NU Honored by Special Olympics VT

Norwich University has been named Organization of the Year for 2016 by Special Olympics Vermont (SOV).

“Norwich University has been an important partner of Special Olympics Vermont for many years, hosting two annual sports events and providing volunteer support at numerous other events including the well-known Penguin Plunge,” said Lisa DeNatale, president and CEO of Special Olympics Vermont at its annual awards banquet on December 11.

Norwich has partnered with SOV since the university began facilitating a soccer event at nearby U-32 Middle and High School in 1986, until the event moved to Norwich in 1989. They have hosted its Annual Basketball Tournament for 15 years, and the Young Athletes Program for the past 10.

This year, Norwich’s partnership with the athletes has grown to include hosting the Unified Schools Soccer Tournament and the inaugural Fall Games. Between those events and the annual Penguin Plunge, upwards of 200 Norwich students work with Special Olympics Vermont athletes and programs each year. Many are students planning to go on to careers in physical education or coaching.

In addition, Norwich’s Center for Civic Engagement oversees a student-run organization called Unify, dedicated to partnering with SOV. Unify meets with local athletes and allies to train and build skills around various sports and general physical fitness and wellness.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the administrators, volunteers, and athletes at the Vermont Special Olympics,” said Norwich professor of physical education Thomas Roberge. “Our partnership has been tremendous for our campus, students, and student-athletes, and has benefited each in many ways.”

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