The stage is set for Super Bowl 50 when 11 Niagara University students will work behind the scenes as the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos in the National Football League’s showcase event Feb. 7.
The students are all sport and recreation management majors at NU’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. They’ll spend six days in Santa Clara, California beginning Feb. 3 where they’ll get a first-hand look at what goes into organizing one of the world’s largest sporting events by greeting visitors, observing the media party and working with NFL On Location at a sold-out pre-game VIP party adjacent to Levi’s Stadium.
Students will also serve in numerous hospitality positions inside Levi’s Stadium where more than 70,000 fans are expected to see the NFL crown a champion. An additional 120 million viewers are projected to watch the game on television.
This marks the seventh straight year that NU has sent students to the Super Bowl. Thirteen students came to the Valley last year for the big game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Selected students emerged through an application and interview process.
“The trip is a valuable experience for students and will assist them in learning about all aspects of business, especially hospitality and tourism management,” said Dr. Youngsoo Choi, an assistant professor and program coordinator of sport and recreation management who will be one of two NU employees chaperoning the students. “The outstanding education that students receive at Niagara University will help open doors for them, but the experiences we provide for them outside of the classroom will make them extremely attractive to employers after graduation.”
Onsite service-learning experiences are a regular part of NU’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Sport management students recently volunteered during Major League Baseball’s spring training, for example, and the NCAA Final Four.
The trip to Super Bowl 50 — which Brophy College Preparatory alum J.J. Jansen will play in for the Panthers — also comes with the added benefit of meeting Niagara University alumni during a private gathering Feb. 4. Niagara University was the first Vincentian university established in the U.S. and remains a comprehensive institution blending liberal arts and professional education that’s grounded in its values-based Catholic tradition.