By Brianna Cravens, Copy Editor
The Hardin-Simmons University Department of University Recreation has partnered with Special Olympics West Texas to bring the Unified Program to HSU. The program allows athletes from Special Olympics Texas to pair up with HSU students and compete in intramural games.
Donavon Hailey, coordinator for University Recreation, explained what the Unified Program entails. “Unified sports is a collaboration between UREC, specifically the intramural program, and Special Olympics West Texas. The program creates an environment of inclusion and competition,” Hailey said.
The program started at HSU in the fall of 2019 with flag football and will continue with volleyball, soccer and hopefully basketball.
Hailey explained how the program got implemented at HSU. “A lot of colleges are doing it and we have been trying to implement the program as well. We figured out what would work best for us, as a lot of universities are doing it [the program] with sports such as bocce or table tennis. We saw that participation was kind of dropping so we wanted to give our students and the unified athletes an opportunity to play together,” Hailey said.
Hailey shared what this collaboration means for the intramural program. “This means a lot to me and our students, but once you come participate and get involved you understand that you’re always going to get more from this league than you could ever give. We are lucky to be a part of the program, because this is way bigger than us,” Hailey said.
Hailey explained the ways HSU students can get involved with the Unified Program. “There are opportunities to mentor, coach and participate. For those who are on the fence about participating, I encourage you to try it. You never know what you’ll get from it,” Hailey said.
If you are interested in participating, HSU students can register by creating an IMLeagues account and sign up for Unified. More information regarding signing up can be found at https://www.hsutx.edu/student-life/wellness-recreation/intramurals/.