Students coordinate team building event for international Sport Management exchange

Activities set positive tone for 10 day program

October 25, 2022 |

A large group of students from HAN University and Minnesota State University posing while doing the horns up with their hands and holding a Minnesota State University, Mankato Sport Management banner in Myers Field House

Students from Minnesota State Mankato and HAN University took a quick photo break during a morning of team building activities.


Students and faculty from the Minnesota State University, Mankato Sport Management program recently welcomed 15 students and three leaders from HAN University in the Netherlands for a Sport Management exchange.

The October 2022 program brings the two groups together for 10 jam-packed days of tours, activities, and opportunities to explore similarities and differences related to sports in American and Dutch cultures.

First things first: Team building

Shortly after arriving in Mankato, the delegation from HAN met up with their counterparts from Minnesota State Mankato for an event coordinated by a third group of students―students in Minnesota State’s Human Performance course, “Event Management in Sport”.

Chantal Burke, a student in the class and Sport Management major, said they were tasked with the real-world challenge of coordinating a team building event for the combined group of HAN and Minnesota State University students that would help set a positive tone for the duration of the exchange program.

“This was the first time the two groups met so our goal for the class was to create a team bonding event,” Burke said. “We wanted something that was active, with good energy and a way for everyone to have fun.”

Held in Myers Field house, the team building event featured several unconventional sports-related activities―think hitting golf balls into red Solo cups and tossing footballs in hula hoops dangling from a net―all with upbeat music pumping in the background. The most traditional game may have been Rock Paper Scissors.

As part of their assignment, students in the Event Management class designed the activities, secured equipment, created teams with a mix of HAN and Minnesota State University students, coordinated logistics, kept score during the games, secured and awarded prizes for the winning teams and even reached out to ensure a bit of publicity, like this article, for the event.

Following the team-building event, the two groups in the exchange program began several days of activities in the Mankato area before spending the second half of their trip in the Twin Cities.

Some of the planned activities taking place during the exchange include:

  • Participating in and learning about traditional Native American lacrosse
  • Attending or watching various sport-related activities
  • Volunteering at a trail run
  • Connecting with current Minnesota State Mankato students and alumni who are interning or employed in the sport industry
  • Meeting with representatives from Minnesota sports teams including the Wild, United, Lynx, and Timberwolves and representatives from the National Sports Center, Minneapolis Sports and Events, Edina High School Athletics Department and University of St. Thomas
  • Touring locations such as the Excel Energy Center, the National Sport Center, Super Rink and Velodrome, Target Center and US Bank Stadium

Suzannah Armentrout, a professor of Human Performance at Minnesota State Mankato, has been involved with previous exchanges with HAN. She said in addition to the students getting extensive real-world experiences during the program, they also focus on comparing and contrasting “sport science” as it’s often referred to in Europe, with “sport management” as it’s called in the United States.

“This is a truly unique program for both our universities,” Armentrout said. “For Minnesota State Mankato students, this really opens the door for those who may not have the chance to travel abroad. This brings cultural awareness and an international experience here and provides an incredible learning opportunity for everyone.”