College of Education and Human Development

Connect Magazine

Giving matters: For the love of the game

As a boy in Shanghai, China, Kevin Gu had an early obsession. “I love sports,” he says. His love is pure. While many people enjoy the competitive nature of sports—striving to win and aiming for the championship—Gu has a fondness for the games in and of themselves.

While in high school and looking for the direction in which to aim his life, he followed his passion. “I wanted to learn more specific things about sports and I took a few internships in Shanghai,” he says. One was with a soccer team, the Shanghai Shenhua. “That team was my favorite. I was pretty lucky to get an internship opportunity.”

During the internship, Gu learned about the many challenges involved in running a sports team, including all the things a team can improve upon. At the time, he didn’t know how one would go about identifying and implementing methods of improvement and saw that as an opportunity for growth.

He began looking at a sport management major and decided on Minnesota and the School of Kinesiology, where he is now a sophomore with a double major in sport management and special education.

Gu chose Minnesota for a few reasons. One was the U of M’s proximity to downtown Twin Cities and four major league sports teams, including the Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field in St. Paul.

Gu’s sports management focus is easy to understand. His special education major came about as he thought of what he may want to do with his degree.

“In high school, I volunteered in my community’s physical disability organization,” he says. “It was pretty fun. We organized several sports events. So, I thought I can connect those two majors.”

He has worked as a classroom assistant at the U’s Child Development Laboratory School and as a game day intern for the Gopher Sports marketing team. He hopes to use his experience and degree to find a job either here in the states or back home in China.

Helping him on his way is the Elizabeth C. Blenman Endowed Scholarship, which is for students pursuing unpaid internships, and the Gordon and Lois Robertson Scholarship, which grants equal access to financial assistance.

“I am so grateful,” he says, adding that unpaid internships are especially challenging for international students. “With the scholarships, I have no hesitation just to dive into these activities. I can use my time for more meaningful things.”


Photo credit: Jairus Davis