Best Buddies and PRSSA teamed up this past Saturday to host ‘Ballin’ for Buddies.’ The buddies, made up of a variety of local individuals ranging in all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and students met BU basketball players, received autographs and shot hoops on the basketball court prior to the Saturday night men’s basketball game. PRSSA also provided attendees with a pizza party event courtesy of Tri Pi and OIPs, Original Italian Pizza. Members of the club were eager to host such an interactive event for the Best Buddies group.
“Having other organizations on campus support Best Buddies is an amazing feeling. Our BU chapter continues to grow and more friendships form. It’s exciting to know that other organizations acknowledge what Best Buddies is all about and are willing to take the time to help spread the word and aid in making our events successful,” said Briana Strickland, Membership Coordinator of Best Buddies at BU.
Best Buddies is a collection of volunteers that create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Students are assigned a buddy which whom they develop a friendship with through weekly phone calls and attending campus and community events together.
“It makes me feel lucky to be president of the BU chapter of PRSSA with members who work so hard to pull off the events that we do, especially when we work with an organization like Best Buddies,” said BU’s PRSSA President, Alexander Ruth. “They are such a great group of people and are always so appreciative whenever we work with them.”
At the event, buddies received a copy of the BU men’s basketball team picture for the players to sign. The buddies were eager to collect all the players’ signatures. One buddy even exclaimed, “I got the coach’s autograph too!”
“Watching the buddies reactions when meeting the basketball players was my favorite part. The buddies really look up to the athletes and love to show their husky pride,” said Strickland. “The buddies were absolutely ecstatic while getting autographs and taking pictures with all the BU basketball players.”
The Bloomsburg University athletic department also collaborated on this event to create a special VIP seating area for buddies during the game. The VIP section helped to personalize the event for the buddies. They lined the additional rows of seating for the game, many staying for the double overtime that occurred.
“It was heart warming to see the players show just as much excitement as the buddies. They were more than willing to sign everyone’s team pictures as well as make sure every buddy left with a picture with their favorite players. The basketball team even stayed for a group picture with all the buddies who attended,” said PRSSA member, Jenna Lemoncelli.
PRSSA plans to continue the tradition of working with Best Buddies. For the spring semester, PRSSA and Best Buddies will team up with the baseball team for a similar event.