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(Masks were worn by all participants during the filming of this video.)

To support the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, created a video to highlight four UT initiatives that make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

“We’re proud to celebrate this most important milestone,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “Although there is still work to be done, we are working diligently to foster an inclusive campus by making sure all of our students with disabilities have full access to UT’s resources and opportunities.”

In honor of the ADA’s anniversary, UT’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society (CSPS) recently launched a Global Disability Rights Advocacy project on its website. The project includes an interactive global map created by students Veronica Allen and Taylor Winkel showing laws that protect the rights of persons with disabilities worldwide; progress in the Paralympics, Deaflympics, and Special Olympics movements; and CSPS alumni working and advocating for progress around the world. The project also includes a series of blog posts highlighting stories of change as well as an advocacy tool kit showing citizens in Tennessee and across the world how to foster change in their own communities.

Other programs on campus are geared toward people with disabilities. The FUTURE Postsecondary Education program is a two- or three-year course of study in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences that helps young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities transition from high school to adult life. Students in the FUTURE program audit undergraduate courses and serve on campus as interns.

Through the Therapeutic Recreation program, each year since 1977 as many as 200 UT students have hosted Camp Koinonia (pronounced kwan-a-nee-yah), an outdoor education camp for children and adults with a wide range of disabilities, many of whom require one-on-one attention. In Greek, koinonia means “fellowship” and “caring community.” Camp Koinonia provides participants with an enriching and inclusive experience that fosters emotional, social, and physical benefits.

The Therapeutic Recreation program is also working with CSPS to launch the UT Adapted Athletics program, a combination of research, adaptive sports classes, and UT’s first-ever wheelchair basketball club team.

“There is much to celebrate at UT, and there is still work to be done,” said Sarah Hillyer, director of CSPS, which has worked in more than 80 countries to empower leaders through the power of sport, education, and social entrepreneurship to create more inclusive communities. “Taking this message worldwide, we hope these resources will help citizens gain a greater understanding of the intersection between sport and policy for persons with disabilities, develop a deeper appreciation for the importance of inclusion, and move them to action as even stronger advocates for the inclusion of persons with disabilities, especially within the sport sector.”


Julie Morris (865-719-7072,