Fall Festival, the largest student-run Special Olympics event in the world, is fast-approaching on Nov. 5-7, 2021. Villanova’s Inclusion Crew designed “SpO Week,” a week-long series of events to bring awareness to Special Olympics and to get fellow students excited about the Fall Festival. This year’s SpO Week took place Sept. 20-24.
Each day, a table was set up at the Oreo for food, fun and SpO week information. Here, students learned about Special Olympics, bought raffle tickets for a MEGA raffle and registered for big events later in the week.
On Monday, SpO shirts were hidden around campus for a scavenger hunt, and the day finished with an Abilities Panel to learn more about individuals’ experience of living with a disability. The SpO table at the Oreo remained open on 1842 Day to further spread awareness about Fall Festival. On Wednesday, a “Blank Canvas” event was held at the Oreo. During this event, students brought this year’s theme to life, “Let Your Color Shine Through. Be Vibrantly You,” by leaving a colorful handprint on SpO’s Choose to Include poster.
On Thursday, the Annual Strides 5K walk/run was tentatively postponed to Sept. 30 due to weather conditions. This postponement gives students looking to participate an extra week to register for the 5K. Aligning with the theme for this year, the 5K will feature all things colorful, including glow sticks, neon, balloons, black lights, a DJ, food and Special Olympics merch.
Friday night, the Villanova Room hosted AcaSpOlooza, a concert presented by all of Villanova’s a cappella groups and a Unified song with Special Olympics Athletes. The MEGA raffle included up to a $1,500 Grand prize, as well as second and third place prizes.
Proceeds from SpO week go towards Villanova Special Olympics. This funding helps ensure that the athletes attending Fall Fest have the best experience possible.
Fall Festival is one of the most exciting weekends to be a Villanovan, and many athletes and students alike look forward to it year-round. Corrine Sullivan was a Local Program Host (LPH) her freshman year, and is now a Volunteer Coordinator for the event as a junior. Fall Fest has been her favorite weekend yet at Villanova.
“Never have I been encouraged to wear a purple tutu for three days in a row or be excited to wake up at 4 a.m.,” Sullivan said. “Every club, identity, group and status people claim are forgotten and a new feeling of connection emerges.”
Sullivan is most excited about the revamped Inclusion Crew program for this upcoming Fall Fest.
“Our goal is to get everyone on campus involved, no matter what title you have within the organization,” she said. “Learning from those who view the world in a different light will only help us all become United. I simply can’t wait to spend time with the athletes.”
Fall Fest always has a large impact on both Villanovans and athletes, and SpO Week started the buzz and anticipation for the weekend in November.