By Elizabeth Van-Pilsum, Staff Writer
Community and hospitality are two of the Benedictine hallmarks, and Saint Vincent College prides itself on living out those hallmarks in many ways. One way the school engages in its community and practices hospitality is through Sports Friendship Day.
Held for 36 years at Saint Vincent College, Sports Friendship Day is an annual event where over 120 guests with special needs, intellectual disabilities, or physical limitations engage in various activities on campus with current students. The guests are paired with a student buddy to allow the guests to feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. This event has been a great success in past years, and the college is thrilled to be hosting it again.
In 2020, Saint Vincent canceled Sports Friendship Day due to COVID-19 limitations. The next year, the school decided not to plan the event at all due to the uncertainty that still surrounded the pandemic; however, this year, Sports Friendship Day is making its long-awaited return.
It is slated to be held from 1:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. on Mar. 27. The event will begin with an opening ceremony, followed by sports activities, crafts, a sing-along, Mass and a dinner held in the Carey Center gym. Parents and guardians of the guests are invited to come, free of charge.
The biggest difference between this year’s event and the events in the years before—aside from following the COVID-19 procedures the college has put into place—is the change in management. Jessica Parsons, Office and Service Coordinator with Campus Ministry, is organizing this event for the first time, and she is excited to be stepping into the shoes of the planners who came before her.
Parsons has assembled a team of students, many of whom are freshmen and sophomores who have never attended the event, to be in charge of karaoke, registration, logistics, activities, emceeing and more. The schedule will remain the same as in previous years, but the team organizing the event is brand new.
Historically, students from all over campus have volunteered in this event, and this year is no different. All students are welcome to volunteer; Parsons is looking for students willing to be paired with the guests as Buddies or to run events. In order for Sports Friendship Day to be successful, the donation of meals by students is also critical. Over 500 Saint Vincent students are needed to donate at least one meal swipe for that week so that our guests can have a meal with their families at the end of the day. The aid of the students is vital to the success of this event, and those interested in getting involved in Sports Friendship Day can email Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overall, Parsons hopes that those who have enjoyed themselves at Sports Friendship Day in past years are not deterred by the COVID-19 procedures and still have a wonderful time at Saint Vincent, celebrating community and hospitality. Ultimately, her goal is to make sure that Sports Friendship Day “is an experience that is memorable to all those involved, whether they are a guest or a student volunteer.”