sport and event management made a gift of $20,000 to Elon University this week with money from their June fundraising efforts at the men’s and women’s U.S. Open Championships.

Jane Domeck, Matt Robertson, Jake Stalzer, Brian Ahern & Aly Yarwood helped recruit and coordinate hundreds of volunteers to work shifts at concession tents during both golf tournaments in Pinehurst, North Carolina. On Sept. 29, they and classmates in the Premier Sport and Event Society student group presented a ceremonial check to Rob Bacchus, the university’s director of annual giving.

The gift supports an existing scholarship fund that helps two students each year with sport and event management internships. Many internships are unpaid and must be completed for credit, said Associate Professor Hal Walker, chair of the Department of Sport and Event Management.

“While seeking a large number of volunteers is always challenging, it is heartwarming to consistently see people coming forward to support efforts such as this,” Walker said. “Many volunteers are interested in golf, while others simply want to help out and contribute to a good cause. Speaking of causes, this is not only a good cause – it is a great cause. Our program requires a full-time internship and our goal is to help students with financial need offset the costs related to these internships.”

The five Elon students were provided with free housing for the entire two weeks of both tournaments. Sport and event management alumnus Jay Lassiter ’14 has grandparents, David and Mary Kathryn Simpson, who own a home in Pinehurst. Walker said the “donation” of the home for two weeks was an important part of the group’s overall success.

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 to start the department’s endowed scholarship fund, which has since grown to just under $150,000.  

Additional funds have been earned through donations and fundraising efforts by students, notably those in the Premier Sport and Event Society, and department faculty.

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