Different teams, one city
Diversity. Inclusion. Integration.
These are words that health and sport science assistant professor Haozhou Pu used to describe the objectives of his fall course titled Sport in Global Community. However, one might find striking correlations between the course goals and the immigrant-friendly initiatives of the City of Dayton.
On the morning of Sept. 14, the two domains overlapped when a group of sports management students volunteered at the annual Dayton World Soccer Games. The students, all enrolled in Pu’s class this semester, helped run the event from start to finish.
Founded in 2012, Dayton World Soccer Games works in conjunction with the Welcome Dayton immigrant-friendly initiative. The goal of the event is to “unite Dayton’s diverse immigrant and native-born communities in the name of inclusiveness, good sportsmanship and ‘the beautiful game’ itself,” according to its website.
This year, the teams represented the Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and Pakistan and competed on the fields located at the Action Sport Center in Dayton. There were 40 teams with more than 400 people in attendance. Although players did not have to be from a particular nationality, many did have ties to their team’s country.
Pu — along with Corinne Daprano, interim dean of School of Education and Health Services, and Corinne Brion, assistant professor in Educational Administration — are currently researching the relationships between the Dayton World Soccer Games its impact on the settlement of immigrants and refugees in the city. The research is supported by the Office of Experiential Learning. With the event in the forefront of his mind, Pu decided to get his students involved.
The UD students greatly contributed to the success of the games, according to Nick Terbay, program coordinator for the City of Dayton’s Recreation and Youth Services.
“They kind of were a jack-of-all-trades for the day as far as helping set up, helping tear down… As of right now, I don’t see a way of pulling it off without them,” Terbay said.
The group did manual labor, including setting up and tearing down vendors, tables and tents. They also acted as field martials and oversaw what is called the “Parade of Nations” that kicks off the day.
Overall, Pu wanted his students to gain applicable skills, see the relationship between sports and social change firsthand and serve the Dayton community.
“We want our students to basically step outside the classrooms, step outside the campus to really get into the community and use their skills or knowledge to [give] back to the community,” Pu said.
Terbay expressed his gratitude for the UD students that volunteered saying, “It’s great to finally put those two great minds together and try to come up with something like this.”
The collaboration continued with Pu welcoming some of the players from the event to his class on Nov. 12. According to the UD Sport Management Twitter account, “The students and visitors had insightful conversations on the impact of international sport for development and peace initiatives.”