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CCU Atheneum: Coastal Carolina University senior Alexis Liscio gives the Chants Up sign at the Orange Bowl.
Coastal Carolina University senior Alexis Liscio gives the Chants Up sign at the Orange Bowl.

CCU student tackles the Orange Bowl

by Connor Uptegrove
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Coastal Carolina University senior Alexis Liscio, a recreation and sport management major from Naples, Fla., didn’t have high expectations when she applied to be an Orange Bowl Ambassador last fall.

However, Liscio found herself networking with college coaches, ESPN writers and journalists for the Miami Herald at the NCAA football event held at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. between Dec. 26 - 30.

As an ambassador, she assisted with the coaches’ and players’ press conferences, provided media credentials to the press and helped strategically plan seating arrangements at the coaches’ luncheon. She also networked with NCAA VIPs at the different pregame events.

This unique experiential learning opportunity came about through the auspices of the Recreation and Sport Management Alliance at CCU and Liscio’s professor, Nicholas Schlereth.

“We [CCU faculty members] strive to make a difference for our students and give them the best experience possible,” said Schlereth, assistant professor of recreation and sport management.

Schlereth and the alliance chose the Orange Bowl because it showcased the high level of community involvement required to host a bowl game.

“Even if your city wants to host the Super Bowl, you’ve got to get the community behind it first,” said Schlereth. “That’s why events like the Orange Bowl are such great learning opportunities for students.”

Applying for the job was no easy task. Liscio was one of 16 applicants who tossed their names into the ring for consideration. The applicants had to provide a resume, give recommendations and write an essay to be judged by the panel of professors reviewing the candidates. Schlereth says that the essay prompt was at the heart of experiential learning: “How is this experience going to shape your education?”

Liscio knew this experience would provide an opportunity to implement the fundamentals learned in her degree, and she would share what she learned with her classmates after the event. Since returning to Coastal, Liscio has talked about the Orange Bowl in front of every class she is enrolled in.

While Liscio had participated in and even led sporting events in the past, the sheer size of the Orange Bowl was a whole different beast to tackle, she said. She believes experiential learning opportunities such as the Orange Bowl game make a difference in the value of a college education.

“Professors have connections,” Liscio said. “Students should seek out these opportunities, and the professors should keep providing them.”

Schlereth says many of the connections he has made through his years of working in sports management are thrilled to have students to work events like the Orange Bowl because it gives the organization a chance to network and show off its facilities.

“I like to see the students learning the skills they’ve used in class at these events: sales, leadership and event management,” said Schlereth.

Liscio felt the experience provided useful information to add to her playbook. Meeting people from Fanatics, a sports apparel corporation, or writers from ESPN has provided new footholds that will help her in applying for internships in her field and to eventually enrolling in a graduate studies program for sport management.

Both the professor and the student believe there are excellent opportunities to network here at CCU. Schlereth advises students that the Recreation and Sport Management Alliance is a great way to get to know future industry professionals. The alliance is a student-run organization that accepts both graduate and undergraduate students, providing its members with a large base of connections. The group meets regularly and travels to different sport organizations.

“There’s a lot of value in getting to know the students in your major,” said Schlereth.

While the entire experience was filled with memorable moments, Liscio believes that the sight of the stadium filling to capacity stuck with her the most.

“The coolest part was working all week to prepare for the game and being able to walk out into the stadium and see all the fans finding their seats,” said Liscio. “I could feel the energy!”


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