University holds Putt-Putt for Change event


Sports Event Management 450, a capstone course taught by Dr. VanSumeren, partnered with the Student Government Association on Nov. 29 to bring a philanthropic event to Stetson’s shores.


This event, affectionately dubbed “Putt-Putt for Change,” was a mini golf tournament for students and faculty that boasted a $600 donation to a charity of the winner’s choosing. Sports Event Management 450 challenges its class to host an event each semester, however this year’s assembly of students elected to exceed the professors expectations in order to bring the community together and rally behind a good cause during these trying times. 


Dominic Carlucci ‘23, pseudo-coordinator for this event, talked about how he and his peers came to the decision to go above and beyond with this assignment. 


“When Justin Roberson, Max Naya, and I had our initial meeting, we decided that we were going to make it bigger than what anyone expected. Part of it was for us and how it would help us going forward, but we also wanted to go the extra mile, and get people together since we haven’t been able to gather in a year,” said Carlucci. 


The goal was to synthesize all the lessons taught by Dr. VanSumeren and use them in a real world application that adds value to the community. The intentionality that they put behind each and every choice regarding their event shows the level of care that they had for this project. 


Elise Paulson from Stetson’s Office of Risk Management  met with them several times to help them make this event as safe as possible in terms of both COVID-19 precautionary measures and accessibility. The students spoke with Paulson about a myriad of activities that the fundraiser could have centered around, but finally landed on mini golf due to its accessible nature and its ability to physically distance its participants. Ariana Motta ‘23 from SGA also helped them to reschedule their event so that they could allow time for the Stetson community to mourn the loss of a beloved fellow student. 


This event was free to enter and even offered Jeremiah’s italian ice for participants. It took place on the Rinker Field which gave everyone plenty of room to physically distance if they so desired. 


More than 100 students participated in the festivities, marking the first Putt-Putt for Change an all around success. Callahan Sweeney and Jaxson Koebel-Secky were the winners of the tournament, and they donated the prize money to MeStrong, a foundation centered around cancer research. 


A major emphasis that every contributor highlighted was the collaborative nature of the project. It became abundantly clear that this was a team effort through and through. Students in Sports Event Management 450 Moise Satine, Chad Jenkins, Jeff Feltman, and Emme McNabb were all major contributors to the event, whose roles varied from operations to marketing to business relations. The aforementioned founding members, Roberson, Naya, and Carluccialso played a huge role as spearheaders and all-rounders. Financial contributors included the Student Government Association, who covered food and rentals; Knight Storage, who donated $500; and local restaurant Wrap it Up, who donated $100.


Justin Roberson, a senior and founding member of Putt-Putt for Change, mentioned his desire to make this event an annual occurrence. 


“I’d love to leave this behind as our legacy,” said Roberson, adding that the joy and positivity this event elicited made their tumultuous journey all the more meaningful. 


Dominic alluded to the possibility of him taking the class again next year and making Putt-Putt for Change a new tradition. 


“There’s so much I would change next time, but that’s good because we learned a lot,” said Carlcutti, adding “I’m really proud of what we were able to accomplish despite our limited experience.”