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UMD Club Focused on Inclusivity
New student club aims to create opportunities for people with and without disabilities to have fun together.
A new club started at UMD this past year. UMD Unified is focused on inclusivity. It’s a place where those with and without disabilities can get together, get to know each other, and get active. The club has 12 members and is hoping to increase its membership next year.
Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) students lead this effort in partnership with the Special Olympics. Courtney Webster was one of the students leading the group this past year, with advising and mentoring from Lisa Paulson, instructor in the PETE program.
“The goal is to bring those with all kinds of disabilities from around the area and UMD students together to play sports or just hang out as one,” explains Courtney. In the short time this club has been around, they’ve been able to do just that.
UMD Unified participated in the Duluth annual polar plunge in February. Participants jumped in ice-cold Lake Superior and raised $648. They also held a tabling event at the beginning of spring semester. This event featured a sale of bright yellow t-shirts with the phrase “WORDS MATTER,” and asked people to sign a pledge not to use the “R-word.”
Courtney encourages students to get involved with UMD Unified “To make a difference in someone’s life and maybe even your own. And to get meet some new awesome people and build new lasting relationships.”
The club won't be active over the summer but you can follow it on Twitter at @UMDUnified.