Nov. 20, 2017

Buena Vista University hosted its fifth annual Unified Sports Day in partnership with Special Olympics Iowa on Friday, Nov. 17.in 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.

“Unified Sports Day creates a lasting impact on all who participate. 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.”

Jessy Smith

Throughout the day, the Special Olympics Iowa athletes participated in a variety of activities with BVU coaches, staff, faculty, and students. Activities included 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 enrolled in Smith's adaptive physical education course played a key role in planning the event. In addition to helping organize event logistics, the joined the Special Olympics Iowa athletes in the activities.

"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."