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ASU special events students learn how stadium staffers get ready to play ball

September 15, 2021

Team executives, managers take class behind the scenes on ASU Night at the Diamondbacks

From purchasing a ticket and passing through the turnstiles to buying some peanuts and Cracker Jack — and maybe a couple of hot dogs and a souvenir — an enjoyable day at the ballpark depends on many hard-working people fans may never meet.

ASU students enrolled in PRM 427, Special Events Management for Revenue Generation, were able to meet the people in charge of staging a Major League Baseball game at Chase Field through a visit that gave them insight on how it is done. The gathering of students and experts resulted from a happy coincidence of time and place.

When Clinical Assistant Professor Erin Schneiderman realized that the Aug. 31 ASU Night at the Diamondbacks was taking place at the same time as her PRM 427 class, she knew it would provide students a great opportunity to get a firsthand look at everything that goes into hosting a home game. A crucial part of earning a Special Events Management Certificate, she said, is going beyond the classroom to gain hands-on experience at special events.

Derrick Hall, Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO, is an ASU alumnus. For more than five years, the team has partnered with the university to host the annual ASU Night, which includes discounted tickets for students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Schneiderman’s students heard from a career panel featuring top sports executives, enjoyed a special appearance from ASU President Michael Crow and were able to rub elbows with Sun Devils mascot Sparky and his Diamondbacks counterpart, D. Baxter the Bobcat.  

“I am excited to find out how it works behind the scenes … especially because it’s so big,” said ASU senior Jamie Espinoza. “I’m very big on organizing, so once it all just starts to fall together … it’s the best feeling.”

The class arrived before the game to meet with Cory Parsons, manager of fan experience; Mike Dellosa, vice president of ticket sales and service; and Tiffanie Tallman, corporate partnership sales representative. The three executives spoke about how they handled communications during the pandemic, the importance of networking and how the Diamondbacks’ strong ties to the community have helped them build their brand over more than 20 years. 

Tallman shared that the Diamondbacks sponsor Little League teams around the Valley, outfitting kids in various Diamondbacks jerseys. Along with being an excellent marketing strategy to create fans at an early age, the donated jerseys allow the teams to use their money for other expenses, such as new balls or bats. 

“Being able to give back to the community and do things like that is so important to us,” Tallman said. “That’s what keeps me coming back and working here and being proud to work for this organization.”

After talking to Parsons, Dellosa and Tallman, the students made their way over to a “Careers in Sports” panel hosted by the ASU Alumni Association, where five ASU alumni spoke about their experiences in the sports industry. Panel attendees even had a chance to pose for a picture with Sparky and D. Baxter.

“I love baseball and I love ASU, so I love how it blends together,” said Korrie Gernert, a School of Community Resources and Development faculty associate who is the team’s assistant director of events, career and professional development services. “I love the energy of having alumni come back and inspire future alumni to be able to do what they do.” 

Many volunteers were needed for the occasion, including students. Fernanda Garcia, a junior studying tourism development management and a volunteer for the event, said her favorite part of studying special events management is “the hands-on experiences that are offered. … Erin sends a lot of volunteer opportunities, and they’re always so much fun.” 

Immediately following the panel, the students embarked on a tour of the stadium hosted by Levy Restaurants, a company that specializes in food and beverage provisions to major entertainment and sports venues. Teams reach out to the company with specific requests for food or merchandise, and Levy Restaurants does its best to fulfill those requests. 

Levy Restaurants Vice President of Hospitality Strategy Keith Lagerstrom led the students through the stadium, explaining exactly how his company helps host all sorts of special events from baseball games and concerts to a dinner for 700 people right on the field. 

After the tour was over, the students were free to watch the game and cheer on the team along with their classmates. 

"Tonight, Chase Field became our classroom as our special event management students learned from top leadership at the Arizona Diamondbacks and Levy Restaurants," Schneiderman said. “My hope is that they left the experience with a deeper appreciation for the details and opened their eyes to the career possibilities that exist.”

Written by Amber Victoria Singer, a multimedia journalist for the ASU School of Community Resources and Development.

Explore the human adventure at ASU's inaugural Humanities Week


September 15, 2021

This year, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University will host the inaugural Humanities Week — a collection of special events to highlight the ways in which students and faculty are exploring the human adventure across time, culture and place.

The events, which include a mix of virtual and in-person programming, will take place from Oct. 18–22 and will be led by units, centers and institutes within The College's humanities division. Schools within ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts will also be participating. illustration of a cactus The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University will host the inaugural Humanities Week — a collection of special events to highlight the ways in which students and faculty are exploring the human adventure across time, culture and place — from Oct. 18-22. Download Full Image

The weeklong calendar of events will cover a broad range of humanities-related topics, including history, literature, culture, racial representation, social justice and climate change. Each day a number of open classes, department open houses, hands-on activities, public lectures, crafts and food will be offered with the mission of sharing new and worldly perspectives.

“Humanities Week is many things — a celebration of all we do and achieve in the humanities, a chance to foreground our brilliant and creative faculty and staff — but most importantly, an opportunity for students to see a glimpse into all the humanities division has to offer,” said Jeffrey Cohen, dean of humanities in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The College's Marshall Distinguished Lecture will be a signature event of the week, featuring Clint Smith, staff writer at The Atlantic and author of the New York Times bestseller “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America.”

Other events include:

Humanities Week Swag and Info Booth: Stop by the Humanities Week swag and information booth to get free swag and details about activities taking place throughout the week.

Teaching Genocide Comparatively: Join Associate Professor Jason Bruner, Assistant Professor Volker Benkert and Sheryl Bronkesh, president of the Phoenix Holocaust Association, for a talk about the comparative study of genocide in public secondary schools

Digital Humanities Showcase: Attend this showcase featuring the work of digital humanities and digital scholarship at ASU to see how digital humanities methods can augment and accompany the work of scholars and introduce undergraduates to the field of digital humanities.

Africanfuturism and Worldbuilding in Science Fiction: Award-winning writer and Professor of Practice Nnedi Okorafor joins Associate Professor Matt Bell's "Writing Science Fiction" class for a conversation about her acclaimed novel "Lagoon," as well as issues of worldbuilding in science fiction and fantasy, Africanfuturism and other genres. Together they will discuss how imagining fictional worlds might make new possibilities reachable in our own futures.

Deconstructing Race in Film: Fred Kuwornu's Documentary "Blaxploitalian 100 Years of Blackness": Join the Humanities Lab, Deconstructing Race and Italian-Ghanaian filmmaker/producer Fred Kuwornu for an evening of film clips and open discussion regarding Kuwornu's film, “Blaxploitalian 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema.”

ASU Common Read: A Virtual Visit with Michael Eric Dyson: Attend this virtual visit with Michael Eric Dyson, author of "Long Time Coming: Reckoning With Race in America,” where he will discuss his work and answer questions. The conversation will be facilitated by two new members of the ASU faculty: Pulitzer winner Mitchell Jackson, the John O. Whiteman Dean’s Distinguished Professor of English; and Whiting Award winner Safiya Sinclair, an associate professor of English.

Visit ihr.asu.edu/humanities-week to see the full schedule of events or to learn more.

Emily Balli

Communications Specialist and Lead Writer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences