Feb. 7, 2008
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Association names it 'Program of the Year'
SRU's adapted physical activity minor earns national honor
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's Adapted Physical Activity Program has been named the Adapted Physical Activity Outstanding Program of the Year for 2008. SRU's program teaches students how to organize and manage physical and recreational activities for children and adults with disabilities.
The award, from The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance's Adapted Physical Activity Council, will be presented April 10 at AAHPERD's national convention.
"The award is a real tribute to our faculty who spend so much time preparing future leaders how to provide opportunity for improving the health and wellness of people with disabilities," said Robert Arnhold, SRU professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences and program coordinator.
"I think we won because we are unique in that we focus on a lifelong approach to physical activity for all people with disabilities, not only for school-aged children," he said.
SRU's program, an academic minor, has 125 undergraduates enrolled and is the only one of its kind in the state. They serve more than 300 individuals with disabilities each week by providing lessons in swimming, horseback riding, rock climbing and fitness routines. The program is also involved with Special Olympics and operates an annual camp for children with visual impairment and a program for disabled veterans.
"I'm really proud to be a part of our program," said Alicia Dixon, a senior from Cresson. "To get this award is amazing. We're just an undergraduate minor when there are lots of master's and doctorate programs out there in this field."
Dixon, an exercise science major, said her experience with the adapted program at SRU enabled her to line up a scholarship and graduate assistantship at Oregon State University. She will start a master's program in the fall in movement studies with disabilities.
"We want to get adapted activity on the national radar," Arnhold said. "Look at the national political discussion in the presidential campaign - healthcare is a huge issue. Our program and others like it save money by emphasizing prevention and wellness. We need to get beyond the communities and school districts and make this a national priority."
AAHPERD is a non-profit organization that promotes and supports creative and healthy lifestyles through high-quality programs.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.