Sean Williams, a sophomore in Applied Speech Communication with a concentration in Sports Communication is both a strong scholar and a civically engaged student leader. Sean uses his talents for athletics to engage his peers and community to support a cause that he feels passionately about. Sean has lead his peers in coordinating a three week tournament and in various fundraising efforts to support the Michigan Special Olympics. His efforts have engaged students directly with individuals with special needs and has created lasting friendships and greater understanding and awareness. In coordinating these events, Sean worked with various departments including athletics, the Student Rec Center, and University Advancement & Marketing as well as members of the community, coaches, and affiliates of Special Olympics across the state. Sean ensured that the relationship with Michigan Special Olympics would continue by creating an executive board position in the Sports Communication RSO and grooming a successor, as he was elected the RSO President for the coming year. Sean continues to support fundraising efforts through participation in events such as the Polar Plunge and coaches athletes from Area 5 to participate in the Michigan Summer Special Olympics held each year. Sean Williams exemplifies the characteristics of a strong leader and we are pleased to recognize him as our nomination for the Newman Civic Fellows distinction from Ferris State University.
I first became interested in getting involved with Special Olympics through my family. My aunt and uncle both work for Special Olympics around the country, I have a cousin that created a Special Olympics Unified Student Organization at Rutgers University, and I have a cousin that has Down's Syndrome and participates in Special Olympics. My passion has only grown throughout my time here at Ferris State University. Leading the efforts for the Special Olympics Basketball game gave me an unforgettable experience. It's hard to describe, but seeing the joy and happiness on the faces of the Special Olympians is something that will warm my heart forever. It makes me want to give back to them as much as possible and influence their lives because they deserve the same opportunities to be stars that the rest of us have. This led me to create a Unified Volleyball league this past fall with the help of the Rec Center and members at Special Olympics Michigan. Being involved with Special Olympics has opened my eyes to the importance of giving back to the community in ways that nothing else could, and I plan to be involved for as long as I can.