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      Sport Management Lunch and Learn

      A member of the Star Wars fan-based organization the 501st Legion speaks to students as part of the Sports Management Lunch-and-Learn Speaker Series on Sept. 19.

      Widener business students learned recently that the “Dark Side” isn’t all that bad.

      Jason Romanoff and Mike Bryant, members of the Star Wars fan-based organization the 501st Legion, spoke to students as part of the Sports Management Lunch-and-Learn Speaker Series on Sept. 19.

      The Legion re-creates film-quality costumes of the villainous characters of the Star Wars galaxy to raise funds for charity, and has been likened to a Shriners or Lions Club for a modern generation.

      “It is all about #badguysdoinggood,” said Romanoff. “We just decided as Star Wars enthusiasts and nerds ourselves to reinvest our love and vigor with the Star Wars genre into a positive influence in the communities.”

      The 501st Legion currently boasts more than 10,000 active members worldwide with Garrisons and Outposts in almost 70 countries around the globe.

      Romanoff and Bryant are part of the Garrison Carida, which serves Pennsylvania and Delaware. The group has built long-standing, committed relationships with various well-known charitable organizations. Members also make visits to several children’s hospitals each year.

      But from a marketing perspective, Bryant said the 100 percent volunteer organization has gained such a following that Lucasfilm granted the 501st Legion a limited use of their copyrighted characters.

      This has allowed the organization to have an even greater impact when raising funds for charities.

      “Take your passion—whatever it may be—and find a way to use it to make a difference in the world,” said Bryant, a police officer with the Northwest Lancaster County Regional Police Department. “That is really what our core desire is as fans…even if it is on a small scale.”

      This idea really stuck with accounting major Matthew Bernath, who was especially moved by the work the 501st Legion does in hospitals.

      “If you really like something, you ought to just do it,” the freshman said. “You have to follow what you believe in.”

      The Sports Management Lunch-and-Learn series aims to bring speakers to campus to give students new perspectives on a variety of business-related topics.

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