Recently, the Tufts chapter of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) has been able to return to in-person events, after they were all moved online due to COVID-19. Pictured below are the members of the 2021 Executive Board at their first in-person meeting!
Read about SOTA’s recent service event from Community Service Chair, Julia Siegel:
While there is even more of a need to help our fellow community members, Covid has posed many limitations in terms of the type of service that can be provided. As community service chair, I have tried to find opportunities for our students that strike a balance between keeping our community safe and staying civically engaged as a department.
Despite being unable to organize large-group, hands on service events, I reached out to some local community partners throughout the semester to start brainstorming future partnerships. One of those organizations was Special Olympics Massachusetts, whose athlete participation has been critically impacted by the pandemic. I spoke extensively with the organization’s competition and fitness coordinator to learn about their needs and how we could best be of service. She was excited about the prospect of our partnership, and we got to brainstorming ways that our students could provide support for athletes at tournaments.
By the time the restrictions eased up in Massachusetts, we were ready to spring into action. Our students chose to participate in the Special Olympics Track & Field even on June 19th.
Some students were stationed at the starting line with the athletes waiting to compete. They played music, ran warm ups and stretching circuits, and facilitated some mental health check ins for athletes with pre-race jitters.
Other students were stationed at the awards table and greeted athletes after they competed their event(s). We created “goodie bags” containing water bottles and clementines, and we discussed the importance of recharging your body after physical exertion.
We so enjoyed our time with the athletes and felt so lucky to have been able to participate in hands-on service with such an incredible organization. It was very evident to us that our values as a department and profession acutely align with the mission of Special Olympics. We are looking forward to coordinating more events together in the near future!
In addition to service opportunities, last month, the SOTA Social Co-Chairs Anna Leffler and Mollie Keyser organized an Ice Cream Social for first- and second-year students to mingle while enjoying ice cream from J.P. Licks. Anna reflected:
We did an ice cream social at the end of June right after midterms and we had an amazing turn out! About 45 of the first and second year OTD students came out to our ice cream social event. It was our first in person social event and it was amazing to see so many smiling new faces.
Mollie agreed, adding that “it was lovely to finally bring the two cohorts together for the first time at a social event.” See below for pictures from the event! Our students have had a great time so far this summer getting to know each other and serve the community around them!