Forty-seven feet stood between a missed shot or free tuition for a semester when two University of Indianapolis students had the opportunity to attempt a half-court shot on “Pack the House” night for men’s and women’s basketball on Feb. 26.
Throughout the semester, the Professional Edge Center has hosted more than 20 different workshops ranging from resume review to post-graduate planning. Students had professional headshots taken for their LinkedIn profiles for the first event held on Jan. 20 and then had the opportunity to talk with Professional Edge staff at the last event of “Careers & Coffee” on Feb. 25.
Everyone who attended the workshops was eligible to be selected for the half-court shot, and one male and one female student were randomly drawn during the pep rally in the Schwitzer Student Center on Feb. 26.
Sophomore supply chain management and entrepreneurship major Aaron Vaughn was selected to take the half-court shot. Although the ball hit the rim and bounced off, Vaughn said that it was a great opportunity and that there are many benefits that come from visiting the Professional Edge Center.
“I think the Pro Edge Center is a great way to get started in an internship or career search. They provide you with a lot of resources that can help you get where you want to be,” he said.
Associate Vice President of the Professional Edge Center Corey Wilson said that the center received a positive response from the students and that many of the faculty on campus can be credited for pushing students to attend the various workshops hosted over the past month.
“The faculty has also supported the activities we have hosted by encouraging the students to come, which I think is helpful. We’ve had events in the residence halls at 9 p.m., and we’ll have students come and say, ‘Well, my professor told me I needed to be here.’ So that’s been helpful in addition to having the free tuition carry them as well,” Wilson said.
The process of giving a student free tuition was quite a long one, according to Wilson, and many offices across campus can be given credit for making it happen.
“[It takes] a whole lot of magic. It involves working with the President’s Office, Financial Aid, Athletics and even with the Provost’s Office to make sure all things are in order. This is a definite campus-wide effort; it’s not done in a vacuum by any means,” Wilson said.
The students were announced at noon on the day of the game, giving the two several hours to practice for the big night, if they desired. Vaughn said that his strategy was more mental than physical when preparing for the half-court shot.
“I didn’t practice at all. I figured if I thought about it, I would try to figure out a way to try and better my shot. So I just went out there and shot,” Vaughn said.
Both participants came fairly close to making their half-court shot. The two students chosen in the Fall of 2014 to make a field goal for free tuition were not too far off the goal post either. Vaughn believes that because the students seem to be getting closer, the Professional Edge Center should continue to make this possible for students.
“I do think the university should continue these [opportunities] because between the field goal kick first semester that was close and the couple of shots this semester, the next person is going to get some free tuition,” he said.
Wilson also believes the university should continue events such as this and said that there already has been discussion about other ways to get students involved on campus while also giving them this opportunity.
“We have already been discussing what we’ll do in the fall of 2015. You always want to be creative. You never want to get stale. So we’ll look at it and see if there is interest in the students,” Wilson said. “We definitely want to see more and more students participate because what the Edge Center is offering outside of the field goal or basketball shot is an opportunity to build your social skills. We would hope the students would take advantage of that.”
The Professional Edge Center is located in the Stierwalt Alumni House, and no appointment is necessary if a student wants to meet and discuss internships, careers or their future. Any questions or comments also can be tweeted on Twitter at @UIndyEdge.