Students at the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics have almost 30 unique student groups that they can choose to join. In each installment of this series, an executive member of one of these student groups will share their first-hand experience choosing, participating in and eventually leading their group.
Alexis Garhart, Class of 2021 marketing and sport management double major with minors in event management and advertising, and Patricia Louis, Class of 2023 sport management major, served as the president and chair of public relations of The Future Professionals of the Sport Management Industry respectively at the Lerner College. Garhart and Louis shared why they joined the Future Professionals of the Sport Management Industry at the Lerner College, what makes this group unique and more!
Lerner: When and why did you choose to join this student group?
Garhart: I joined the Lerner RSO in Fall 2017, which was my very first semester at the University of Delaware. I made joining this club a priority as I knew it would be the perfect way to further explore a career in the sport industry. I found the club at the involvement fair, among other incredible clubs and organizations, and knew this one was the right fit for me. Not only was I looking for connections and skills to start on a successful path both in and out of my time at UD, but I also wanted to find like-minded individuals that I would eventually call my very close, personal friends.
Louis: I joined during my freshman year to get connected with more people in my major as well as to access more networking opportunities in the industry.
Lerner: What is the mission/goal of your student group?
Garhart: The mission of the Future Professionals of the Sport Management Industry club is to provide a supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop professional knowledge and skills, which in turn foster personal growth and confidence as a future leader in the sport industry.
Louis: To provide opportunities to develop professionally, network and learn more about the sport management industry.
Lerner: When and where does your student group meet and approximately how many members do you have?
Garhart: We have regular monthly meetings with over 120 members of many different majors! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been meeting virtually but hope to move to in-person soon!
Lerner: What is your best memory from this student group?
Garhart: My best memory from this club has been a barbecue during my very first semester that was held to network with peers interested in the world of sports. I met many like-minded individuals who have helped drive my passion and have been a support system as I work towards my career. Ultimately, it confirmed that I had found my place and it began my journey into creating a home away from home.
Louis: Last fall we had a networking event with the 76ers and even got to stick around and watch a game after! It was really insightful and super fun!
Lerner: What is unique about your student group?
Garhart: The club is unique in that members can choose their level of involvement as they navigate exactly what they want to get out of being a member. Students can learn to effectively communicate and build lasting professional relationships with their peers, professors and alumni by choosing to participate in numerous meetings, panels and networking events. In addition, members can apply for a leadership position through the executive board or through the new addition to club, committees, that we are integrating into the club’s structure. These various experiences allow our members to proactively work towards their professional goals.
Louis: We are focused specifically on the sport management industry and can provide members with early access to networking events, job opportunities and more in the industry!
Lerner: What has been your proudest moment leading your student group?
Garhart: One year ago, my answer was helping create a networking trip to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to meet professionals who work for the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team. The event started with a private panel, including a question and answer session with the professionals, and afterwards, we watched a basketball game and bonded as a club. However, my answer now is the resilience exhibited by all of us on the executive board during the COVID-19 pandemic in creating a valuable experience for club members in a virtual environment. The sport industry is heavily dependent on networking and professional connections, which certainly became more challenging when all club activities moved online. We have since found ways to engage our members and maintain our mission, even in this different setting.
Louis: My proudest moment leading this group has been providing programming for the chapter and keeping people connected and informed despite being virtual. I also really have enjoyed redoing our social media channels.
Lerner: What are your goals for the future of your student group?
Garhart: Because I am a graduating senior, I would like to see this club grow and develop to be a place that will foster the same growth for the future members that the club that it has given me with my time as an active member. I am grateful for every second that I was able to lead this club and make a real difference in its impact on the community. I will be sad to leave but I know that the remaining executive board members will continue to lead the club to success and provide even more incredible opportunities.
Louis: In the future, we would love to grow in size as well as be able to provide more fun networking opportunities and trips.
Lerner: How has your student group helped you grow?
Garhart: It is very evident and widely understood that the COVID-19 pandemic has detrimentally impacted the sport industry, especially as evidenced by the inability for sports teams to have fans. This club is full of future sport professionals that are experiencing this unprecedented pandemic at the same time. It has allowed me to find a group of people to rely on for support when overcoming the various challenges presented by the sport industry. The members, including myself, have used this club as a resource to get through this together.
Louis: This group has helped connect me to several people in my major, as well as professionals in the industry. I have also had the opportunity to gain experience running social media channels for an organization, which looks great on a resume.