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 bcspreadword@gmail.com to find out how to get involved.

 

Name: Jillian Timko
School, major and year: Arts and Sciences, International Studies, 2014
Hometown: Basking Ridge, NJ
What makes the Gavel so BANGin’? I love the Gavel because it’s so new. We are still figuring out who we are as an organization and how far we can go. While this presents us with a clear set of challenges, it’s really fun to try different things and build our own identity.
You have 24 hours to give prospective students a tour of BC and convince them to enroll. How do you spend the day?
First, I would take them on an actual tour of the campus—it’s beautiful and deserves to be shown off. Then I would take them to a football tailgate, a hockey game, and to Marathon Monday. And we would eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Hillside – after an egg sandwich, a Panini, and a cheeseburger, who wouldn’t want to go to BC?
If you could go back in time and give yourself a pep talk the night before you moved into BC as a freshman, what is the most important piece of advice that you would give to your former self?
I would tell myself to keep pushing to meet new people and try new things. It’s easy to get stuck in a groove you’re comfortable with, but you should never limit yourself like that—the people at BC and the school itself have so much to offer.
What is your favorite study spot on campus?
A classroom in Gasson, or the booths on the first floor of O’Neill.
What is your go-to meal at Late Night?
Usually mozzarella sticks, sometimes pizza…
What is the #1 most played song on your iTunes?
Love and Memories by OAR
What is the best Halloween costume that you have ever worn?
I was a gumball machine, along with our lovely editor-in-chief, and we rocked it.
If you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
There’s this Italian restaurant called Bolu in my hometown. It’s always absolutely delicious, and it has enough variety on its menu to get me through the rest of my life.
If you could befriend the main characters from any TV show or movie, who would you choose and why?
The characters on How I Met Your Mother. Mainly so I could experience the joy of high-fiving Barney Stinson all the time.

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