The Oglethorpe University Women’s Basketball team had some special fans in the stands during their recent game against Birmingham-Southern. Residents of the Sunrise Senior Assisted Living community visited the campus to support the team as part of the new Silver Petrels program.
Initiated by Head Basketball Coach Aaron Nester and organized by OU’s Center for Civic Engagement, the Silver Petrels service program was formed inspire teamwork both on and off the court, and to make a positive impact in the community. The players focus on nurturing friendships with the residents at the Sunrise Assisted Living in Buckhead. The team has made a commitment to spend quality time with the residents. The groups’ first gathering in November was spent playing bingo during an afternoon spent at the assisted living center.
“This is a great partnership and hopefully one we keep for many years,” said Coach Nester. “It is neat to see our student-athletes be involved in something bigger than themselves and, ultimately, that is what it is all about.”
“The residents were so excited…to visit a college campus and to see a sporting event,” said Heather Staniszewski, assistant director at OU’s Center for Civic Engagement. “They loved seeing new people, clapping, and of course the food. [One resident] took notes and cried he was so touched to be cheering on the team.”
The residents were impressed to find out that OU students do not play for athletic scholarships but out of pure love for the game. They hope to return for another game and in the meantime they are preparing to host the team again at Sunrise for another Bingo Day.