Austin College Welcomes Over 400 Athletes for JanServe Special Olympics Basketball Tournament
Austin College students volunteer to manage the event and assist athletes as part of JanServe, a day of hands-on service during the three-week January Term. JanServe activities are organized by the Austin College Service Station, a student-led office that promotes the involvement of all Austin College students in volunteer and community service efforts. In addition to the basketball tournament, JanServe 2024 events included visits to SISD elementary schools where students had the opportunity to assist in various classrooms.
Katy Williams ’10, Austin College alumna and key person in implementing the first JanServe Special Olympics tournament, attended as a special guest speaker for the event and as part of Austin College’s 175th year celebration. “It’s an opportunity for Special Olympics athletes to develop skills, interact with others, and be on a college campus,” Williams said. “As for Austin College students, it’s an opportunity for them to interact with an often-hidden population of our society, develop empathy, and begin to understand how things like modifications help build a culture of inclusion, not just for Special Olympics athletes but for everyone.”
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, pre-professional foundations, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 44 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and an expert faculty of more than 100 educators allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.