VILLANOVA, Pa. - A large contingent of Haverford College student-athletes volunteered at the 2013 Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival hosted by Villanova University earlier this month.
Villanova's festival, one of four statewide Special Olympics events, has evolved into the largest student-run Special Olympics event in the world and approximately 200 Haverford student-athletes from 13 different varsity teams (women's tennis, men's tennis, men's fencing, women's fencing, cricket, women's basketball, men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse, women's track & field, men's squash, volleyball, baseball and softball) helped make the 25th installment of the annual event another success. Over 1,000 athletes competed in bocce, long-distance running, power-lifting, roller skating, soccer, volleyball and other auxiliary activities as 4,000 volunteers provided encouragement over the weekend of Nov. 4-6.
The Haverford volunteer effort, organized by Eighth Dimension, Haverford's Office of Community Service, and promoted by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), is another example of the Haverford athletic department supporting the NCAA Division III Special Olympics initiative. The NCAA hopes the partnership will improve the lives of Special Olympic athletes through their involvement with Division III student-athletes while also fostering a mutual learning experience between Division III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes.
Junior Madison Fuelling, member of the SAAC executive committee, and co-captain of the Fords' volleyball team, found the volunteering experience to be moving. "Cheering on the teams playing volleyball made me cherish the sport even more," said Fuelling. "I understood how hard they were working because I was watching my own sport, and the effort I witnessed from the players of all ages brought tears to my eyes."