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Cougar Cup Students
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Students in Professor Neil Malvone’s “Intro to Esports Business Management” class planned and hosted a “Cougar World Cup” Nov. 29 on campus. The event featured a chance to build community, learn about VR technology, watch the USA soccer team and raise funds for the Bryan J. Norton Memorial Foundation to support student scholarships.  

Attendees gathered in the Cougar Den to watch the game between the U.S. and Iran on big screens, enjoy multicultural foods and take part in an esports FIFA tournament.  

Those who attended were able to try out the new VR technology normally housed in the Jennings Library. In coordination with library director Victoria Swanson and her team, student Giovanni Cessel demonstrated how to use the technology. He found that all the students who tried the sets “were amazed and kept asking me if they could borrow them.”  

Student trying out the VR Technology
A student trying out the VR Technology.

Student Mariam Darwish said that she and her peers were surprised at the great turnout and that so many students wanted to play in the tournament. She was grateful for the chance to learn from Malvone, who she said is “a great leader, who did everything to help make this event such a success.” 

Students in the class planned the event, working with the Student Life, Information Technology  and Facilities Departments. Malvone said the purpose of the assignment was to help students understand the esports ecosystem and stakeholders by developing and executing the event plan, communications and sponsorship marketing.  

Brandon Sunbury appreciated how Malvone engaged students in experiential learning. “I learned about the elements of an event like the marketing, promoting and operations that can be applied to multiple industries, not just esports. Being a senior, that type of learning is very essential when transitioning from college to the real world.”

Professor Malvone and students
Professor Malvone (far right) and students.

Malvone said he believed in the philosophy of well-known author Stephen Covey that “to learn and not to do is really not to learn.” The most rewarding aspect of the event was the decision the class made to donate all proceeds to the foundation, which Malvone said taught the students “to always remember to give back.”  Malvone and the class presented Bryan Norton’s mother, Caldwell alumna Sheri DePiro-Norton, and his sister, alumna Megan, with the proceeds to benefit the foundation. Bryan passed away July 11. The Caldwell alumnus had earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sport management in 2020 and achieved early success in his career, working for the New York Yankees, the New Jersey Devils and, in his most recent position, at MLB as a partnership activation coordinator. A former student of Malvone’s, Bryan is remembered by faculty and students as a wonderful friend and peer who was motivated to succeed in a career he had a passion for.