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Fall Festival is approaching. At most colleges, that means headline concerts and wild after-parties. West Virginia University had FallFest at the beginning of the semester and invited Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pretty Lights and Ciara to campus. Other colleges bring in similar performers. The University, however, dedicates its Fall Festival to a more special type of talent. For the 25th year, the University will be hosting Special Olympics of Pennsylvania’s Fall Festival.
For the students who have never witnessed SpO at the University, prepare for full Main and Pike parking lots, overcrowded Donahue and Dougherty dining halls and championship teams chasing first place trophies.
Volunteers are already preparing the campus for Fall Festival. As Homecoming tents, signs and posters come down, SpO decorations go up. And Fall Festival is definitely something worth decoration. It’s worth planning to attend the Opening Ceremony on Friday night and waking up early Saturday and Sunday morning. Even if waking up early is blasphemous, events will be going on all day. It’s worth tagging along with a friend’s assigned team and making new friends. Believe it or not, most of the participants are older than University students and could teach a few life lessons.
SpO is no joke. Athletes have their eyes on the prize. There are winners and losers. To the players, volleyballs are worth diving for and lost trophies are worth crying about. For hundreds of ladies and gentlemen, this weekend culminates hours of training over months of team building. They will bring the energy. The University’s only obligation is returning the powerful vibes.
It’s easy to treat these weekend’s events justlike any Parent’s, Candidate’s or Homecoming weekend—participate only if convenient for you, or if your sorority, fraternity, team or club mandates involvement. It’s easy to make a regular gym visit on Friday rather than attend the Opening Ceremony. It’s easy to line up in front of Stanford Hall or the West Campus gate on Friday and Saturday night to catch cabs to parties or bars. SpO athletes are sure to be absent from all those places. It’s easy to spend all Saturday and Sunday in the warmth of your dorm or apartment rather than at the breeze of Pavillion or Stadium. It’s easy to forget that just a regular day in your life is one of the most important days in somebody else’s life.
But as one person goes another follows. Waking up to go to an early morning contest might get your roommate out of bed, too. Telling a group of friends at lunch that you are going to check out SpO soccer might result in filling a small section of seats in stands. Buy into the program rather than selling it short. Enthusiasm is contagious.

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