Non-Traditional Student Organization Reaches Out to Community
Group Recruiting Teams, Volunteers for Annual
Alma Special Olympics Basketball Tournament Jan. 20, 2007
The Non-traditional Student Organization at Alma College has formed tight friendships and support systems for students who are older than the traditional 18-to-22-years-old.
“We are breaking the mold and holding the door for others to come in and feel welcome and comfortable,” says Tracey Fuller, secretary of the organization.
Formed by a group of non-traditional Alma College students, NSO provides a sense of belonging to adult students, as well as students who are married and/or parents. It also helps them stay informed and involved with the College’s activities and opportunities both in and out of the classroom. Although NSO generally comprises and is geared toward non-traditional students, membership is open to all Alma College students, faculty and alumni.
“Non-traditional students want to have a sense of belonging,” says Kerry Price, NSO vice president. “Now commuters, transfer students, and others can have a community.”
In addition to supporting one another, NSO members reach out “to encourage community members to consider Alma College when looking to return to school,” says Fuller, rather than giving up on their education or thinking that a community college is their only option.
NSO also is involved with many community service projects, including volunteering for the St. John’s baby pantry and Special Olympics. Working with Red Cross, NSO memberes have helped the baby pantry by fund raising and collecting donations. Last Christmas, NSO teamed up with the founder of that pantry, as well as with other Alma College organizations, to buy presents for needy children.
Having worked with Special Olympics before, NSO will again be volunteering for the annual Alma Special Olympic basketball tournament on Jan. 20, 2007.
“Like the Special Olympics Athletes who are on the outskirts of the mainstream, we, non-traditional students, face some of the same, basic difficulties of being accepted and fitting in,” says Fuller. “It is really a perfect match.
“Special Olympics is a passion of my heart. I love the basketball, but even more, the athletes,” she says.
For the past seven years, Fuller has been the Area 7 Alma Tigers head basketball coach, which means that she coaches nearly all of the Special Olympics participants in Gratiot County. Her position within the Special Olympics program also enables NSO to have consistent communication with organizers of the upcoming basketball tournament.
In previous years, the basketball tournament was held at Alma High School, but, due to a lack of court space, teams were turned away. This year, NSO has reserved the Stone Recreation Center to host the event and has urged other campus organizations and students to get involved.
“We are hoping for 20 teams, more than 30 volunteers, and a whole lot of fun,” says Fuller.
“It’s another way to show the possible non-traditional person that Alma College is an open and accepting place to be,” she says.
For information about NSO or volunteering for the Special Olympics Basketball Tournament on Jan. 20, 2007, contact Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted: Wed, December 20th, 2006 at 8:35AM