Created by college students for college students, the SO College network connects college students and individuals with intellectual disabilities through sports and social activities. This helps build friendships and a better understanding of the needs and capabilities of Special Olympics Connecticut athletes and their families.
SO College has three main components:
College students and Special Olympics Connecticut athletes can unite to create Unified Sports® teams. These teams practice together and may compete against other college teams. In addition, colleges and universities can host local- and state-level scrimmages and competitions; as well as provide sites for local practices. Colleges can also invite local teams that are part of the Special Olympics Unified Sports® School Program administered by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) to play exhibition games at half-time during college games.
SO College Clubs can organize and plan events that support Special Olympics Connecticut and its local programs. Clubs can host social events such as dances and may invite Special Olympics’ Global Messengers (athletes who are spokespersons for the organization), coaches or staff to speak to classes on campus. Connecticut colleges and universities can also recruit students in specialized departments or studies to provide services that will benefit Special Olympics athletes. Students have opportunities to assist Special Olympics by participating in its Healthy Athletes Program, Unified Sports® Fitness Clubs, internships, and courses about Special Olympics Connecticut.
Awareness campaigns bring campus communities together. Pledge drives, such as the Spread the Word to End the Word® campaign – aimed at ending the use of the derogatory “r” word – rally respect for people of all abilities and can engage the whole student body, faculty and college staff in an initiative that is important and meaningful. All students can be Fans in the Stands at Special Olympics year-round competitions held at schools and in communities. This is a great way for SO College Clubs to introduce more students to the Special Olympics movement. SO College Clubs can also adopt a local team or school and invite them on campus for a variety of activities.
Special Olympics Connecticut is proud of its relationships with SO College Clubs throughout the state, including clubs at Yale University, the University of Connecticut, Fairfield University, Quinnipiac University, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Southern Connecticut State University and the University of Hartford.
University of Connecticut
Through its Office of Community Outreach, the UCONN SO College program has been supporting Special Olympics Connecticut (SOCT) activities since 2005. Their student-led committee has organized and hosted the UCONN Husky SOCT Soccer Qualifying Tournament on campus for the last 10 years. In addition, UCONN hosts an annual dodgeball tournament to raise money for SOCT, held "End the R-Word" Campaigns at the Student Union (see video here) and sent volunteer teams off campus to help at competitions and fundraising events.
In the spring of 2016, the UCONN SO College Club recruited, registered and trained 16 student volunteers to serve as assistant coaches for three nearby local program spring sports practices. They hope to expand this project and support additional sports during the fall semester.
For more information about SO College Clubs and how to begin or join a club, contact:
(203) 230-1201, ext. 224