Over the past few weeks I have been working on a very interesting project. I had the opportunity to interview a fellow classmate and find out a little bit about them. At the beginning of the process I was excited because I didn’t really know anything about my classmate so I was eager to find out more.
The first step I took in this process was simply talking to the student I was interviewing and try and get a feel for what they like and are interested in. I soon found that he was an avid baseball fan and that he loved to travel. As you will see in the interview he was able to study abroad in a place that is known for producing world class baseball talent. I also discovered that Washington is not his home state and he was actually born in the Bronx which I thought that was very cool.
After we talked for a while I had a good idea about that questions I wanted to ask so that I could get genuine answers on topics that he cared about. This was really cool because he was able to share even more than I expected in the interview and gave a unique perspective into his life. He also shared the reason he chose WSU which I find interesting that he had wanted to be a coug since he was a child so that really shows how special WSU is to him.
After the interview took place I had to cut down all of the footage and edit some which is too bad because there was many interesting facts about him that I couldn’t add to the video due to time constraints. With that said looking back after all of the editing, I am proud of how it turned out and if you would like to watch it the video is below.
Most people who attend college have relatively the same experience. They spend 4-5 years there studying most of the time with some fun mixed in between. After they graduate they will root for their alma mater and may even visit the campus every once in a while. But what is it that they come back for? Is it the scenery or the reminder of all the great times they had or even a favorite restaurant they would go to as a student. I would guess probably a mixture of all 3 for most college grads. Here at WSU alumni have a different reason. Yes, while they may come back for all the things others do there is something different about WSU. The culture here is something that I truly believe no other school has. I couldn’t say where it comes from but anyone who has attended or worked at WSU can tell you it’s there and is powerful. SO powerful that alumni will go out of there way to see current and future students not just succeed in life but excel to their full potential.
The power of this culture was seen first hand at the WSU Sport Management Career fair on March 31, 2017. This career fair was a way for many different professionals across the sports world to give students tips and advice over a wide variety of different sports related issues. The majority of these speakers are WSU alumni who had to travel from across the country to give their insight and they did it because they care about the future of WSU students. It’s not very often that alumni will go to certain lengths on their own dime to benefit the future grads of their alma mater.
This is a copy from the schedule of the career fair. As you can see the speakers were not just professors or coaches at WSU but came from across the country to give valuable insight to all of the students that attended.
This tweet coming from one of the main speakers at the career fair just days after it occurred. All of these examples go to show that being a coug is way more than putting on the crimson and grey on game days. It’s about helping out those who are coming behind you not for personal gain but because you genuinely care about them even if you have never met them before.
Being a transfer Junior and coming from a small Community College I had never experienced anything like this before. During football games random alumni would come up to me and be interested in who I am even though they had never met me before. Being a coug is something that should never be taken for granted because it’s people like this that help pass the sense of cougar pride down from one generation to the next.
Early in December of 2016 the WSU Cougar football team was unsure if they would be playing in a bowl game. Their opponent the Minnesota Golden Gophers team captains announced that they would be boycotting the Holiday Bowl on December 16th. This was due to 10 players being suspended by the Minnesota administration who the players believed were not treated fairly. If this boycott would have continued the implications that this would have had on sport managers for multiple institutions would have been huge.
With the boycott announced just 11 days before the Holiday Bowl there were many concerns of what would happen. There was talk of allowing Northern Illinois University to replace Minnesota and play against WSU. The problem with this would have been that many of their student athletes had gone back to their homes for winter break and would have to head back to campus immediately. Also with this boycott occurring with such short notice the team had stopped practicing for nearly a month and the players were probably not in the best shape. This could have increased the chance of injury and would have given WSU an unfair advantage.
To combat the problems previously stated the Holiday Bowl said it would push back the date of the game for a few days to let NIU travel and prepare. With one problem fixed another problem arises which has to deal with the fans who had planned on the game being on the 27th. Fans from all over the country were planning on coming to San Diego for that date and if the game moved back this would concern many people who had already bought airplane tickets and reserved hotels. If this happened it would be a PR nightmare for the Holiday Bowl and would result in very few people being able to attend the game.
Thankfully the football team at Minnesota ended it’s boycott a day before the Holiday Bowl had to make a decision on the game. This goes to show the importance for sport managers to create a strong contingency plan for any event in case of an emergency.
As a sport management major it’s important to understand how to connect with your consumers. If this is done effectively you will have them coming back to you and consuming what you are providing. I expect that this course will teach me how to connect with those consumers and keep them interested in whatever product my company may be selling. I intend to learn how to do this through creating a website, learning how to properly run social media accounts, and write productive and informative press releases. All of these things are important when working in the sport industry and I look forward to improving my skills in all of these categories.