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WATCH: Fraternity’s Fundraiser Supports UC Students With Disabilities


Funds raised at UC’s Ability Olympics will help purchase a wheelchair or other mobility device for a UC student who’s pursuing a higher education. More student-organized fundraisers are in the works.

Date: 10/30/2012 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Alpha Chi Rho and Ashley Kempher

UC ingot  
A new University of Cincinnati fraternity, Alpha Chi Rho, is calling their first philanthropy event a success, after the Ability Olympics was organized in partnership with UC’s Office of Disability Services. Alpha Chi Rho member Tony Hinnenkamp says the Oct. 28 event raised more than $700 to support Sara Spins, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and the necessary funds for students with disabilities to provide the technology and tools to pursue their higher education.

Alpha Chi Rho organized the Ability Olympics in partnership with Disability Services, after learning about the non-profit organization named for UC freshman Sara Whitestone. The organization, Sara Spins, previously raised $12,000 for Sara’s motorized wheelchair to navigate UC’s campus, so that she could dedicate her education and career to finding a cure for her disease, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Sara Spins is now working to provide those opportunities to other college students with disabilities.

To support that organization, Alpha Chi Rho’s Ability Olympics organized six teams representing 10 students to participate in a mobility obstacle course, a sit volleyball competition and a wheelchair relay race at Gettler Stadium.

“The Ability Olympics really gave students a perspective about limited mobility,” says Hinnenkamp, 22, a fourth-year industrial management major from White Oak. “The Ability Olympics was an opportunity to get together and make a real difference. The money raised from the event will go directly toward a mobility device for a student to navigate UC’s hilly campus,” says Hinnenkamp.

Sara Whitestone
Sara Whitestone

A Sara Spins team, led by Sara Whitestone, was represented at the event. The team won the Most Spirited Award at the Ability Olympics.

“It was a chilly afternoon, but it was a fun day,” says Whitestone. “It was great to see all the people who participated in this step out of their comfort zone. I’m so appreciative of the support from the brothers of Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity and their efforts to support disability awareness.”

“Disability Services was honored to partner with Alpha Chi Rho and Sara Spins for this event. Our focus is always on serving students, and having the opportunity to partner with two students groups for the benefit of another UC student is definitely a win-win. Thanks to all the students, parents and participants who braved the cold Sunday morning to have some fun and raise some money for a great cause,” says Michael Southern, director of UC Disability Services.

Whitestone says Sara Spins has already selected a freshman in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) who will eventually get a motorized wheelchair from these campus fundraisers. Two more UC student-organized fundraisers are underway:

Noon-5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10

Alpha Sigma Phi “Rail Jam” at Vertical Drop Ski & Snowboard in Loveland, Ohio

6-9 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2

UC Student Government-sponsored “Ballin’ for Abilities” wheelchair basketball tournament in Fifth Third Arena

“Sara Spins, working with UC’s student body and the Office of Disabilities Services, has developed a new initiative for UC,” says Whitestone.”We seek not just accessibility and equality, but inclusion for every student, regardless of their abilities. UC will be a national trendsetter for innovative solutions to allow students with disabilities access to campus resources granted to all other students. UC will create the legacy of a true, Just Community.”

Donations are also accepted through the Sara Spins website.

UC Magazine Article: Sara Spins – Where There’s a Wheel There’s a Way

Sara Spins website

For more information on fundraising events, contact Whitestone at Sara.whitestone@gmail.com