Butler Center volunteers to organize annual FunDay

Since 1983, FunDay has paired up Miami residents with physical or intellectual disabilities and student volunteers who serve as their buddies for a day.

This year’s event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Rock, on the Green and other spots around campus.

FunDay is the longest standing day of service at UM, and the students who organize the annual spring semester event come under the Butler Center for Service and Leadership.

This year marks the event’s 31st anniversary, making FunDay older than the Butler Center itself, said Lisa Cameron, co-chair of FunDay. Last year, about 750 students registered, and more than 450 special citizens are expected to come to this year’s FunDay.

“We’re hoping to have even more students come hang out with them for the day,” Cameron said.

Organizers are planning  a Western theme, with stations including FunFair, BBQ, student performers, karaoke, line dancing, arts and crafts and other activities.

All UM students are invited to participate. If engaging with people who have disabilities raises a concern, FunDay leaders will be giving out pamphlets to help students with their interactions.

In addition, more than 70 staff members will be receiving training before the event and will then be available for guidance on that day.

One of the student groups that will be helping out is called Best Buddies.

“Although many people view the buddies as people with disabilities, I have come to learn that they are not really disabled at all,” said senior Erika Jackson, membership coordinator for FunDay. “I have developed great friendships with many of the buddies.”

For Jackson, FunDay is a culmination of Best Buddies’ mission because students get to hang out for a day and participate with people who have disabilities.

Junior Natalie Falcon has participated in FunDay for the last two years.

“It was a great experience seeing the smiles on my buddies’ faces as they enjoyed their time singing karaoke, dancing around and making arts and crafts,” she said.

For more information:

What: FunDay

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 15

Where: The Rock, the Green and other spots on campus.

Students who want to volunteer can e-mail the organizers at fundayatum@gmail.com or go to the FunDay Facebook page.