Weekend offers multiple options

Thomas Celona

NovaFest, Relay for Life, Multicultural Students League Night and Sunshine Day are all scheduled for this weekend, providing Villanova students with a variety of events to choose from.

“There is truly something going on for everyone,” said Abbey Carr, NovaFest 2007 director.

NovaFest kicks off Friday at the Oreo with live music from WXVU at 1:30 p.m. and performances from student bands beginning at 2 p.m.

Taste of Philly, a new addition to the annual NovaFest festivities, will also take place at the Oreo from 1 to 3 p.m.

The event will feature food from the greater Philadelphia area, including Rita’s Water Ice, soft pretzels and cheesesteaks.

NovaFest will continue Saturday at 1 p.m. with the annual Sheehan Beach Field Festival.

Musical groups Malvern and CUZ are scheduled to perform beginning at 2 p.m., and Dining Services will provide food.

Accompanying this year’s theme of “A Weekend in Vegas,” there will be a casino tent and a wedding chapel.

MtvU will also make an appearance at the festival with various giveaways to promote its Campus Invasion Tour, which will stop at Penn’s Landing on April 29.

The Sheehan Beach Field Festival will conclude at 6 p.m., and in the case of poor weather, it will occur in the Jake Nevin Field House.

NovaFest will culminate Saturday night with the Goo Goo Dolls concert in the Pavilion. Doors open at 8 p.m., and Copeland, the opening act, will take the stage at 9 p.m. Tickets to the concert are $20 for Villanova students and $25 for everyone else.

Tickets can be purchased either at 108 Dougherty Hall or online at www.villanova.edu/novafest.

“NovaFest … builds community spirit at Villanova,” Carr said. “It’s a great way to celebrate with friends, say goodbye to the seniors and reunite with alumni.”

While NovaFest traditionally occurs during the last weekend before final exams, this year it will take place a week earlier.

“NovaFest was originally scheduled for April 28, but the Goo Goo Dolls were only available for the weekend of [April] 21,” Carr said.

Because of the switch, NovaFest will occur on the same weekend as several other annual events.

The first of these is Relay for Life, an overnight fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Participants will walk around the track in the Pavilion from 5 p.m. on Friday until 10 a.m. on Saturday. Villanova students have already raised over $20,000 in online donations for this year’s event.

The 13th annual Multicultural Students League Night will also occur on Friday night, giving students an opportunity to see aspects of Villanova’s cultural groups.

“Part of MSL’s mission is to let every Villanovan know that everyone on campus has a culture to contribute,” said Joe Bob Gonzalez, co-chair of the MSL Executive Board.

Keshia Pershad, co-chair for MSL Night, echoed Gonzalez’s sentiments.

“It’s not just the minority groups that are considered cultural,” Pershad said, pointing to the event’s variety of acts.

The program will include dance by members of LASO, spoken word poetry by the Villanova Poets and a performance by Rampage.

Additionally, the Irish Dance Team, The Sirens and the NROTC drill team, Whiskey Company, have been added to the lineup for this year’s event as part of MSL’s goal to expand the definition of what the community views as cultural.

The event will take place in the Villanova Room in Connelly Center. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., and the program begins at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $5 in advance and $7 at the door, and all proceeds will benefit the Handicap Children Association in Oman.

Sunshine Day rounds out the events scheduled for this weekend and will welcome over 100 students to campus.

The students are all from area after-school programs and work with volunteers from Rays of Sunshine throughout the academic year.

The students will participate in a mini-carnival featuring games, art projects, face painting and more.

“Sunshine Day is a special event where we have a chance to have fun with the children we tutor throughout the year, and it’s a great way to end the year,” said Eric Melchoir, co-director of Sunshine Day.

Over 100 Villanova students are expected to volunteer at the event which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday in the St. Mary’s gym. Students interested in volunteering can sign up at 215 Dougherty.

As in years previous, NovaFest weekend will see an increase in on-campus security.

“We want events to be safe and fun for the students,” said Ann Diebold, the vice president for University communication. “The Department of Public Safety will be in full force throughout the weekend events.”

Public safety personnel will work 12-hour shifts to maximize staffing and will work with Residence Life to ensure a heightened presence in residence halls.

Additionally, Radnor Police will be present at events throughout the weekend, and Event One Securing Staffing will be on hand at Saturday’s concert.

Diebold also emphasized the need for students to take precautions to ensure their safety.

“The students should be aware that, with any event, their behavior will be reflective on the University,” Diebold said. “We want them to take responsibility for their own actions.”

Despite the jam-packed schedule of events and increased security presence on campus, Carr said she does not believe attendance at any event will be affected and is excited about the variety of activities.

“These events have made NovaFest 2007 more well-rounded,” she said.