A climate for social change

By Jess Lynk

To say today was a busy day would be an understatement.

From meeting at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to attending a networking event with alum, it was a day full of connections.

One of those connections we made was with Bryan Klopack, Vice President of Corporate Alliances at Special Olympics.

Klopack talked about a variety of things from the mission of Special Olympics to how a shifting administration could affect the non-profit organization.

One of the statements Klopack made was, “We use sport as a climate for social change.”


Bryan Klopack graduated from Drake in 2006. He now serves as the Vice President of Corporate Alliances at Special Olympics. Photo Credit: Jill VanWyke

This statement stuck out to me because I have never really thought about Special Olympics in that way. I was a volunteer in high school with the organization, but never really thought about the social change aspect of it. I knew that they did amazing work, but I never grasped that they were creating a culture that bred change.

This got me thinking about other ways doors could open a climate for social change. So much of our discussion on this trip have involved the understanding that it is really hard to have tough conversations nowadays. People cannot sit down with the other side anymore, but I am now sure we never are provided with a vehicle to do so.

But sitting around the conference table in the Special Olympics office, I realized that they had a wonderful model. The company used a unifying factor (sports) to connect others on a level that would be hard to otherwise.

This is a great idea to takes notes from when we are discussing the increased polarized climate we are faced with in coming years. Finding that connection and that avenue makes it easier to foster change.

I don’t know what the vehicle is to allow positive discourse is, but I do know that sports bring people together.


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