Upstate New York is home to many well known and accredited colleges and universities and Watkins Glen International is no stranger when it comes to working with the region's educational institutions to help students interested in learning more about motorsports.
This past Tuesday, July 17, a class of 11 students from Ithaca College (IC) visited Watkins Glen International to learn more from the historic road courses sales and marketing staff. The Glen works with several regional colleges throughout the year on different programs including; sports management courses; internship programs; and seasonal employment opportunities for students who are interested in sports marketing as a career. This was the second visit from college students to The Soul of American Road Racing this summer..
The Introduction to Sports Management course at IC is part of a summer program that allows high school students to live on campus, experience college life, and take a course for college credit. John Wolohan, Associate Professor and Chair of the Sport Management & Media Department, said the course is designed to provide high school students with a closer look at collegiate and professional sport management .The Ithaca College Sports Management and Media program is one of only 31 recognized by the North American Society of Sport Management and is the only such program located in Upstate New York. The program is also unique because it is one of the very few in the United States that deals with sport media.
"WGI is one of the biggest sports organizations in upstate New York," Wolohan stated. "We have had a number of students who have worked or interned with WGI and I am trying to introduce Watkins Glen International and the auto racing industry to my students."
He went on to say that WGI has helped the Sports Management and Media Department in the past by having staff members visit the campus and present to their students. "We are just continuing a great relationship," Wolohan said.
After arriving at WGI, the IC students were escorted to a corporate suite for lunch for a discussion with several members of The Glen's marketing staff on topics such as sales, sponsorship, public relations, advertising and ticketing. The students were then treated to a stop in Gatorade Victory Lane and a tour of the race track. When asked about the students' reaction to the visit, Professor Wolohan simply stated, "They loved it!" and that he can't wait to incorporate next year's visit into his syllabus.
Dan DePerno, an Associate Professor in the Sport Management Department and Director of the Sport Media and Technology Learning Center at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland, brought six students enrolled in his Business of NASCAR class to Watkins Glen International because it was an opportunity for his students to "gain a perspective of the industry that is impossible to achieve in the classroom." The summer course is offered online and focuses on helping students develop a critical understanding of the complexities of the business functions of NASCAR, its teams and sponsors, racing facilities and the media.
"The WGI staff have always graciously hosted us and taken time out of their schedules to meet with and help educate our students," said DePerno. "This experience is always very positive and informative for the students." His class also discussed the role of public relations during a tour of the track's media center, had a discussion about the role of sales and sponsorship at a racetrack in one of the track's corporate suites and received pace car rides around The Soul of American Road Racing.
NASCAR racing returns to Watkins Glen International in less than one month, featuring the cars and stars of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The Zippo 200 NASCAR Busch Series race is also back for a second year on Saturday, August 12 with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series taking center stage on Sunday, August 13th. The Rolex
Sports Car Series also returns for a second time this season on Friday, August 11 for the Crown Royal 200 race. Information on tickets can be found on TheGlen.com or by calling 866-461-RACE.