Internships with purpose at Special Olympics Michigan
CMU students gain valuable career experience while promoting social inclusion
The Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games is one of the largest events on Central Michigan University's campus each year, and CMU students play a key role in making it happen.
Kellie Murphy, manager of sports and wellness at Special Olympics Michigan, said event organizers managed more than 3,000 athletes and coaches, more than 600 volunteers, thousands of spectators and supporters, multiple event sites, and what felt like millions of little logistical details.
Scenes from the games
- Thousands of athletes, spectators, coaches and volunteers filled campus May 30-June 1 for the Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games.
- CMU leadership training helps Michigan high schoolers present Unified Sports Day.
To keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes, Murphy relied heavily on CMU student interns and volunteers. They had a wide range of tasks including researching, recruiting, training and communicating with volunteers; planning and running 12-week fitness programs; setup and teardown during events; and much more.
"My interns are given projects that they are 100% responsible for, and they are learning things they need to know for their future careers, such as how to plan an event from start to finish, how to prioritize tasks, and how to work in a fast-paced and stressful environment," she said.
For students who are passionate about diversity and inclusion, working with Special Olympics Michigan was the perfect opportunity to build professional skills while making a difference for others. Here's a look at just a few of the CMU students who worked hard to create a great experience for athletes, coaches and families this year.
Fit, healthy and happy
Who Quinn Keilen, senior majoring in clinical exercise science.
What Keilen assisted with planning and leading the Healthy Athletes program, meeting one-on-one with athletes to talk about wellness and providing free health screenings to Special Olympics Michigan athletes during the games.
Empowering younger leaders
What Hollister encouraged high school students to realize their inner leader and positively impact their communities through the Unified Sports Leadership Launch program.
Small tasks make big events possible
Who Carlee Harrington, senior majoring in sport management.
What Harrington helped with behind-the-scenes operations such as assembling mailings; communicating with coaches, athletes and participants; and day-of-event logistics.
Getting along swimmingly
Who Savannah Drain, senior majoring in special education.
What Drain is a 16-year veteran volunteer who worked with swimmers to ensure aquatic events ran smoothly and on time.
CMU University Communications interns Sophie Bates, Annika Clemens, Shiyao Liu and Rachael Thomas assisted with this story.