CMU students enjoying Super Bowl volunteer trip
Grand Junction’s Dylan Vigil is spending today in football dream land, and it’s not a fantasy.
Vigil is one of six members of the Colorado Mesa University sports management club working as a volunteer during Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
“At first, my friends didn’t believe me,” Vigil said. “They said, ‘No way.’ I told them we’re going to volunteer and help out.
“Every time someone brought up the Super Bowl, I told them, ‘I’ll be there, don’t worry.’ Some of them said they wanted to be packed in my bag and go.”
Vigil and fellow seniors Andrew Clausen, Baurzhan Jumayev, Sierra Zamora, Julia Eggert and Matt Luttrell were chosen by CMU sports management club adviser Dick Bell to work as volunteers at the game through a program for college sports management students. It is sponsored by the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation.
“A student of a student of mine is involved in it,” Bell said. “He went to colleges asking for volunteers to work various events with the Super Bowl. This is the first opportunity we’ve had.”
Bell didn’t have any problem finding students in the club willing to go, but he had to limit it to six for travel purposes.
The CMU group left Tuesday and worked various events, including the NFL Experience interactive event, leading up to today’s game.
They will be in the Louisiana Superdome while the game is played, working different events, including an autograph room.
“The first Super Bowl I remember was when John Elway won his first one,” Clausen said. “That was awesome. It’s always been something I wanted to do, but it’s really expensive. To get this opportunity to do this, especially as a senior, is awesome.”
This is a unique experience for all of them, but probably more so for Jumayev, who is an international student from Kazakhstan. Friends call him Bauer.
“In my country, nobody pay any attention (to the Super Bowl),” he said. “We like more rugby.
“Since I’ve been here at Colorado Mesa, I’ve been influenced by roommates. I started to watch and play Madden (football video game). I’m really paying attention to it. I figured out people wait all year to watch the Super Bowl. For me, I’m probably the first student from Kazakhstan to go to the Super Bowl. I’m very honored and excited.”
Jumayev came to the U.S. four years ago for college and is in his second year at Colorado Mesa.
Working as volunteers at the Super Bowl is a great opportunity for Zamora and Eggert in an industry dominated by males.
“As a girl in the sports management field, I need opportunities to distinguish myself in the field,” Zamora said. “I’m glad I can go on the trip. I’m a big football fan. I’m excited to put this on my resume.”
Eggert said the opportunity is extremely beneficial.
“Being a woman in this industry is hard, but I just came back from the winter baseball meetings, and it almost gave me an advantage being a female,” she said. “I would sit down and be the only girl for an interview, and it gave them someone fresh to talk to.”
Eggert was an intern for the Grand Junction Rockies last summer, giving her the opportunity to attended the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in November.
The six CMU sports management club members worked five-hour shifts on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Volunteers assist in interactive events such as the autographs, NFL Memorabilia display and Punt, Pass & Kick.
On Sunday, they will work 11 hours, assisting events staff and spectator activities in the Superdome.
All six students are in New Orleans for the first time. They had Friday off and toured the city, Bell said.
Club fundraising helped pay for their trip, but the students were encouraged to bring additional cash for souvenirs.