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UMSL sport management students travel to Super Bowl LVII

Kayln Ohrt points to a Super Bowl LVII sign at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Karen Boleska, Director of the Sports Management Program, 13 students and one graduate from the program traveled to Arizona to volunteer at Super Bowl LVII. The students were among the thousands of volunteers who helped produce the event. (Photos courtesy of Karen Boleska)

For the second year in a row, sports management students at the University of Missouri–St. Louis sat in the front row at the Super Bowl.

More than 113 million people across the country tuned in to watch the thrilling February 12 battle between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. However, 13 lucky sports management students and one graduate of the program watched the big game from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The students were among the thousands of volunteers who helped produce the country’s biggest sporting event. They worked from 9:00 am to 9:30 pm in the stadium’s upper concourse, helping fans find the stadium’s amenities, finding their way to their seats and answering questions.

Karen Boleska, director of the sports management program, noted that five members of this year’s crew – Amanda Barry, Alex Elmore, Hannah Karl, Kalyn Ohrt and Emily Vanhooser – have achieved senior positions as shift captains and shift coaches for their volunteer teams.

“With what I thought was the coolest thing, they got walkie-talkies,” Boleska said. “So we listened to the NFL and how they communicated, how they climbed the hierarchy and how they put out fires. I thought it was really cool that we could hear that side of it.”

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Senior Davis Volpitto said it was rewarding to learn on the job and find he could adapt quickly, even in the excitement of an event like the Super Bowl.

“You’re pretty much thrown in at the deep end,” he said. “You kind of had to navigate, but you also had help, which was nice.”

As well as volunteering, the students took time out during the week-long trip to socialize and visit some local attractions. The group attended a networking event for sports management students at Chase Field – home of the Arizona Diamondbacks – and received a private tour of the stadium. The UMSL delegation also hosted a pizza party for student volunteers from two other universities. Several students stayed in Arizona for a few extra days to explore Phoenix and see the Grand Canyon.

The natural wonder is probably the only thing that rivals the spectacle of the Super Bowl.

“That was my second Super Bowl,” said Ohrt. “It doesn’t get any less unreal. The second time you’re there, it’s still just breathtaking and unreal.”

Here’s what they saw:

Other volunteers prepare the pitch before fans enter the stadium.

The pre-game ceremonies begin.

The Chiefs fans, including several UMSL students, celebrate after the win.

Fans pour out of the stadium after the game.

Hannah Karl poses with the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the Super Bowl Experience.

A group of students take a closer look at Chase Field after a networking event at the ballpark.

Several students tour the Grand Canyon after the Super Bowl.

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