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A Celebration of Inclusivity: Special Olympics Eastern Fall Sectional Returns to Campus

by Morgan Simpson ’22 Oct 6, 2022
Special Olympics Pennsylvania Eastern Fall Sectional

The Flame of Hope lit the torch, and it was time for the games to begin.

Students and faculty lined the entrance to Billera Hall to welcome 850 athletes to the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Eastern Fall Sectional. Athletes made their way through the tunnel of student cheerleaders and basked in the well-deserved glory.

“Just seeing the pure joy and passion they have and the relationships they build with other athletes, teammates, and coaches is something special to witness. Special Olympics is the utmost celebration of life and inclusivity.”

 Julianna Barrett, student volunteer

The opening ceremony to DeSales’ largest service event of the year had to be moved indoors due to the weather, but the celebration wasn’t spoiled. Father James Greenfield, OSFS ’84, University president, urged the athletes to go into their events and embody the values of DeSales by being Bulldog Strong. In typical DSU fashion, the dance team led the athletes through the “Wobble” to boost everyone’s energy.

“It was amazing to see all the athletes smiling and enjoying their time together in one place,” said Barrett.

Some 600 DSU students volunteered at the daylong event as athletes competed in six events: flag football, powerlifting, soccer, volleyball, bocce, and long-distance running. This year was also the first time younger athletes, ages 2 to 7 years old, were included in the games. Young Athletes is an early childhood play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities who want to partake in learning the basics of the events.