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Special Olympics Hosts Unified Event

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Courtesy of @Villanovaspecialolympics Instagram
Students enjoyed last weekend’s Unified Event, hosted by Special Olympics.

On Sept. 17,  Villanova’s Special Olympics team organized its fall Unified event on the West Campus basketball courts. Every semester, the Special Olympics committee hosts an occasion to bring students and athletes who will participate in the annual Fall Fest together. Students from across campus joined Sunday’s festivities. 

 

“The goal of the event is to become friends with the athletes and have a day where everyone comes together, and exclusivity is non-existent,” senior Jenna Cicalo said. 

 

“The event provides an outlet for students and athletes to build relationships with each other in a very casual but still competitive environment,” senior Santi Colón said. 

 

This past weekend’s competition was focused on basketball. The courts bustled with intense basketball play and fantastic sportsmanship. Throughout the day, athletes and volunteers had a blast competing against each other and meeting new people. 

 

“The event was really fun,” Colón said. “There was a strong turn-out and tons of athletes competing.”

 

Sophomore Earl Kelly recounts his highlights from the weekend. 

 

“I was on Team Yellow, and we went 3-0 on the weekend,” Kelly said. “It was a lot of fun to see the students and athletes getting involved in the competition and see how we supported each other throughout our three games. Specifically, before our games and halftime, we would huddle and do a team chant. We had a really fun half-time break, where we did Zumba, which had no competitive standing, but we wanted to let our energy lose and there is no better way to do that than Zumba. Whether playing on the court, cheering, enjoying Zumba, or grabbing a piece of pizza, there are so many ways to meet new people and build relationships.” 

 

The Unified event is one of many ways to bring exposure to Villanova’s Fall Fest weekend, which takes place Nov. 3-5. Most importantly, Unified events highlight the organization’s core values, hoping to spread Special Olympics’ message about the power of inclusivity and the sheer joy sports, relationships and healthy competition bring to the broader community. Whether an athlete or a volunteer, the experience of connecting with participants through sports is unmatched and rewarding. The environment Special Olympics cultivates is extremely special to all its members and embraces human connection. 

 

“Special Olympics is an organization where you can bring joy to not only yourself but also the community around you,” Kelly said. 

 

Sunday’s Unified event was a hit and a day packed with positivity, competition and laughter. Next semester, the committee will host another Unified event, which is most certainly worth the experience.



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