NCAA Tournament Volunteers Learn Hospitality And More

Tuesday, March 15th 2011, 7:57 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- March Madness has Tulsans rolling out the red carpet for basketball fans from around the country. But before they tournament tips off here on Friday, volunteers got a crash course in hospitality and traffic control.

The chamber is depending on volunteers to sell fans at the BOK Center on Tulsa. You'll know the volunteers by these blue shirts they'll be wearing.

Where to eat? Where to park? How do you get there? Tulsa wants to make sure 'March Madness' doesn't describe its hospitality.

John Roe and other VisitTulsa members are training volunteers to help the fans.

"Just remind them of the basics of how great the city is, and that you might be used to going to your favorite spot, but these people don't have a clue," said Amy Huntley, VisitTulsa vice president.

More than 100 people have already volunteered. Haley Quick is helping out because she loves college basketball.

"Just to see what volunteer opportunities were out there. I thought it would be fun to be around the NCAA tournament," said Tulsa resident Haley Quick.

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Volunteers will wear blue shirts that say "Tulsan" on the back. They'll also carry bright yellow bags that are full of Tulsa maps showing restaurant, nightspot, shuttle and hotel information.

Jovan Lee is commuting from Stillwater to help out.

"Very happy, very excited about it. I get the chance to help out with a tournament game, because I watch them a lot," said Jovan Lee, an Oklahoma State University student.

And that energy is exactly what the city wants from volunteers. They'll work in five-hour shifts, walking around the BOK Center or riding shuttles around, ready to answer questions from visitors.

Jeffrey Bollinger says he'll bring his daughter along to meet and greet the fans.

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"I've worked with John Roe all week training our taxi drivers, and I got excited about what was going on and wanted to help out and volunteer myself," he said.

If you are interested in volunteering for the tournament, go to the Tulsa Sports Commission website.