Penn State student-athletes set to volunteer at Special Olympics Summer Games

May 30, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Special Olympics Pennsylvania will hold the 49th annual Summer Games beginning Thursday, May 31, through Saturday, June 2, on Penn State’s University Park campus. 2018 marks the 31st straight year that Penn State has hosted the games. The organization’s largest statewide event brings together more than 2,000 athletes, 750 coaches and 1,000 volunteers from across the Commonwealth.

Sponsored by Special Olympics Pennsylvania's premier partner, Sheetz Inc., Penn State student-athletes will be among the volunteers at the Summer Games, which will include competition in aquatics, athletics, basketball, bowling, equestrian sports, golf, gymnastics, softball and tennis.

Penn State student-athletes will be represented in the volunteer corps at Friday night’s SportsFest at Bigler Field. In addition, student-athletes from men’s basketball, women’s basketball, football, women’s hockey and women’s volleyball are set to volunteer with some of the basketball and bowling events, respectively.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania is among the more than 40 organizations Penn State student-athletes have been involved with in 2017-18, including: Bellefonte Youth Service Bureau, United Way Day of Caring, PA Pink Zone, Uplifting Athletes, State College Food Bank, Friends of Jaclyn, Team Impact, YMCA and Four Diamonds/THON.

Summer Games begin Thursday; Opening Ceremonies to be held in Pegula Ice Arena

Preliminary competition begins on Thursday, May 31, with the Opening Ceremonies following at 7:30 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena. The Parade of Athletes is set for 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. Kellie Goodman Shaffer, president and CEO of the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce, and former WTAJ-TV Sports Director and Lebanon County athlete Bobbi Jo Rhen will emcee the ceremony.

Thursday’s ceremonies will end with the Lighting of the Olympic Torch carried by participants of the eighth annual “Be a Fan” Torch Run. The “Be a Fan” Torch Run is a three-day, 150-mile run from Pittsburgh to Penn State presented by UPMC. More than 400 runners representing 50-plus law enforcement officers/teams from across the state will participate by carrying the torch from home plate at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on May 29 to the Nittany Lion men’s and women’s hockey teams to celebrate and kick off the 49th Summer Games.

Competition continues on Friday, June 1, starting as early as 8 a.m. at nine venues in individual skills, individual events, relay and team events. Friday will conclude with a Family Ice Cream Social, Sports Fest and Victory Dance on Bigler Field from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Final competitions and awards are scheduled to take place at each venue between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 2. There is no admission fee for any of the events.

The Summer Games also will host Healthy Athletes programs in Pollock Commons where health promotion, fun fitness, eye, ear, dental, and podiatry health screenings will be offered. The Healthy Athletes program provides health services and education to Special Olympics athletes free of charge, and is changing the way health systems interact with people with intellectual disabilities. The program has now made Special Olympics the largest public health organization for people with intellectual disabilities in the world.

For more information on the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games or to volunteer, visit

Last Updated June 15, 2018