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ABOUT US

Villanova University's Special Olympics Committee organizes the largest student-run Special Olympics event in the world! Comprised of 106 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" and strives to create a more inclusive campus and world.

 

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 and walking, power-lifting, flag football, 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, Moira Horan ('24), is no exception. Her expertise, passion, and focus will help to lead the 2023 Special Olympics Committee to organize the most extraordinary Fall Festival to date!

Moira can be contacted at festivaldirector@villanovaspo.com.

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ADVISORS & MANAGEMENT TEAM

About: Team
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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!

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BRUCE BACH

SOPA Liaison

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

MOIRA HORAN 

Festival Director

Studying: Communication and French

Favorite Fall Festival Memory: My favorite Fall Fest memory is reuniting with athletes I’ve met from athlete practices and getting to cheer them on during the weekend! Each year, I have so much fun getting to know athletes from all over PA during competition and O-Town celebrations. 

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TREVOR CIAMPOLI

MT Athlete Representative

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KATE DELANEY

Director of Competition

Studying: Marketing and French

Favorite Fall Festival Memory: Seeing athletes complete a lift that they struggled and hearing the crowd cheer loudly during powerlifting.

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CATHERINE BROWNE

Director of Administration

Studying: Communication and Business & Real Estate

Favorite Fall Festival Memory: My favorite Fall Festival memory occurred last year when I watched the young athletes participate in all of the activities at the Young Athletes Program with the brightest of Disney World-like smiles on their faces!

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ELIZABETH BALADEZ

Director of Human Resources 

Studying: Communication and Business

Favorite Fall Festival Memory: When the music cut during the flash mob and then we all started signing the songs and all the athletes joined in with us. 

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MARINA ROUSE

Director of Special Events

Studying: Nursing and Global Health

Favorite Special Olympics Memory: Though not during Fall Fest Weekend, at the Spring Unified Event this past year we had Will Martin give the first opening Athlete speech. Hearing his story and the positive impact Special Olympics has had on his life was one of the most defining moments for me. For Will and for everyone involved, Fall Fest has curated a loving atmosphere where we can be our true authentic selves<3. 

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ALLIE HAFNER

Director of Support Services 

Studying: Biology and Education 

Favorite Fall Festival Memory: My favorite fall fest memory is seeing athletes interact with each other, the volunteers, and everyone they came across through the pin trading activity!

If you have any questions regarding any positions feel free to reach out to anyone from the Management Team!

 

Festival Director - Moira Horan - festivaldirector@villanovaspo.com

Administration - Catherine Browne - administration@villanovaspo.com

Competition - Kate Delaney - competition@villanovaspo.com

Human Resources - Elizabeth Baladez - humanresources@villanovaspo.com

Special Events - Marina Rouse - specialevents@villanovaspo.com

Support Services - Allie Hafner - supportservices@villanovaspo.com

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