My name is Devan (or as my classmates call me – Digs) and I am stoked to have the opportunity to spend the next 16 months sharing my DeVos experience with all of you. Everything that has brought me to the point where I am a member of the Class of 2011 has been nothing short of one fantastic ride; but I know the real adventure is just about to begin.
I recently graduated from the University of Central Missouri (UCM) where I received a dual-bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication and Political Science. While at UCM I participated in a number of student organizations and completed a number of internships and it was during the summer of 2007, while serving as the Assistant General Manager for a minor league sports team, that I realized that what I had always wanted to do and what I wanted to do now, more than ever, was work in the field of sports.
But to simply work in the sports industry was not and is not enough for me. No matter what field I work in, I have always wanted to be somewhere that I could make a difference; I wanted to be in a position where I could bring about social change and foster diversity. These have always been goals of mine and as I looked at sport management programs across the country – I found there was one that could not only provide me a top-notch education; but one that would support and encourage my other endeavors as well. I have always lived by Gandhi’s maxim of, “be the change you wish to see in the world” and since it’s inception, the DeVos program at UCF has done just that and in my first two weeks here, I have been fortunate enough to be apart of that change.
Last week, the DeVos classes of 2010 and 2011 went to New Orleans and spent a week rebuilding the Ninth Ward, which is still in ruin even four years after Hurricane Katrina. We spent the week doing a number of jobs which included insulating houses, hanging sheet rock, and painting. We did this in cooperation with Hope For Stanley and the St. Bernard Project (CNN’s Humanitarian Organization of the Year for 2008). Overall, it was an eye-opening trip that gave all of us the chance to truly give our time, our talents, and our energy to help rebuild a city that still desperately needs our help. This was the 22nd such trip by the DeVos program and there are already plans for at least two more this school year.
I cannot even begin to describe the emotions that such an experience stirred in me or to tell you the things I saw but I will tell you that it was one of the most meaningful weeks of my life. In the Ninth Ward, we saw devastation, we saw shortcomings, and we saw a disaster; but we also saw hope – we saw the heart of the city; we saw the spirit of New Orleans that assured me that the Big Easy will one day shine bigger and brighter than ever and to be a part of this rebuilding endeavor now and in the future is something that I am definitely looking forward to.
I came to DeVos because I do want to work in the sports industry, I do want to be successful; but more than anything – I want to make a difference; I want to be the change and sport is the best way to implement that change. Dr. Lapchick will often say that, “there’s something about sport” and he’s absolutely right. Sport unites us, sport brings us together, and in the case of New Orleans, sport has renewed the hope of an entire population, and sport is rebuilding that great city.
Last week I realized that more than ever DeVos is the place for me and I look forward to receiving a world-class education and using the influence of this industry to make a positive difference in the world. There is something about sport that transcends shoe contracts, web-gems, and multi-million dollar deals – there’s an opportunity to be that change. There are 29 of us in the class of 2011 who are here for that very reason and I’m excited to be a part of this class and to see what we will accomplish and how we will change the face of sport.
Until next week,