University of Richmond will host the fourth annual Greek Games, an athletic competition among Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University students that benefits Special Olympics Virginia, at noon this Saturday.
This is the first time the games have been held on Richmond's campus, said Jen Darsie, Special Olympics intern and junior at Richmond. Special Olympics Virginia staff wanted to hold the games on campus this year to get even more participation from Richmond students than in the past, said Floyd Miller, director of Urban Programs.
Two years ago, there was substantial representation from Richmond Greek life with two fraternities and three sororities competing, he said. Last year, 13 teams consisting of alumni and undergraduate chapters competed, Miller said, but he hoped to have a total of 20 teams this year.
Although the competition is aimed at getting Greek organizations involved, all students are allowed to participate, Darsie said. Teams of six to 10 people can register for the contest, which includes a jump rope competition, a 500-meter dash, tug-of-war, an obstacle course and a relay race, said Darsie, whose main project as a Special Olympics intern has been to help organize the Greek Games.
Two Special Olympics interns who attend VCU are working to generate interest for the games among students there, she said.
The fundraising goal is $5,000, with a team entry fee of $150, Miller said. The funds will go toward sending Special Olympics athletes to the Summer Games, which will also be held at University of Richmond, he said. If the goal amount is raised, 50 athletes will be funded to participate.
Although Miller said there were ample opportunities available for students to volunteer through Special Olympics and work directly with athletes, he thought the Greek Games were a way to inform students about the mission of the organization.
"We use sports to show folks that people with intellectual disabilities can accomplish as many things as they want to accomplish," he said. "Sports are really just the hook to get people involved and to bridge the gap between two populations."
The Greek Games will be held at the lower practice fields adjacent to River Road. Participants can find the link to register online on the fundraiser's Facebook page, "Greek Games 2013."
Contact reporter Avery Shackelford at firstname.lastname@example.org