Rec and Sport Management Students Engage in Active Learning with DSU Athletics

By Joseph Lovell

Over Easter weekend, Brooks the Bison welcomed over 160 youth to campus for the inaugural Brooks’ Buddies Easter Egg hunt. This event was a collaboration between DSU Athletics and Recreation and Sport Management (RSM) students in the Program and Experience Design class taught by Dr. Joseph Lovell.  The class provided a programming model for student groups to follow as they partnered with community agencies to facilitate an event that would provide a real-world experience as well as benefit the partnering agency. Students have been meeting with Wendi Bulkley, associate athletic director-external relations, almost weekly since January.  The students started by assessing the member needs of the Brook’s Buddies Club as well as how to improve attendance at spring sporting events.  An Easter egg hunt was the outcome of the assessment and the students went to work planning the event, which included creating goals and objectives and an operations plan for the event as well as scheduling the activity as a precursor to the DSU softball and baseball games.  With the creation of a budget for the event, students then ventured into the community to solicit donations and sponsorships.  With the guidance of Mrs. Bulkley, the group was successful in raising over $1,000 in donations and supplies as Bay Equity became the presenting sponsor. The students then began to implement the event by creating a marketing campaign that included social media, email blasts, fliers, and radio ads.  In addition, the students purchased and gathered supplies, recruited volunteers, and set-up the area including hiding all the eggs.  Leif Johnson, a RSM major and member of the student group, felt the experience was a success although uncertain at times. He said, “There was a bit of worry on how the event would go when we were setting up, but when people started coming and we sent the kids out to get eggs, the joy of the kids removed all worry from my mind.  It was great to actually apply what we were learning in class and see the positive outcome.” After the egg hunt, most of the participants stayed and watched the softball and baseball teams cruise to victory both winning with a score of 13-4.  In the evaluation stage of the programming process, the increase in attendance at the games as well as the positive feedback gathered from the participants, the students accomplished their goals and objectives as well as stayed under budget and concluded the event was a success. Bay Equity was also excited about the turn-out. Ben Zitting, Senior Loan Officer at Bay Equity, said “This was great!  It was everything that I expected and more. I’m excited for next year and what we can do to make it even better.” In total, there were over 500 community members including grandparents, parents and kids that showed up for the event.  There were roughly 3,600 eggs hidden, multiple prizes for special eggs, and a variety of activities for children to participate in while waiting their turn to hunt eggs.  Mrs. Bulkley was pleased with the result and the interaction the RSM students had with the kids. She said, “It was so much fun to see the excitement from the community as they met Brooks the Bison, received their Easter basket and received an autograph from our baseball team. What a great spring event and a fun way to meet and greet our Trailblazer Student-Athletes.  The Rec and Sport students were so cute with the kids and created an event that was very memorable for all who attended.” To learn more about the Recreation and Sport Management program, please visit the RSM webpage.  To continue to support Dixie State Athletics check out their upcoming games.