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Social Responsibility: Students Observe Companies at World Cup

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June 23, 2010 – A group of Georgetown graduate students traveled to South Africa for the World Cup to watch how companies working for social change keep their goals.

The School of Continuing Studies’ Sports Industry Management (SIM) program sent a group of graduate students to the June 11-July 11 World Cup to explore how event sponsors such as FIFA (the international soccer organization) Coca-Cola and Nike are helping South Africans.

From June 10-22, nine SIM students and two others from the school's journalism master's program took a course called World Cup and Global Sports Economics and Social Responsibility.

Meetings in Person

“The first-hand experience and the one-on-one meetings with leading executives surrounding the World Cup have created a combination that will put us all in positions to be the next leaders in the sports industry,” said Matt Crawford (G’11) of Novi, Mich.

The course, conducted through South Africa’s University of Pretoria, introduced students to the basic elements of an international sporting event and focused on the use of sports as a catalyst for social change.

“This course provided an opportunity for students to be on location in South Africa and to witness the social and historical impact of one of the world’s most important sporting events,” said Matt Winkler, associate dean of SIM. He called getting to hear presentations from executives representing the U.S. Soccer Federation, ESPN, Nike, Visa, NBA International, Coca-Cola, FIFA and others “a big coup for us.”

Community Efforts in Action

Students toured facilities in two of the city’s poorest townships, where World Cup sponsors exercised corporate social responsibility efforts by building a Nike training facility, set up to help youth in the Soweto township not only learn soccer but also about the HIV awareness.

Georgetown students also visited the site of the Football For Hope 2010 Festival that will take place in the Alexandra township July 4-10. Thirty-two teams of young people from disadvantaged communities around the world will travel to the township for a festival of education, culture and football.

“This trip is balanced between experience and exploration,” said Roberto Coquis (G’11) of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “Not only has the group been able to talk with executives about their initiatives but also experience their community efforts in action.

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