BASO’s annual Spring Sports raises awareness for Special Olympics

Butler’s BASO hosted 96 different events including Battleship in the Health and Recreation Center pool. Photo by Reece Butler.


From April 14-15, Butler’s student-run organization BASO — Butler Ambassadors for Special Olympics —hosted Spring Sports on campus. The event ran from 6 p.m. on Friday night and ended at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning. 

BASO raises money and awareness for Special Olympics through the two main events they host on campus during the school year. One event is the annual Polar Plunge and the other is Spring Sports. 

The Polar Plunge, their main fundraising event, raised $55,132 in February when participants jumped into a pool of cold water. 

Junior biology major and BASO co-president Lily Crandell discussed the importance of letting people know about the work Special Olympics does. 

“They have hundreds of events for all different sports so without our fundraising and other schools’ fundraising at Polar Plunge, they would not have access to the equipment for the games, uniforms for the games [or] just renting out the facilities for the games,” Crandell said. 

Spring Sports is not used as a fundraising opportunity, and instead focuses on raising awareness for the organization. With only its second appearance since the COVID-19 pandemic, Crandell said the organization has been trying to bring the event back to its peak. 

“This year our numbers were up maybe 20 or 30 percent of people who were signed up compared to last year, so we are doing much better,” Crandell said. 

Spring Sports this year consisted of 96 women’s, men’s and co-rec events ranging from card games and Bop-It to basketball and volleyball tournaments. Students moved between the Health and Recreation Center, the Sellick Bowl, the Tennis Bubble and Hinkle Fieldhouse to watch and participate in the variety of events. 

Participants included members of Greek houses, sports teams, on-campus organizations and independent competitors. 

BASO recently decided to add the co-rec option to give students who are not members of gendered organizations a chance to participate. 

Senior health sciences major Andrew DeMinico is one of the event leaders for BASO. He said the BASO executive members worked hard to set up the brackets, events and new co-rec rules. 

“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to help run the events,” DeMinico said. “So, just giving credit to them to be able to work as hard as they did during the week of, to be able to make those rule changes and write new rules for events we added, was very helpful and beneficial to us.” 

On a local level, BASO interacts with Washington Township Athletes multiple times throughout the school year. The athletes came to Butler’s campus during the week of Spring Sports to play lawn games on the mall. 

Meghan Haggerty, the director of new student and family programs and BASO staff advisor, has been involved with BASO since she was a Butler student herself. She talked about what it means to see the impact on Special Olympians firsthand. 

“Just seeing how they’ve grown and developed and how they interact with Butler students and they come really excited, they are wearing Butler gear when they come,” Haggerty said. “I think they feel like they are a part of campus which is the whole goal. We want them to feel like Butler’s home and that Butler students are supporting them as they are going off and taking the funding that we are creating and fundraising to go and do their Olympic events.” 

DeMinico said he appreciates any opportunity he has to work with BASO and those associated with Special Olympics. 

“The more we can educate people and get people to care about [Special Olympics] is really good to see because it promotes that, especially the event we had the Monday before, seeing other people around campus, other than BASO exec members go play lawn games with Special Olympics athletes was really good to see,” DeMinico said. 

Several of BASO’s members have a personal connection and a history with Special Olympics. Haggerty revealed why she gives back to the organization. 

“I have an uncle who was a Special Olympian, and he lives with my parents currently,” Haggerty said. “So to be able to tell him I’m giving back to the Special Olympics, he gets really excited.” 

While BASO focuses on helping Special Olympics continue to support its athletes, through its events and fundraising, the organization hopes the event also provides Butler students the opportunity to play games and compete with their friends. 

“[Spring Sports] just really unifies campus and creates opportunities to get out and have fun, take a break from studying and for everyone to gather together for a common goal,” Haggerty said. 


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