Nov. 10, 2017

Buena Vista University will host its fifth annual Unified Sports Day in partnership with Special Olympics Iowa on Friday, Nov. 17. from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The event will take place in the Lamberti Recreation Center on the BVU campus.

Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through sports training and competition experiences, Special Olympics Unified Sports creates an opportunity for people without intellectual disabilities to take part in activities alongside athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Throughout the day, the Special Olympics Iowa athletes will participate in a variety of activities with BVU coaches, staff, faculty, and students. Activities will include bowling, ladder golf, bean bag toss, volleyball, soccer, pickleball, and more.

"Unified Sports Day creates a lasting impact on all who participate," said Jessy Smith, who is an instructor of education at BVU and is organizing the event. "BVU students have the opportunity to learn more about individuals with intellectual disabilities, and Special Olympics Iowa athletes have the chance to socialize with college students and learn new sports."

Students who are enrolled in Smith's adaptive physical education course have played a key role in planning this year's Unified Sports Day. In addition to helping organize event logistics, the students will be directing the activity stations and joining in with the Special Olympics Iowa athletes.

"This experience is valuable to BVU students in more ways than one," said Smith. "From planning the event to working with athletes with varying abilities, they will be able to apply what they learn throughout their lifetimes, no matter what field they pursue."

BVU's Unified Sports Day has grown significantly since its inaugural event in 2013. This year, ten schools from around Northwest Iowa have registered to take part in the event, and over 50 members of the BVU community have signed on as volunteers to date.

"Unified Sports Day is a great way for BVU to give back and to create lasting friendships within our surrounding communities," added Smith. "We're really looking forward to this year's event and to hosting it for years to come."

Anyone in the BVU community is welcome to volunteer at the event. To sign up, please contact Smith at smith11@bvu.edu or 712.749.2114.