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The Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival is hosted and organized by Villanova University students and is the largest annual student-run Special Olympics event in the world. To volunteer for SPO, scroll down to find more opportunities like Inclusion Crew, Local Program Hosts, and Volunteer Coordinators.

Get Involved!: Services
Volunteer for the Weekend of Fall Festival!


In joining the Inclusion Crew (IC) Villanova students have the opportunity to be a part of the largest Student-Run Special Olympics Program in the World! Students within this mission-based community volunteer for Fall Fest weekend, partake in Unified Sports® throughout the year, help Special Olympic athletes train at local practice facilities, and most importantly, act as campus ambassadors for the mission of inclusion!  There is no application required to join Inclusion Crew and ALL Villanova students are encouraged to join! Questions? Please contact!


To join the Inclusion Crew, sign up for a "cube" in Fall 2023!

Members of the Inclusion Crew take part in Unified Sports® and Athlete Practices! 

Unified Sports®: Two Unified Sports® events are offered each semester! Special Olympic athletes from across PA and IC members take to the field together to compete in tournament style play! Sports include volleyball, soccer, and basketball! Reach out to to find out more!


Athlete Practices: Members of the Inclusion Crew attend local Special Olympic program practices! At an athlete practice, students can choose to participate alongside athletes, or operate in more of a support capacity. Either way, it is an unbelievable experience to participate in a practice and make lifelong friends! Transportation is always provided! Reach out to to find out more!

Members of the Inclusion Crew volunteer during Fall Fest Weekend! Typical roles include:

Additional Leadership Roles:

Local Program Host (LPH): Since its inception in 2002, the Local Program Host (LPH) program has become a way for freshmen students to become involved in Special Olympics and have a profound impact throughout the entire weekend. The LPH program is open to all full-time freshmen students entering their first semester in the fall. Throughout the weekend LPH’s are responsible for being a liaison between the Special Olympics Committee and the county participants to which the LPH is assigned.  LPH’s get to know athletes throughout the weekend, cheering them on during competition, creating posters & cheers to support them, and setting an overall positive and exuberant tone for the weekend! LPHs attend weekly meetings on Tuesdays 7:30 PM -9:00 PM and serve from 6:00am-9:00pm from Friday- Sunday of Fall Fest.

The 2022 LPH submission process is closed for this Fall Fest.

Volunteer Coordinators (VC's)There is an application and interview for this role. A Volunteer Coordinator, commonly known as a VC, plays a vital role in the Special Olympics Fall Festival at Villanova University! The application and selection process takes place in late March. VC’s work with the student committee throughout the fall semester to prepare volunteers to assist with the weekend. Each VC is assigned to a specific venue and becomes a knowledgeable resource for volunteers in that area. 

Some of a VC's primary responsibilities include:

• Recruiting and training volunteers

• Delegating volunteers at a specific venue

• Collaborating with Villanova's student committee team

• Supporting and energizing athletes, coaches, and volunteers

The 2023 VC application process is closed for this Fall Fest.

Young Athletes Program: YAP focuses on children ages 2-7 (both with and without different abilities) to introduce basic sports skills while in a playful and inclusive environment! YAP IC members can expect to help by running different stations that practice a different skill (such as running, kicking, throwing, etc.) throughout the time allotted for the program. Volunteers will also help attending to an arts and crafts table/a face-painting station! Volunteers will have the opportunity to take the Young Athletes and their families through O-Town and to Healthy Athletes, allowing participants to really experience Fall Fest and welcome them to the world of Special Olympics. 


Awards: Volunteers will help celebrate the athletes’ accomplishments! Volunteers will help with checking in the Athletes and their coaches and help with ushering, staging, and organizing medals during the ceremony. It is a great way to be involved during the weekend and a great way to commend the athletes for all the amazing things they do.


Competition: Members will cheer on the athletes, keep score and time, act as flag/line judges, and fulfill any necessary sport-specific roles. The six competition sports include: Bocce, Long Distance Running/Walking (LDR/W), Powerlifting, Roller Skating, Soccer, Flag Football (New this year!!) and Volleyball.


Support Services:  Support Services are the backbone of Fall Festival! This team ensures that athletes have the facilities and resources to succeed. For example, Support Services includes Food and Transportation. Each year, we provide food to over 1,500 athletes and guests. Volunteers may serve food or check credentials at the entrance of the dining halls. This is a great opportunity to interact with athletes outside of competition. Transportation volunteers welcome athletes, their families, and all volunteers to Fall Festival! IC members will work as parking/hype crew wherein they will organize vehicles in various parking lots around campus and create spirit lines. 


DEI & Evaluations: This small group allows members to be part of DEI and Evaluations volunteering during the weekend. DEI stands for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Being a part of this cube would allow members to become an expert in disability rhetoric and support a DEI based activity for athletes and volunteers during the weekend (For example, last year DEI members helped lead a scavenger hunt for participants). Evaluations volunteers roam the venues and events of Fall Festival gathering feedback from athletes, volunteers, coaches, and spectators using a book of questions that we provide. This is a great way to see all different aspects of Fall Fest and interact with athletes!


Ceremonies: Volunteers will support planning/preparation for Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Planning/ Preparation may include directing fellow volunteers, creating decorations, recruiting on/off-campus performers, and more! This is a wonderful opportunity to kick off and conclude Fall Fest together. Opening Ceremonies takes place on Friday night, and Closing Ceremonies takes place on Sunday afternoon.


Entertainment: Volunteers will prepare and run all aspects of Olympics Town. Members may help to choose decorations and create a large banner for O-town. Also, members would help bring the energy at Saturday night’s Victory Dance!


Healthy Athletes: Healthy Athletes has grown to provide a multitude of health screenings for Special Olympics athletes. Healthy Athletes strives to improve athletes' ability to train and compete in Special Olympics competitions. Healthy Athletes volunteers help to run a health clinic on Saturday and Sunday of Fall Festival. In addition to the health examinations that will be conducted at Fall Fest at Villanova, Healthy Athletes sponsors a Healthy Habits fair which provides information on sun safety, hydration, nutrition, bone health, and physical activity. Lastly, we have an Active Athletes component which organizes group fitness classes.


Media & Publicity: Media & Publicity will take pictures of athletes at their competitions. Members will also act as sideline reporters at competition venues, feeding real-time updates and video highlights to post on social media platforms. This is a great opportunity to interact with the athletes and see some competition! 

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