More than 500 volunteers are mobilizing for the E.ON IBU World Cup Biathlon #7 event, which will take place at the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle from Feb. 4-6, and the University of Maine at Presque Isle is doing its part to pitch in.
The international event requires organizers and volunteers with expertise in a wide variety of areas, including medical coverage, transportation, and information processing, and scores of faculty, staff and students from UMPI will be stepping up in early February to help out with these efforts.
“We are so pleased to be participating in a multitude of ways with the World Cup Biathlon event that is coming to Presque Isle and to be helping to ensure that the local community and northern Maine region are providing a friendly and welcoming experience to the hundreds of athletes, coaches and spectators who will be visiting,” UMPI President Don Zillman said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to share our region with Biathlon enthusiasts from around the world and we are confident that they will be impressed with what they find.”
UMPI has opened its doors so campus facilities can be used for various events and activities. The University’s Campus Center will serve as home base for anyone who needs official accreditation for the event, including all athletes, coaches, volunteers and media. Individuals can visit the Campus Center on Sunday, Jan. 30 from 12 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Monday, Jan. 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to register and pick up their official identification badges.
In addition, UMPI’s wellness center, Gentile Hall, will serve as the site of the event’s Opening Ceremonies, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3. The event is slated to include a parade of athletes, entertainment by the Caribou and Presque Isle high school bands, performances by students from the Maine Dance Academy, the showing of a video production about the biathlon, and the presentation of race bibs. Tickets for the Opening Ceremonies are $5 and can be purchased at UMPI’s Bookstore.
Students will be gaining important experience related to their fields of study as they and their professors assist with various volunteering efforts. More than 30 students and several staff members with the Athletic Training Education Program will be helping out with medical staffing every day of the event. This effort is being coordinated by Program Director Barbara Blackstone and Clinical Coordinator Deena Albert Parks, who also is serving as a Doping Control Coordinator during the competition. Professor Sue Beaudet and several of her Physical Education students and UMPI alumni will be working on the ski patrol and assisting with medical staffing. As well, about 20 Criminal Justice students will be volunteering as security officers for the event.
Members of the campus community are volunteering their time to help with activities during the event, from scoring and shooting support during the competitions to transportation and food service efforts. Two UMPI officials also have contributed to the event planning in very big ways.
Greg Doak, UMPI’s Bookstore manager, is heading up the PayPal ticket processing efforts for both the World Cup #7 and the World Cup #8 event, which is being held in Fort Kent. This is a significant undertaking because the major events during the World Cup Biathlon – including the Opening Ceremonies and the three days worth of competitions – will be ticketed events that feature a $5 cash ticket price or an $8 PayPal ticket price. Doak and Jen Flynn, of Husson University, have been tracking online ticket sales for both the Presque Isle and Fort Kent venues. The two will be staffing ticket booths as well as coordinating the volunteer effort for those pick-up locations.
Mary Lawrence, UMPI’s coordinator of Conferences and Special Programs, is serving on the event’s organizing committee as the Coordinator of Volunteers. Her role is to oversee a committee whose members are working with the various organizing chiefs and chairs to ensure that the volunteers they need are identified and properly scheduled. Currently, there are more than 500 volunteers in the committee’s database, but more are needed. According to Lawrence, if you are interested in serving as a volunteer, there is still time to sign up at www.biathlon-presqueisle.org.