WSU sport management students donate to charities through their capstone

A 3-point contest, poker tournament, pickleball tournament, and 5K race all highlighted fundraising events completed in November by Washington State University sport management students.

The events were part of the program’s capstone course, sports event management, which provides hands-on experience in planning and executing sport-related events. In the end, all proceeds were donated to various charities.

Senior Lucas Castilleja was director of finance and sponsorship/donation in his capstone group and said the class has helped him prepare him for his future career.

“My favorite part was being able to get hands-on, real-world experience in my field,” he said.

Castilleja’s group hosted a pickleball tournament named, “Paddle Royale.” The tournament raised $625, which was donated to WSU Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

In total, course faculty member Chris Lebens said students went “above and beyond” in gaining sponsorships, with more than $3,500 raised among all capstone groups.

Lebens said students had to reach out to local businesses about potential sponsorship or donations, then be actively engaged with them during the capstone events.

“To me, the most challenging part of the class was going out to local businesses and having to ask for donations and gifts,” Castilleja said. “Over time, I became comfortable with the task and was able to make myself and the event more marketable.”

Creating and executing a large event as a team was also not an easy task, Castilleja said.

“A lesson I’m carrying with me into my future career is the importance of teamwork, especially when we bring different perspectives to the table,” he said. “Our team all had different opinions, but we came together and pulled off a successful event.”

Lebens says the capstone is a great experience for sport management students before they start their careers.

“This class gives students a chance to build a resume line item as opposed to just completing a course,” he said. “This is as close to a ‘real life’ experience as they can get in their coursework.”

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