The University of Iowa is one of 68 schools in the country that has been selected as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School® for the class of 2021, thanks to the collaboration of the Recreational Services intramural sports program, the UI Special Olympics student organization, and Special Olympics Iowa.
To receive the distinction as a Unified Champion School, the institution must meet 10 national standards of excellence which are reviewed both by state program staff and national certifying body members. The standards for colleges and universities include:
- Offering Unified Sports in at least two seasons throughout the school year.
- Regular participation in Unified Sports over the course of each season or school term.
- Participating students and coaches who have received training on Special Olympics Unified Sports.
- Unified Sports are officially recognized by the school in a similar style to other campus intramural and club sports.
- A Special Olympics College Club, which is led by students and engages Special Olympics athletes.
- The Special Olympics College Club meets at least once per month throughout the school year.
- The Special Olympics College Club has a faculty advisor and is officially recognized by the school in a similar style as other registered student organizations.
- At least two whole-school engagement activities are implemented per school year.
- Students and local Special Olympics athletes are involved with planning and leading the awareness activities.
- The school is currently self-sustainable or has a plan in place to sustain the three components (Special Olympics Unified Sports®, Inclusive Youth Leadership, and Whole-School Engagement) into the future and has ongoing communication with the local or state Special Olympics Program.
Each year Recreational Services hosts a variety of Unified Sports leagues, including Unified Flag Football, Unified Basketball, Unified Volleyball, and Unified Rowing. To learn more about how you can get involved in these leagues or other Special Olympics activities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.