As runners crossed the finish line on May 19 at the annual Jog for Jim 5K fundraiser, the University of Oregon students affiliated with the Lundquist College of Business's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center were the ones breathing a sigh of relief. They had successfully crossed their own finish line--securing sponsors; coordinating everything from registrations to road closures; organizing musical entertainment, refreshments, and t-shirt giveaways; and ultimately raising thousands of dollars for Parkinson's disease research.
The Jog for Jim fundraiser was just one of three student-run events organized by Warsaw Center students during the past couple of months. Undergraduates from the Warsaw Sports Business Club also coordinated the Annual Warsaw Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament on April 28 to raise money for the Stephen Dember Memorial Scholarship Fund. And Oregon M.B.A. students successfully held the eleventh Women in Sports Business Symposium (WSBS) on May 24, permanently moving the event to Portland, Oregon, and announcing plans to hold a sister event in Shanghai, China, in September 2008.
Although these events are slightly different in nature, they all challenge students to apply lessons learned in class about sponsorships, finance, marketing, and other business concepts to run a successful event. As Matt Chandler '08, a co-organizer and sponsorship manager for the Warsaw 3-on-3 Classic, noted, "It was a ton of work--much more than I imagined. Though everything appeared to run smoothly on the surface, it was hectic and at times we didn't know if we could pull it off. But we did it, and it was lots of fun. I will definitely be able to build on the sales, leadership, and sponsorship management skills I gained from the experience for what I hope will be a future career in sports management."
And if the achievements of past Warsaw alumni are any indication, then Chandler is certainly correct in that assessment. As Shannon Sweeney, M.B.A. '01, stated, "My entire Warsaw Center experience set the foundation for what I do today. Serving as co-chair for the WSBS in 2001 was a great opportunity for me to apply the fundamentals I was learning in the classroom, and the experience helped me define the principals that have guided me in my marketing and sponsorship career." Sweeny has successfully leveraged her Warsaw education to become the vice president of integrated marketing for FremantleMedia, where she oversees all in-show and off-air sponsorships for several major television properties--including American Idol!
So, even if they can't sing, Warsaw Sports Marketing Center students are sure to shine--thanks to the wonderful experience they gain putting knowledge into practice through student-run events.