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Arts & Entertainment

Putting on a Show for Co-op — In a Good Way!

March 3, 2016

Laurelle Holley, a senior sport management major, stands outside the Mandell Theater.

This is one of a regular series profiling Drexel students and their co-ops. 

Laurelle Holley spent time around big stars at some of Philadelphia’s most exciting happenings for her last two co-ops, but she was too busy working to be star-struck.

The senior sport management major worked behind-the-scenes at the U.S. Open Squash Championships held at Drexel for her first co-op; the program assistant became a pro at accommodating international world-class athletes and fans for the large-scale event. Her next co-op, as a live event production co-op at the Trocadero and Mann Center, created opportunities where Holley ensured that concerts and shows were perfect for both the VIP performers and the fans that love them.

After completing both of these co-ops, Holley was asked to stay on part-time as an intern, which she happily accepted at both organizations.

“My biggest thing is making great experiences for others. Just seeing the final finished projects and shows and knowing how much work was put into it was probably one of the best parts of these experiences. I love hearing how much everyone enjoyed the show and seeing everyone who contributed enjoy their hard work paying off,” she explained.  

That being said, it should come as no surprise that in her free time, Holley can usually be found putting on events … but this time on campus.

As traditions director for the Campus Activities Board for the 2014-2015 school year, Drexel’s main event programming organization, Holley oversaw production of annual highlights like The Comedy Show, which brought “Parks and Recreation” star Retta to campus; the Crystal Ball semi-formal held at Citizens Bank Park’s Diamond Club; and Spring Jam, which featured national musical acts like Big Gigantic. 

“I worked with all types of vendors, contractors and University administrators to make sure these events could run smoothly. And I got a lot of hands-on experience, which was amazing—and totally Drexel!” she said. 

For all of these professional experiences, Holley handled the marketing and administrative services and also worked backstage. For example, at U.S. Squash, she noticed that the site wasn’t updating its social media presence and when she brought it up, her supervisors gave her full control over the accounts. And at the Trocadero and Mann Center, Holley did everything from researching artists, working with marketing partnerships with Comcast and radio stations and setting up meet-and-greets. She’s loves both the behind-the-scenes and office work, which she has done for both athletic and entertainment organizations.

“I didn’t really want to specifically pinpoint and hold myself into one thing. I wanted to see the different options. Ultimately, I would like to do something that combines the two of them, which is why I’ve tried to get experience in both and see how they overlap,” she explained. 

That mindset has helped her going in for interviews, according to Holley.

“I can talk about transferrable skills and how everything is all entertainment, including sports—it’s just a specific market and depends on what you’re working with,” she said. “It was a task for me to see how I could potentially make this work for me now, and hopefully in the future as well."

About the Drexel Co-op program: More than 98 percent of eligible undergraduate students at Drexel University participate in the co-op program, balancing full-time classes and up to three different internships during their time at Drexel. Students can choose from more than 1,700 employers in 33 states and 48 international locations — plus endless possibilities through self-arranged placements.