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 SRU Students to Attend Harrisburg Conference, Meet with Lawmakers as Disability Advocates 



Nov. 8, 2005

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine 724-738-4854;


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Eight students in Slippery Rock University’s Adapted Physical Activity Program travel to Harrisburg Nov. 14-15 to attend an advocacy conference that includes a meeting with state lawmakers to discuss the importance of providing physical activity opportunities for those with disabilities.

SRU’s Adapted Physical Activity Program specializes in preparing graduates for work with special populations, and the Butler County university offers a number of adapted fitness programs open to community residents, including swimming and horseback riding. 

 SRU’s Dr. Robert Arnhold, professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, obtained an $8,337 grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council to pay the students’ expenses. They will participate in the Pennsylvania Student Leadership Conference on Advocacy on Nov. 14. The conference focuses on student training and will include an examination of how laws get made and how laws affect the lives of people with disabilities.

The next day, students will meet with state representatives from their home districts, including Pittsburgh, Erie and Grove City, to discuss the value of physical activity participation for those with disabilities.

 “Physical fitness is an important component of total wellness and a form of preventative medicine,” Arnhold said. “Students are going to Harrisburg to urge lawmakers to support university and community programs that include those with special needs. They are passionate about helping people to reach their full potential.”

 Adapted physical activity is a 27-credit minor with 120 students enrolled at SRU. Courses include “Equine Facilited Riding,” “Therapeutic Exercise,” “Sport and Disability” and the capstone course “Professional Affiliation in Adapted Physical Activity.”  It is the one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation.

Among the students going to Harrisburg are:

Diana Helt of Ross

Alicia Dixon of Cresson

Rose Schiavone of Mount Pleasant, Ill.

Ashley Goodwill of Corry

Steven Midlik of Lemont Furnace

Aaron Smith of Grove City


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