Nexus Center, Utica University to offer students new opportunities and experiences

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UTICA — Students at Utica University will soon be able to gain experience in a rare opportunity that most colleges don’t offer.

Utica University students majoring in sports management will begin working at the Nexus Center upon its completion, performing a variety of roles that will help run the facility. Construction of the Nexus Center is on track to be completed by this fall.

The Nexus Center will be a sports and recreation facility with three multipurpose playing surfaces, a training space, a fitness track, over 25 locker rooms, college classrooms and spaces for commercial offices and retail stores.

As a part of their curriculum, sports management students will learn and gain experience in every aspect of running a professional sports facility, from ticketing to marketing and running tournaments.

Joshua Ward, a Utica University student majoring in sports management, says this partnership will help students build a resume and stand out to potential employers upon graduation.

“A lot of places already require 2 to 3 years experience before you even get the job, so it’s better to already know the ins and outs of everything before you even step foot in the door,” Ward said.

There are about 40 students currently enrolled in the sports management program, however, the university expects that number to dramatically increase over the years due to the unique opportunities that will become available.

Utica University President Laura Casamento believes that partnering with the Nexus Center will make the sports management major one of the university’s biggest programs and that it will benefit the students as well as the local economy.

“It’s about tourism, it’s about sports and recreation, workforce development, all the things that we’re trying to advance in the Mohawk Valley,” Casamento said. “Our hope is that students will come here from across the country and they’ll want to stay.”

“If they’re originally from Utica or the Mohawk Valley, we want people to understand the unbelievable opportunities right in their own backyard,” Casamento added. “They don’t have to go away to a college or university, they can come here and do something here that they can’t do anyplace else.”

With Utica University partnering with the Nexus Center, students in this major can graduate from the university with up to 4 years of work experience in the sports management field, in addition to earning their degree.

“We look at it as development, we do that on the ice with hockey and soccer, and we know there’s going to be a level of developing students into the sports management realm,” said Mohawk Valley Garden CEO Robert Esche. “It’s going to be unbelievable for the students, it’s going to be unbelievable for us.”

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