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Unified Schools
Strong College Representation at NIRSA Nationals
Wade, Youth Leader
North America
Project Year
Wade is hoping to grow the impact and presence of Special Olympics on his college campus through intramural sports.

About the Project Leader

Wade is a 21-year-old student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has been a Unified partner since 2020 through his on campus Unified Sports club, UNL Unified. Wade serves as the Athlete Outreach Director on the club’s executive board. Throughout his time with Special Olympics, Wade has participated in Unified flag football, basketball, and soccer as both a partner and a coach. He became a leader in UNL Unified because of the meaningful relationships he built as a partner and the people that have helped to shape his college experience. Wade is passionate about helping spread the message of inclusion within his campus and larger community.

The Inspiration

Unified Intramurals has shaped a large piece of the college experience for Wade and many other students across his college’s campus. While Wade believes that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has done a great job spreading awareness of inclusive opportunities across campus, and created allies throughout campus, he feels that is not the case on many campuses across the US. Wade believes it is important that athletes have opportunities to be leaders and experiences to grow as young adults. Opportunities for athletes to be independent from their family or act as a leader of their peers are few and far between. He believes athletes should feel empowered to lead a team and speak up about their college program experiences. Traveling to nationals allows athletes and partners alike to create life-changing memories.

The Plan

Wade and UNL Unified is planning to incorporate Unified Sports at NIRSA (National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association) Nationals. They plan to form partnerships with other Unified programs participating in Nationals to share ideas and struggles to help grow both programs. At the tournament, they also plan to connect with traditional intramural teams to share what Unified is. Additionally, they plan to have a large social media takeover to blast their engagements across Instagram.

Project Goals

Through this 6-month project, Wade hopes to provide more leadership opportunities for athletes in the UNL Unified program. He additionally aims to inspire other teams at NIRSA Nationals to encourage athlete leadership within their own unified program.