A team of 15 Owen students will head to Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business next month to compete in the MBA Games, an annual fundraiser benefiting Special Olympics of North Carolina. Started by Fuqua students in 1989, this event is in its 25th year and has raised over $2.2 million for this great cause.
Why MBA Games?
Participation in this event was a no-brainer for me. Having a brother with special needs, and a mother who owned and managed a network of group homes in St. Paul/Minneapolis for individuals with cognitive impairments, I have been around Special Olympics and similar organizations my whole life and it is a cause that is very dear to me.
I participated in this event last year as a 1st year Owen student along with my co-captain Holly Kalemeris, as well as other returnees Emma Gardner and Kaitlin Hespos. With the smiles on the Special Olympians’ faces deeply resonating, we came away from the weekend incredibly inspired. We immediately began planning for this year’s event with the hopes of making a splash in fundraising and establishing continuity in Owen’s participation for years to come. The enthusiasm from the four of us after returning from our trip last spring was contagious and we had no trouble assembling a team for this year’s event, including a couple spirited 1st years who we know will be as inspired as us to carry the torch next year.
What are the MBA Games?
The MBA Games are a weekend of fun and competition held at Duke University. Teams of MBA students (19 this year) from around the U.S. descend on Durham for a series of team events alongside local Special Olympians. The athletes eagerly anticipate teaming with their favorite schools and many have participated every year since the Games’ inception. Our Special Olympics athletes, Dave and Ben, picked Vanderbilt for its frequent presence in the NCAA basketball tournament and hope to team with us again this year.
Friday night starts off with opening ceremonies and a team dance competition – creativity, costumes, and choreography are highly encouraged. The Games themselves are held on Saturday and consist of tug-of-war, dizzy bat races, bean bag toss, soccer relays and similar games. Winning teams (determined by the dance competition, games, and fundraising) are celebrated at a banquet and closing ceremonies Saturday evening.
The highlight of the weekend comes at the end of the MBA Games when each Special Olympian is presented with a medal and given a chance to take the microphone to share their memories. It was incredibly moving to see the amount of gratitude, strength, self-awareness and consideration the athletes showed their new friends and fellow athletes. There is nary a dry eye in the crowd and it was the most resonating memory of the weekend. To get a feel for the MBA Games, you can see a highlight video from a past event by visiting this link here (approximately 6 minutes).
How Can You Help?
While the Owen team may not have the brawn to win the tug-of-war, with your help we can still win by outraising our competition. The team has all created donation pages at FirstGiving.com and in less than two weeks we have already raised over $4,500, putting us in first place (you can see the standings here).
When it comes down to it, fundraising and supporting the Special Olympics is the purpose of the weekend. We’d love to have a showing that reflects the generosity of Owen and Vanderbilt.
If you would like to make a donation, please click the button below. You can donate to any individual team member or to the general Owen Team Fund. Every donation makes a difference to a great cause! The top team last year brought in approximately $10,000, and we know we can beat that target with your help.
Other Ways to Help
If you are local to Nashville, we are having a special at Sweet Cece’s on Wednesday, April 3rd, from 7-9pm. Sweet Cece’s will donate 20% of all sales to our team fund. They are located at 1708 21st Ave S.
Looking for somewhere to watch the NCAA basketball championship? Join us on Monday, April 8th at McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon, located downtown at 134 2nd Ave N. McFadden’s will donate 10% of all money spent from 6-9pm to Team Owen.
Thank you so much for your consideration in supporting our team for this year’s MBA Games! We can’t wait to return to Durham on April 12-13, reconnect with our Special Olympics athletes, and compete in the MBA Games. It promises to be another memorable experience.