ABOUT US

Villanova University's Special Olympics Committee organizes the largest student-run Special Olympics event in the world! Comprised of 96 dedicated students, the "SpO" committee works year round to organize every aspect of the Festival, from staging ceremonies to managing the budget and coordinating thousands of volunteers. Members are chosen from a pool of hundreds of applicants who all share a dedication and love for Special Olympics and its athletes. The intercommittee collaboration, devotion, and work ethic embodies the Villanova tradition of "Veritas, Unitas, Caritas" perhaps better than any other student organization on campus.


About the Fall Festival

Villanova University is the official host of the Special Olympics Pennsylvania fall state games, one of four statewide Special Olympic events. During the first weekend in November, the campus will host over 1,000 athletes, 400 coaches, 5,000 volunteers, and the many corporate sponsors and media outlets that will provide coverage for the event. The athletes who participate in the Fall Festival will compete in six Olympic-type sports: bocce, long distance running, power-lifting, roller skating, soccer, and volleyball. All housing and meals for the weekend are provided by Special Olympics Pennsylvania and Villanova University.

Special Olympics is a life-changing movement of people helping people. The athletes of Special Olympics -- more than 20,000 alone in Pennsylvania -- are constant reminders of all that is right with the human spirit.


About the Festival Director

The Festival Director for the games is chosen each year to be the student leader of the Committee. Villanova students who are interested in the position must endure a rigorous application process and have significant Committee experience along with a strong academic record. This year’s director, Nick Conti ('21), is no exception. His expertise, passion, and focus will help to lead the 2020 Special Olympics Committee to organize the most extraordinary Fall Festival to date!

Nick can be contacted at festivaldirector@villanovaspo.com.

 

ADVISORS & MANAGEMENT TEAM

 

STEVE KOCH

Faculty Advisor

Education: M.Ed., Drexel University
Hometown: Havertown, Pennsylvania
Position: Assistant Director of Student Involvement for Servant Leadership Programs
Previous Position: SOPA Eastern Competition Director
Favorite SpO Sport: All of course!

BRUCE BACH

SOPA Liaison

Position: SOPA Senior Competition Director 
Favorite SpO Sport: All of course!

NICHOLAS CONTI

Festival Director

Majors: Political Science and Criminology 
Hometown: Pasadena, California
Previous Position: 2017 Monroe County LPH, 2018 Volleyball Assistant, 2019 Director of Human Resources
Favorite SpO Sport: Volleyball

DAN KOLB

Athlete Representative

Hometown: Coatesville, Pennsylvania
Position: SOPA Global Messenger & Athlete Representative
Favorite SpO Sport: Tennis

MEGHAN MORRISSETTE

Director of Competition

Majors: Biology and Spanish
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Previous Position: 2017 Area M LPH, 2018 Development Assistant, 2019 Director of Special Events
Favorite SpO Sport: Soccer

competition@villanovaspo.com 

JARED BREWER

Director of Support Service

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
Previous Position: 2018 Lebanon County LPH, 2019 Facilities Assistant
Favorite SpO Sport: Volleyball

supportservices@villanovaspo.com 

NICK BROWNE

Director of Special Events

Majors: Economics and Communications
Hometown: North Caldwell, New Jersey
Previous Position: 2019 Awards Assistant 
Favorite SpO Sport: Soccer

specialevents@villanovaspo.com 

ELIZABETH HASSON

Director of Administration

Major: Marketing 
Hometown: North Wales, Pennsylvania
Previous Position: 2018 Crawford County LPH, 2019 Entertainment Assistant
Favorite SpO Sport: Long Distance Running/Walking

administration@villanovaspo.com 

LILY DUFOUR

Director of Human Resources

Major: Nursing 
Hometown: Washington, D.C. 
Previous Position: 2017 Allegany County LPH, 2018 Unified Assistant, 2019 Athlete Involvement Chair 
Favorite SpO Sport: Long Distance Running and Walking

humanresources@villanovaspo.com

POSITIONS AND DESCRIPTIONS

Administration | Competition | Human Resources | Special Events | Support Services

 

Administration

Athlete Involvement (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Responsible for all athlete interactions with Committee, including coordinating and planning weekly athlete practices. Responsible for coordinating the Young Athletes Program during Fall Festival.

Awareness (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Responsible for promoting causes related to the Special Olympics mission throughout the year, including Spread the Word to End the Word and the Disabilities Panel. Responsible for signage inventory, ordering and distributing signage during Fall Festival.

Computers & Registration (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Responsible for all aspects of computer operations, including Games Management System (GMS),  athlete registration, and printing credentials. Responsible for developing and maintaining the Fall Fest mobile app. 

Evaluations (Chairperson & Assistant)

  • Responsible for coordinating all logistics of ensuring a professional evaluation takes place before, during, and after Fall Festival, including creation of an Evaluations booklet and training of an evaluations team consisting of students, faculty and athletes.​

Unified Sports (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Responsible for establishing a platform for Unified Sports at Villanova, spreading awareness about Unified Sports, and promoting acceptance, respect, and inclusion for people of all abilities. Responsible for planning multiple Unified Sports events for Special Olympics athletes and the Villanova community

Media & Publicity (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Responsible for the on-campus distribution of information related to the event, as well as on-campus promotional and advertising efforts for the event. Also responsible for maintaining contact with the SOPA Communications liaison and assisting in SOPA's public relations efforts as needed.

 

Competition

Bocce (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Responsible for all venue operations including scheduling competition, referees, divisioning, etc. Responsible for developing working relationships with Special Olympics Pennsylvania representatives and Volunteer Coordinators.

Long Distance Running (Chairperson & Assistant)

  • Responsible for all venue operations including scheduling competition, referees, divisioning, etc. Responsible for developing working relationships with Special Olympics Pennsylvania representatives and Volunteer Coordinators.

Power Lifting (Chairperson & Assistant)

  • Responsible for all venue operations including scheduling competition, referees, divisioning, etc. Responsible for developing working relationships with Special Olympics Pennsylvania representatives and Volunteer Coordinators.

Roller Skating (Chairperson & Assistant)

  • Responsible for all venue operations including scheduling competition, referees, divisioning, etc. Responsible for developing working relationships with Special Olympics Pennsylvania representatives and Volunteer Coordinators.

Soccer (Chairperson & 4 Assistants)

  • Responsible for all venue operations including scheduling competition, referees, divisioning, etc. Responsible for developing working relationships with Special Olympics Pennsylvania representatives and Volunteer Coordinators.

Volleyball (Chairperson & 3 Assistants)

  • Responsible for all venue operations including scheduling competition, referees, divisioning, etc. Responsible for developing working relationships with Special Olympics Pennsylvania representatives and Volunteer Coordinators.

 

Human Resources

Local Program Hosts (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Responsible for selecting, overseeing, and training approximately 100 Villanova freshmen that will serve as a support system and as liaisons between the Special Olympics community and the Villanova community throughout the weekend.

On Campus Volunteers (Chairperson & 1 Assistants)

  • Responsible for the coordination, recruitment, training, and allotment of all on-campus volunteers from student groups, Greek life, and other organizations needed for the competition.

Off Campus Volunteers (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Responsible for the coordination, recruitment, training, and allotment of all off-campus volunteers from local high schools, colleges and community groups needed for the competition.

Development (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Maintains contact with VIPs and organizes reception. Responsible for keeping records of all revenues and expenses, as well as in-kind donations, sales of SOPA merchandise, and corporate sponsorships, and the end of year Committee Banquet.

Volunteer Coordinator (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Responsible for selecting and training a group of Villanova students that lead and oversee volunteers at all competition and awards venues. The Volunteer Coordinators work closely with members of Competition and Awards.

Diversity and Inclusion (Chairperson & Assistant) 

  • Responsible for diversity initiatives that are necessary to make the experiences of the athletes more welcoming throughout the year. 

Inclusion Crew (Chairperson & Assistant)

  • Responsible for leading Villanova students in the year-around opportunity to participate in Special Olympics and spread the mission Inclusion. Crew members participate in Athlete Practices, Unified Events, and are lead Volunteers during the weekend. 

Special Events

Awards (Chairperson & 3 Assistants)

  • Responsible for the planning and execution of all awards ceremonies throughout Fall Festival. Other responsibilities include allocating medals, securing presenters and emcees, and choosing decorations.

Ceremonies (Chairperson & 3 Assistants)

  • Responsible for coordinating Opening and Closing Ceremonies, securing keynote speaker and on/off-campus performers, communicating with Special Olympics staff, creating backdrops, and choosing decorations.

Entertainment (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Responsible for recruiting on-campus organizations for Olympics Town booths, securing entertainment groups to perform in Olympics Town, and planning the annual Victory Dance.

Fundraising (Chairperson & 3 Assistants)

  • Responsible for planning a series of on and off campus fundraisers leading up to Fall Festival including the Airport Shuttle Fundraiser, Strikes 5K, A Cappella SpOlooza, and Restaurant Week. Other responsibilities include coordinating and emceeing the annual Committee Banquet.

Healthy Athletes (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Responsible for coordinating numerous clinics to be held during Fall Festival that provide free health care screenings, and items to athletes. Healthy Athletes strives to improve athletes' ability to train and compete.

 

Support Services

Facilities (Chairperson & 3 Assistants)

  • Organize set up and break down of all tables, chairs, competition equipment and special props at each venue

Food (Chairperson & 3 Assistants)

  • Secure food donations, organize food for committee events, work with Dining Services to coordinate meals for athletes, coaches and volunteers, recruit volunteers for dining halls.

Medical and Security (Chairperson & 3 Assistants)

  • Recruit medical volunteers and organize EMS coverage of all venues. Recruit security volunteers, organize all security personnel and coordinate radio communication equipment used by committee. Organizes emergency response plans and runs the Operations Center.

Transportation (Chairperson & 2 Assistants)

  • Assure that all transportation needs to athletes, coaches, volunteers and committee are fulfilled by organizing vans, buses, golf carts and drivers for those vehicles.

Housing (Chairperson & Assistant)

  • Responsible for meeting the accommodation needs of delegations participating in Fall Festival, including hotel and travel accommodations to Villanova. Responsible for maintaining and forming working relationships with local hotel representatives and Special Olympics Pennsylvania.