Special Olympics Meet & Greet Features Disney Trivia, Pizza


Special Olympic athletes and volunteers eat pizza outside of the Valders Lecture Hall during a meet and greet on November 15. Photo courtesy of Lydia Marti.

On November 15, Luther College Special Olympics hosted an event for local athletes. The event was held in Valders lecture hall, where the night began with pizza from Mabe’s. Dinner was followed with a few rounds of Disney trivia. To end the evening, the group enjoyed a casual viewing of “Toy Story”, along with some time for socializing. 

Special Olympics Volunteer Chair Jadyn Gasper (‘23) was a part of the planning committee. She acknowledged that hosting events requires students to do a lot of networking, community organizing, and planning — all important things to create an increased connection between Luther and the surrounding Decorah community.

“Events like this are important to Luther and the community because they establish a community that educates and includes individuals with disabilities,” Gasper said. “It is vital that we do that and that we are aware that individuals with disabilities are a huge part of the Luther community through Special Olympics and Luther Disability Alliance.”

Luther College Special Olympics was started as a student project in 2021. As a relatively new organization, the group has been working to make Luther and the greater Decorah area a more inclusive environment for individuals with disabilities. Hosting events like this one is just the beginning of what this organization has in store. 

Throughout the entire event, participants seemed to enjoy a greater sense of community. Disney trivia was the most popular of the night’s activities, as it had the most participants and the loudest engagement. Special Olympics athlete Liz Meirick expressed hope that events like this will continue in the future.

 “My favorite part of the event was trivia and of course pizza,” Meirick said. “I hope events like this continue, it was fun and I enjoyed it.”

According to the Special Olympics organization, the community benefits are endless and unparalleled for individuals with disabilities; including, improved physical health and motor skills, greater self-confidence, a more positive self-image, and lifelong friendships.

Special Olympics volunteer Jessi Lambo (‘24) emphasized that at the core of what Special Olympics does is the unifying factor of fun. Disney trivia, Toy Story, and pizza were all activities designed to bring everyone together on Tuesday night.

“I feel [these events] are important because they bring a lot of people together,” Lambo said. “They are very special for everyone.”

As Luther College Special Olympics continues to grow and becomes more involved in the community, more events will be found on and off campus. To stay up to date with all that is happening, the organization can be emailed directly at [email protected], and events will be included in the Bulletin. Information about the statewide organization, Special Olympics Iowa, can be found at soiowa.org.