Student Club Profile: 'Spread the Word to End the Word'

Anyone who has ever attended the Student Activities Fair knows how overwhelming it can be to find just the right mix of student organizations to join. In the Student Club Profile, we feature different student organizations to give you more insight into what each club is all about.

Spread the Word to End the Word is a disabilities awareness club with the primary mission to promote respect and inclusion on the Boston College campus. Its secondary mission is to put awareness into action by volunteering and working with people with special needs. BC’s Spread the Word to End the Word club has been on campus for three years as a chapter of a national movement started by the Special Olympics and Best Buddies International programs.

According to Regina Bellizzi ’14, this semester’s treasurer of Spread the Word to End the Word, “People need to be aware of what they’re saying and how their speech affects other people, positively or negatively. People are unaware that ‘retarded’ is no longer a medical term for people with disabilities. It used to be a clinical description, but now it’s become derogatory speech. Now mental retardation is referred to as [an] intellectual disability.”

The club hosts many different events each semester, including diversity awareness talks, panels of people who have disabilities or family members with disabilities, talks with professors about their professional experience working with people with disabilities, and an event where students can sign a pledge saying that they will stop using the word retarded. The group will also be participating in the Autism Speaks Walk on September 30.

Students can become as involved as they want in Spread the Word to End the Word, either by simply coming to events hosted by the club or becoming a member of the planning committee or executive board.  Bellizzi describes the club as a “really fun, inviting, close-knit group of people.”

When asked why Spread the Word to End the Word was so important to her, Bellizzi answered, “Personally, it’s important because I’ve always worked with a lot of people with disabilities – I volunteered at an organization called BuddyBall which provides sports for people with special needs. I saw the way that the word retarded affected them and made them feel like they were inferior to other people, which is not true.”

If Spread the Word to End the Word sounds like the right club for you, email [email protected] to find out how to get involved.