By: Leah Alsept
On Thursday, Feb. 28, the University of Findlay’s STRIDE (Students Teaching Respect for Individuals with Disabilities Everyday) club held its annual event, Spread the Word to End the Word.
The event went from 8 am to 8 pm in the Center for Student Life and College of Business, according to STRIDE’s Facebook page. The event was held to explain to students why the “r-word” needs to be a thing of the past. At the desk, students were able to pledge themselves to the movement and sign a banner that confirmed their support.
Spread the Word is an organization partnered with the Special Olympics and Best Buddies based on ending the use of the “r-word”. According to the Spread the Word website, the initiative to “end the word” was started by two youth leaders in 2009. The “about us” page says that in 2019 they have changed their name to just “Spread the Word” to include “all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
Brianna Essien, a junior pre-vet major at the University of Findlay, says she has been involved in STRIDE since her sophomore year.
“It’s an organization where students who work with students, what we say are “special abilities,” in the Hancock County area.” Essien said, “We do stuff like Spread the Word to End the Word to raise awareness that there are people with special abilities who are not well represented.”
Ashley Long, a junior Animal Science/Pre-Vet major at the University of Findlay, is also the Public Relations Officer for STRIDE. She has been involved in STRIDE since her freshman year and was at Spread the Word to End the Word from 7 pm to 8 pm.
“A lot of people don’t really understand how to talk to a person with a disability and educating them is what we do as a club,” she said, “I hope they [students] get a better sense of a disabled person means, how it’s not a disability, but a special ability.”
STRIDE is not the only place students can go to learn about special abilities. The University of Findlay’s Office of Accommodation and Inclusion has multiple resources students and faculty can use to learn more about physical and learning disabilities. On the website, it lists Services Available including accommodations for a student, a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page for new students, and support for faculty and staff working with disabled students.
To learn more information about STRIDE, you can visit their Facebook page at UF S.T.R.I.D.E or visit their Twitter page @ufstride. To contact the Office of Accommodation and Inclusion, you can call their office at (419) 434-5532 or email them at ods.findlay.edu.