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The Experience of a Lifetime: Students Attend the London Olympics

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Lori Byers moderates while aspiring journalism and telecommunications students share with luncheon attendees the experiences they had at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Guests of this fall's Beneficence Society and 1918 Society Homecoming Luncheon at the Ball State Alumni Center were treated to an up-close and personal view of one of Ball State's most exciting immersive learning programs: a trip to the London Olympics.

More than 190 guests attended the annual event, which honors the many members of the Beneficence Society (those who make planned gifts to Ball State) and 1918 Society (those who make continuous annual gifts to Ball State).

One of the highlights of the luncheon was a special presentation of "BSU at the London Olympic Games: An Immersive Learning Experience of a Lifetime," featuring a panel of four Ball State students, moderated by Lori Byers, associate dean of the College of Communication, Information, and Media.

And We're Off!
With special funding from a Provost Immersive Learning Grant, Ryan Sparrow, instructor of journalism, took 40 aspiring journalism and telecommunications students to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London to report and produce content.

The group coined itself "BSU at the Games," and received national and international attention for their pieces published in the Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, and USA Today College.

A Lasting Impression

Panel member and senior public relations major Kait Buck credits Ball State for one of the most memorable experiences not only of her education, but of her life.

"Everyone on this trip calls ‘BSU at the Games' the best experience of their life. Not of college, not of the year-of their life. The more I was involved with this program, the more I realized that Ball State is becoming nationally known for immersive learning efforts," Kait says.

Beneficence Society member Mira Zimmerman was impressed with the students' dedication to their learning project.

"I was blown away to learn that Ball State had the only university community of students working at the Games in this manner. I was very impressed with the national and international media coverage that picked up the students' work," Mira says.

You Make It All Possible

Donors make these experiences possible for students, and through immersive learning opportunities, Ball State students are gaining valuable skills and life lessons to change the world.

"I thought the panel was a great way to share the experience. Hearing the story from the students is the only way we can really understand the program's impact," says Doug Reddington, a luncheon attendee.

Kait emphasizes that her life-changing experience is credited to alumni who help make these programs possible.

"Alumni need to know that it is only because of them that these programs succeed," Kait says. "Donating to immersive learning programs is a wonderful way to provide more opportunities for more students like me. Alumni are also our key partners in many immersive learning programs simply by offering up their advice, mentorship, and connections."

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