Students learned on location at Super Bowl LVII
Incorporating experience into curricula is key to learning
While the world focused on who would win Super Bowl LVII, Rihanna’s half time show performance and Super Bowl snacks, students from FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management spent their Sunday welcoming guests and gaining some hands-on experience at the world’s most watched sporting event, Super Bowl LVII.
Seventeen students worked as event support at both the Super Bowl Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center and at the Champions Tailgate Party at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. They were there to gain real-world experience about how many people and how much planning it takes to execute a mega event. Mega events are events with more than 10,000 attendees. With more than 115 million people estimated to watch the game on TV, this is one of the biggest mega events in the world.
“Just by observing and watching all the parts come together you learn,” said Miranda Ghirimoldi, a graduate student studying hospitality management with a concentration in mega events, a master's degree offered both in person and fully online.
Students studying hospitality and mega event management, including Miranda Ghirimoldi (center), get a behind-the-scenes stadium tour.
This year is Ghirimoldi’s second time volunteering through FIU at the Super Bowl, after taking part in last year’s event at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. She made sure to take in every detail. “It was great to see how they adapt the stadium. How we bring class to practice is amazing."
“As an online student, I wanted to meet some of my classmates and experience what it takes to successfully operate the monster mega event that is the Super Bowl,” said fully online student, Tony Delgado. “The insight we gained was nothing short of amazing."
Did you like the way Rihanna’s performance looked on TV? Did you notice the placement of signage and ads around State Farm Stadium where the big game was played? Do you know who the big event sponsors were? These are all details that event managers deal with and that the students got to see for themselves.
“At the end of the day we want to make sure that they’re able to go out and see first-hand because our industry changes so frequently. By the time you read it in a book, it’s changed,” said Tre Dunbar, Chaplin School adjunct professor.
For first time Super Bowl attendee and junior Adilene Rivera Chavez, the experience was eye-opening. "I went to FIU for the amazing program that they have, however, I never imagined that I would be attending events like the Super Bowl.”
FIU students meet singer, Kelly Clarkson, while in Arizona for the Super Bowl.
The students worked several Super Bowl events and also got a stadium tour, in which they heard Abbott Elementary actress Sheryl Lee Ralph's sound check and dress rehearsal of her performance of the National Black Anthem. They also met singer Kelly Clarkson and visited activations — tents or displays that are Super Bowl-related — around town to be able to incorporate that knowledge into their future events.
Ghirimoldi says comparing her experiences volunteering at the last two Super Bowl games has also taught her some lessons. Going to the first Super Bowl post-Covid and now this year going to the event with the world back to normal, she explains, has been a completely different experience.
“Having this opportunity given by FIU is absolutely an honor and once in a lifetime opportunity, well, second lifetime opportunity for me,” Ghirimoldi ended.
Super Bowl LVII sights in Arizona.
Hospitality management junior Adilene Rivera Chavez is a Super Bowl first timer.
FIU hospitality adjunct professor Tre Dunbar with actress and singer, Sheryl Lee Ralph.