West Virginia University’s sport management undergraduate students have a new internship opportunity with a county-owned park located in Pennsylvania.

Aaron Livingston, Ph.D., assistant professor and sport management intern supervisor in WVU’s College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, recently established a partnership with the German-Masontown Park, in Masontown, Pa. to engage undergraduate students in a challenging academic environment. The park is about 20 miles from Morgantown in Fayette County, Pa.

“Sport management is a very competitive field,” Livingston said. “Experiential learning is important. I want to encourage students to get involved and take advantage of these opportunities in their field.”

Two interns are already on board with the project. New Jersey natives Stephen Weingarten and Nicholas Deliberto have been actively involved in the initial phases of the venture.

“Stephen and Nicholas have helped me since the beginning. They have conducted risk assessments, attended meetings and have made presentations,” Livingston said.

Livingston met with community members of Fayette County, German Township and Masontown Borough in late 2010 to discuss the programming that he and the WVU interns would bring to the park. The community primarily needs help planning and running sport and recreation events at the park.

“The German-Masontown Park has the exact opposite problem of what most parks have. They have facilities and money but no programming,” Livingston said. “They have a good problem.”

Livingston said that there is a cyclical process for this kind of programming.

“The strategic work plan includes announcement and registration timeframes, ordering equipment, hiring staff personnel, preseason meeting with coaches and officials, length of the program, evaluation and assessment. Then the whole process starts over again,” he said.

“We need to portray a good image for the community especially since we’re dealing with a community-based program. It’s a continuous process and the interns will learn that process,” Livingston said.

Four interns will be selected to participate in the German-Masontown Park project, one of six internship partnerships Livingston has arranged. In the fall 2012 semester, sport management students will be required to complete an internship project.

The German-Masontown park interns will participate from a management perspective. They will organize and implement the program as well as assist with promoting, advertising and event planning.

Dallas Branch, Ph.D., CPASS associate professor and coordinator for the sport management master’s program, has provided leadership and support to the new project.

“With a variety of internship experiences—facility management, recreational programming, operations, marketing and sponsorship development—students will be able to match their expertise and interests to ‘fit’ the opportunities afforded by this project,” Branch said.

Livingston agreed that the students will be able to gain a wealth of experience by seeing what the field is like and developing their own niche, versus being put in one department. The interns will be able to see all sides of sport management with this internship.

He said that students interested in this or the other internship projects must apply as they would for a job. Students should submit a resume and cover letter, and those selected will participate in an interview with Livingston and Branch.

For more information about the sport management internship projects or to apply for an internship, contact Livingston at Aaron.Livingston@mail.wvu.edu.