Learn more about Villanov'a speacial olympics (SpO) with sophomore SpO committee member, Steph Krakower!
HC: How would you describe SpO to someone who has never heard of it before?
SK: "If I were describing SpO at Nova to someone who had never heard of it before, I would tell them to imagine the magical feeling you get when you walk into Disney World. During Fall Festival Weekend the entire campus transforms, and there is just this magic in the air brought by the athletes, the volunteers, and everyone who participates. The excitement spreads instantly, and it's hard not to walk around smiling all weekend. Everyone is so glad to be there and to be a part of the largest student run Special Olympics Festival in the world - it is a truly unique and unforgettable experience."
HC: How and why did you decide to become involved with SPO?
SK: "I had done some volunteering with Special Olympics of New Jersey when I was in high school, at a camp called Camp Shriver, and I absolutely loved it! So when I got to Villanova and heard all about their amazing Special Olympics program, I immediately wanted to get involved. I was lucky enough to be selected to be an LPH last year which made my love for SpO grow even more. I decided to become involved with SpO because I wanted to join things on campus, and I already knew Special Olympics was an amazing organization, but I stay involved with it because of all of the amazing athletes that I have met. It might sound cheesy, but as much as we try to do for the athletes, they give back so much more to us through their constant positivity."
HC: What role does your team play in the SPO weekend?
SK: "So I am one of the Entertainment Assistants for SpO this year. The Entertainment team runs O-town, which is basically a big carnival type thing in the middle of the quad, where all of the student organizations have booths, and there is a DJ and a lot of games and activities. It is a lot of fun and a great placee to hangout with athletes during the weekend. We also run the Victory Dance, which takes place Saturday night and is a time for the athletes to come and celebrate the weekend and have fun with their friends and teammates. It is great to see the athletes from all different counties hanging out and dancing together, and it's a ton of fun too!"
HC:What is your favorite part about SPO?
SK: "My favorite part about SpO is talking to the athletes throughout the weekend. I feel like I am constantly walking around with a smile on my face when I am at Special Olympics events because these athletes have such a positive impact on my life. They love Fall Festival so much, and they are so appreciative of the opportunity to be able to come out here to Villanova and play the sports that they love. It really puts everything in perspective to see a bunch of athletes jumping up and down out of excitement after getting a 4th place medal. To them, it isn't about winning, it's about getting out there and just enjoying themsleves, playing the sports they love. Also, this year the athletes from the county I was an LPH for last year will be coming back to Fall Festival so I cannot wait to see them all and cheer them on!"
HC: Are you involved in any other Campus organizations or activities?
SK: "In addition to being on SpO Committee, I am also in Blue Key, Ambassadors, Kappa Delta Sorority, and a few engineering clubs!"
HC: How can students get involved for the following year?
SK: "If you are interested in getting involved in SpO, you definitely should! Everyone is welcome to come out and volunteer for the weekend, doing everything from cheering at events to staying overnight in a hotel with the atheletes as a housing volunteer! But if you are looking for a way to get more involved, then I highly suggest you apply to be on Committee or to be a Volunteer Coordinator for next year's Fall Fest! We are always looking for more students to get involved with the weekend!"