Created By College Students, For College Students

The Special Olympics (SO) College Program connects college students and individuals with intellectual disabilities through sports and social activities to build one-to-one friendships and share the experiences of Special Olympics Connecticut (SOCT) athletes and their families.


The Three Pillars

SO College Engagement Programs are supported by three main pillars, which help to guide organizers and participants in creating enriching opportunities for all involved. 

  • Sports and Health
  • Youth Leadership
  • Campus Involvement

Sports and Health

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® in Schools program to play exhibition games at half-time during college games. Students have opportunities to assist Special Olympics by participating in its Healthy Athletes Program, Unified Sports® Fitness Club, and internships.

Women in a yellow jacket wearing
Individuals smiling together at the beach.

Youth Leadership

To provide leadership opportunities for students and to inspire future participation as a volunteer or staff member of the Special Olympics movement, SO College Engagement Programs organize and plan events that support Special Olympics Connecticut and its local programs. Colleges and universities can also host social events, organize fundraising events on campus or participate in SOCT fundraising events like the Penguin Plunge.

Campus Involvement

Awareness campaigns bring campus communities together and are a great way for SO College Clubs to introduce more students to the Special Olympics movement. Whether it’s through fundraising efforts, like pledge drives or cheering on our athletes as Fans in the Stands, there’s an opportunity to engage the entire campus population, from students to faculty. SO College Clubs can also adopt a local team or school and invite them on campus for a variety of activities. 

Individuals sitting together smiling holding up
Athletes wearing blue t-shirts sitting outside on bleachers smiling.

SO College Engagement Programs Near You

Special Olympics Connecticut (SOCT) is proud of its relationships with the colleges throughout the state, including Yale University, the University of Connecticut, Fairfield University, Quinnipiac University, Albertus Magnus College, Mitchell College, Eastern Connecticut State University, Southern Connecticut State University and Central Connecticut State University. 


For more information about SO College Engagement Programs and how to start or join one, contact
Marc Mercadante at or (203) 230-1201, ext. 249.