Pan Am games a boon to Humber students

Athletes’ village being built in Toronto for the 2015 Pan Am games. Humber College students will be among volunteers.  Photo by Geo Swan/Wikimedia Commons. Athletes’ village being built in Toronto for the 2015 Pan Am games. Humber College students will be among volunteers. Photo by Geo Swan/Wikimedia Commons.

Morgan Gallagher
Queen’s Park/City Hall Reporter

Next summer’s Pan American/Parapan Games are on track to offer unique experiences for the Humber College community.

There is a wide variety of opportunities to work and volunteer at the games, which run from July 10 to Aug. 15, 2015, and are a precursor to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

With more than 51 sports on display and close to 7,000 athletes, the Pan Am games will give Humber students a chance to meet and work with people in the fields that they wish to pursue.

“It’s an opportunity for students to get involved. You can not only get volunteer experience, but you can build networks,” said Dayo Kefentse, manager of media relations and a Humber grad from the Radio Broadcasting certificate program.

Volunteering is not the only way to get involved. The youth summit, taking place in Toronto next March 21 and 22, could be ideal for those looking to become involved in community building, Kefentse said. “It’s a way in which young people can participate (in the games).”

Another way Humber students can lend a helping hand would be to actually volunteer for the games. Renee Wilson, corporate communications coordinator for the town of Caledon, said Humber students don’t have to live in Toronto to help with the games. This is especially important for Humber’s many students who wish to get involved from Mississauga, Brampton, Orangeville and other communities.

“Three events have already sold out: the opening ceremonies, soccer and equestrian, which is what the town of Caledon is hosting. This makes Caledon the place to volunteer,” Wilson said.

Caledon is also offering Humber students a chance to use skills learned at school with two different initiatives: The Tourism Ambassador Program (TAP), which offers students the chance to become a Pan Am representative in the Caledon area, and The Community Engagement and Activation Program.

“The education partnership sets Humber apart because it’s like an internship times 100,” Wilson said about the Community Engagement and Activation Program. “Students will work in groups to create a cool tourism plan for Pan Am. If (their plan is) picked, students will actually get jobs implementing that plan at the games.”

Susan Somerville, Dean of the School of Hospitality and Tourism at Humber College, said that working with Caledon is giving students the chance to put their skills to use in the real world.

“Our partnership with the town of Caledon will include student projects, a certificate as a Tourism Ambassador and two jobs that will carry the legacy of the games beyond 2015.”

While a majority of the jobs and opportunities offered through the Humber-Caledon path to the games are in the hospitality field, students in other programs have openings, too.

“Our Sport Management program is launching a Pan Am Day on Nov 13 to ‘Ignite’ interest in the games,” Somerville said.

If you’re interested in volunteering for the 2015 Pan Am games, check out