OSU becomes the first unified Special Olympics university program in Oklahoma
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
Media contact: Christy Lang | Manager, Communications and Marketing | 405-744-9273 | [email protected]
The university will offer unified intramural sports this fall
Oklahoma State University is expanding its partnership with Special Olympics Oklahoma by becoming the first unified Special Olympics university program in the state and launching Unified Intramural Sports this fall.
Special Olympics college programs connect students and community members with intellectual disabilities through shared experiences, creating campus communities and friendships that lead to social inclusion. Through a collaboration of the OSU Wellness Department and the Developmental Disabilities InstituteSpecial Olympics athletes can compete in OSU Unified Intramural Sports beginning in August.
“We are excited about this partnership and the opportunities to improve diversity, equity and inclusion on the Stillwater campus,” said Dr. Jennifer Jones, director of the Institute for Developmental Disabilities. “This is another natural extension of our work at the Developmental Disabilities Institute where we learn and work alongside people with disabilities and their families.
Unified intramural teams will include OSU students serving as unified partners alongside Special Olympics athletes. Cornhole, esports, bowling and pétanque tournaments, a 5v5 flag football league, a 6v6 volleyball league and more will be offered this fall.
“Through this partnership, we seek to provide athletes and partners with an experience they could not get anywhere else. We hope to bring people together to play, compete and build relationships with each other through sport and embody what it is to be an OSU cowboy,” said Brandon Bermea, Competitive Sports Coordinator and summer camps at the OSU Wellness Department.
Recruitment is underway for OSU students and employees to participate as Special Olympics athletes, Unified Partners, or coaches in one-day tournaments or league seasons. Interested persons are invited to complete this brief form.
The university has a long-standing relationship with Special Olympics Oklahoma. The campus and town of Stillwater have hosted the annual summer games since 1985.
John Seals, vice president of athletics and training for Special Olympics Oklahoma, said OSU’s Special Olympics Unified College program will provide opportunities for people with and without disabilities to experience belonging and welfare.
“Unified intramural sports at OSU will fulfill a long-term goal of Special Olympics by providing opportunities for athletes to compete in an inclusive league alongside their peers and demonstrate their abilities to a very wide audience,” said Seals said.
For more information, contact the Institute for Developmental Disabilities at 405-744-3991 or [email protected]