Shenandoah University students, faculty preparing for work at Winter OIympics

shenandoah universityTwenty-eight Shenandoah University students and five faculty/staff members will travel to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, from Jan. 31 to Feb. 27, as volunteer participants. The 2018 Winter Olympics begins on Feb. 9 and ends on Feb. 25, 2018.

Of the 28 student participants, nine are from the College of Arts & Sciences and 19 are from the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business, with 17 undergraduate business students and two MBA students, respectively. All students are involved in the university’s Global Experiential Learning (GEL) program. The group will work at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre in various roles.

“This is the first-ever opportunity for Shenandoah students to participate at an Olympics event,” said Associate Professor of Sport Management Fritz Polite, Ph.D., who will co-lead the group along with Professor of Mass Communications and Lin Rong Son Chair Gina Daddario, Ph.D.

“Not only will students participate in one of the greatest international events, but they’ll also get to meet volunteers from all over the world,” said Polite. “After spending nearly a month away from campus, living among an international community, and managing their course work at a distance during these four weeks, our students will be prepared for nearly any work situation or challenge after they graduate.”

The students will also, according to Dr. Polite, experience many opportunities to take in the culture, politics and social experiences of the region as they interact with individuals from around the world.

“The Byrd School of Business is honored and excited to be a part of the upcoming Olympic Games,” said Byrd School Dean and Professor of Management Miles Davis, Ph.D.” “This is a unique experience for our students to take their learning beyond the classroom and apply it within a multicultural context.”

The university’s Global Experiential Learning (GEL) program offers Shenandoah students a short-term, faculty-led, study-abroad experience for academic credit. Since the program’s inception in 2000, students have traveled to approximately 30 nations, including Argentina, China, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, and Thailand. The GEL program aims to make the world a learning laboratory for students, providing deep exploration into individual fields of study, the opportunity to understand where the United States fits in terms of the world viewpoint, and the ability to enhance skills in cultural sensitivity, flexibility, and capability to adjust and adapt.

This month-long academic experience fulfills an experiential learning requirement within the undergraduate business program, and for MBA students, it meets the restricted elective component of the graduate program. College of Arts and Sciences students are taking this trip as an elective for the mass communication major or minor.

“This is an opportunity for our students to practice what they are learning in an international setting,” said Dr. Daddario.

Follow the students on social media as they share their experiences at the 2018 Winter Olympics with the hashtag #SUolympicsGEL. To view a video of the send-off event, go to



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