My father always insisted on never ending youth basketball practice on a missed shot, the 2015 Indianapolis Sport Symposium was definitely a hit. Setting the tone for the week with the first and most rigorous day visiting four facilities and ending at a baseball game, later concluding the trip with a busy morning of student presentations and discussion with the masterminds of the course. Every minute was a bountiful harvest of information a student could use now, as well as in the future as a professional. Throughout the week there were several evident reoccurring themes present in every facility toured and professional we were lucky enough to speak with.
Each facility maintained an identifiable amount of Hoosier legacy. Whether it was a direct and obvious tribute to Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse through architectural design, using design elements to pay homage to the original facility details such as ticket booths, or dedicating a space specifically to the previous year’s ISHAA Football State Champions. In most cases, taking a stroll down memory lane is as easy for Indiana natives as entering the nearest venue.
Creating new and interesting ways to maximize revenue and enhance the fan experience, because we all know it’s all about the consumer. Whether it is renting out a luxury suite, scheduling time on the turf, or an exclusive tailgating opportunity, Hoosier hospitality is an ever present business practice.
Building facilities with LEED certification, capitalizing on natural lighting, recycling, and using innovative products such as ReRev to make a facility more sustainable. Minimizing a facility’s carbon footprint is no longer a trend, but a requirement to stay relevant to the market.
Construction and renovation with universal design, which not only meets ADA requirements but create an environment that is aesthetically pleasing for everyone. Whether it is allowing for more space to help the flow of a facility, adding family restrooms, or putting accessible seating on multiple levels of a stadium, each facility had a unique design quality to enhance its use.
The professionals were deeply passionate about their position with each organization. Their enthusiasm and drive for successful is admirable to say the least. However, I was most impressed by their willingness to share their experience and offer advice, taking a timeout from work to bestow a little Hoosier hospitality on us.
We were given a lot of invaluable information and advice this week. Expressing the importance of good work ethic and willingness to do what is asked. If you want to work in the sport industry, leave your sense of entitlement at home. Networking and gaining experience through internships and volunteering played a critical role in professional development for most of the individuals we spoke to. To be successful, an individual must identify their niche and what they are exponentially good at, then work to become the best in that area. Above all, enjoying what you are doing at work, because it reflects on your actions.
The benefits of participating in a program such as this are priceless. Establishing a good rapport with the professors that will probably be some of our first references after graduation. Meeting the professionals that currently dominate the field, and learning from their experience. Having the opportunity to get to know the students we are in class with every day, because you never know who will be your boss in the future. Although I was utterly exhausted, this experience has placed a lasting impact on all of those who attended. As an alumni of the program I cannot wait to see where the fine folks at WKU School of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport Management take it in the future.
–Jenna Woosley, student in the Master of Science in Recreation and Sport Administration program