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STHM students attend elite conference geared toward social change through sport

By: Courtney Kubitza
First Published: September 2, 2015
Topics: In the News, STHM School

Eight Bachelor of Science in Sport and Recreation Management students from Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) participated in a summer global summit on the use of sport to advance social initiatives.

The fourth-annual Doha GOALS Forum, held July 25-27 in Los Angeles, is considered the premier platform for inspiring world leaders to enact change, opportunity, and initiatives through sport. This marked the first year that GOALS, an acronym that stands for Gathering of all Leaders in Sport, took place outside of Doha, Qatar.

Olympic ice dancing gold medalist Meryl Davis with STHM student Sash Schaeffer.

The objective of Doha GOALS is four-pronged: to build a movement through sports; promote inclusion in sports; identify sports’ power to create bridges across societal divides; and use sports as a catalyst for transformation and change.

Accompanied for the three-day event by Dr. Aubrey Kent, STHM Professor and Chair, the students heard from a series of elite guest speakers, including American Olympians Carl Lewis, Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, and Scott Hamilton; U.S. Women’s World Cup champion Abby Wambach; former Olympians Ato Bolden (Trinidad & Tobago) and Nadia Comaneci (Romania); and former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo.

STHM student Katie Rose Augustine with NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo.

The forum ran in conjunction with the Doha GOALS’ Student Ambassadors Program, in which STHM’s students took part, and the Special Olympics’ Social Impact Summit, called GenUin. The Student Ambassadors Program drew more than 1,200 students from around the world, according to an official Doha GOALS estimate.

“The DOHA Goals Forum was a great opportunity for our students to interact with students from dozens of other colleges and universities globally,” Kent said. “The DOHA Student Ambassadors Program showed our future sport managers the potential impact that they can have not only on sport, but on the world through using sport as a development tool.

The STHM Bachelor of Science in Sport and Recreation Management students who participated in the fourth-annual Doha GOALS Forum in Los Angeles, CA.

“STHM students embraced the forum, staying active through a multitude of events. I could tell they were excited not only by the ideas that were shared, but also in the caliber of athletes and sport personalities they had the opportunity to meet.”

STHM served as one of the academic partners for the Doha GOALS Forum.

As part of the trip, the STHM group attended the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Games, held at the famed Los Angeles Coliseum. The Special Olympics World Games, which convene 7,000 athletes, 3,000 coaches, 30,000 volunteers, and 500,000 spectators, is considered the largest humanitarian and sport event in the world.

At the forum, the students attended a number of keynote addresses covering an array of subjects, including diversity in sport, disability in sport, the evolution of sport as a business, and tackling obesity.

To close the Doha GOALS program, participants in the Student Ambassadors Program pitched to a panel of sport leaders the initiative projects they had worked on for the duration of the forum.

“We were tasked with providing potential solutions for real-life scenarios,” said STHM junior Katie Rose Augustine, a Sport and Recreation Management major. “If the judges on the panel favored our idea, they could vote to provide funding and make the initiative a reality. The topics ranged from women in sport, to concussions in football. It was inspiring to see students making a difference.”

“Participating in the Doha GOALS Forum was a rewarding experience for myself, as well as the other STHM students who attended,” said STHM junior Mark Manera, a Sport and Recreation Management major. “Most of us were exposed to a new city, and had never attended a conference as prestigious as this one.”
–Christopher A. Vito