Thanks to an ongoing partnership between Downtown Tempe Authority and Southern Utah University’s Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism (ORPT) program, students in the program are able to participate in the Tempe Festival of the Arts (TFA) each year.
“This has been a great partnership for both ORPT and Tempe Festival of the Arts,” said Dr. Kelly Goonan. “What is especially notable is they reached out to SUU specifically because of our reputation and emphasis on experiential education, even though there are other colleges and universities much closer.”
Since 2018, SUU’s ORPT program has participated in the event immersion program, giving students valuable hands-on experience with the long-running festival. Students help with setup and takedown and depending on the season, either shadow staff to learn about a program area or supervise an area themselves.
Each fall, students meet with staff from organizations like the City of Tempe and Tempe Tourism, and each spring, with staff with specific responsibilities with the festival. These Spotlight Sessions give students the opportunity to learn more about each person and their work with the festival.
“Through the program, students learn about the logistics and planning needed to host a large-scale event and the specific elements needed for the smaller program areas within the event. They also learn how community events like TFA can support the missions of multiple organizations. Students also develop professional skills like communication, problem-solving, and organization and grow their professional network.”
The Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism program at SUU is an interdisciplinary degree offered by the Department of Kinesiology and Outdoor Recreation. The interdisciplinary nature of the program includes course work from agriculture science, biology, communication, geology, and hotel and hospitality management.
Kelly Goonan Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation
Dr. Goonan shares her outdoor recreation expertise with tips to stay safe while hiking, visiting national parks & exploring the backcountry.