Student Program Board’s Wheelchair Basketball raises awareness for accessibility

Student+Program+Board%27s+Wheelchair+Basketball+raises+awareness+for+accessibility

Amy Swanson, Staff Reporter

Looking for a spin on the traditional basketball game?

On Oct. 17, a Wheelchair Basketball tournament will take place from 4-9 p.m. in the University Recreation and Wellness Center’s three-court gym.

Hosted by the Student Program Board (SPB), the event will include free food and drinks and music provided by WXOU. All athletes will get a water bottle for participating, and the first 200 to show up will score a pair of boom sticks.

Students can sign up as individuals or in teams of five.

There will be a $500 cash prize for the winning team, and $250 will go to second place.

The event will be a great opportunity for groups on campus. If an organization’s team dominates, SPB can put the money right into the organization’s flex account.

Doors open at 3:30 p.m. for athletes to sign waivers and learn how to play the game.

After the last round, an awards ceremony is planned, during which the Oakland University Student Congress will discuss some of its accessibility initiatives.

There will also be a representative from the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan Foundation (RIM Foundation), a non-profit that works with the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan hospital to raise money for research and healthcare programs and initiatives, according to its website. RIM Foundation also works with other organizations, all to develop programs and initiatives that will better the health and lives of those with disabilities.

Sean Foe, diversity director for the SPB, got the chance to talk to a different member of the RIM Foundation.

“A representative from the RIM Foundation says that in order to get her counseling certification, she has to spend a day in a wheelchair, and that when most people do this event, they don’t understand how much athletic ability is required to do this,” Foe said. “She said that many people do this and develop a lot of respect for people in wheelchairs.”

There was a rumor that only able-bodied people could participate in the event. However, this was dispelled by Foe.

“A big reason why we are doing this program is to offer an event that everyone can participate in regardless of ability,” he said. “The Student Program Board will not refuse anyone who wants to participate based on ability.”

Foe was responsible for the idea of this tournament.

“I was brainstorming different events that I could possibly do with this position,” Foe said. “I really wanted to try and do an event that SPB hasn’t done before, and it was right around the time of the Olympics this year.”

Foe believes events like this are incredibly valuable to the Oakland University community, as they spread awareness about the diversity of its campus.

“OU has so many different diverse communities ranging from race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, religion and many more,” he said. “These events are aimed to educate, spread awareness, and sometimes to end stigmas and stereotypes.”

And even if not on a team, people are encouraged to come out and watch the fun unfold.