During last week’s End the “R” Word Week, celebrated both on campus and nationwide, DuBuddies hosted many activities. There were decorations throughout the hallway of the ACC, including shoes, which were colored during the kickoff party Monday night. The shoes represented the overall theme of the week being, “Du Walk a Mile in My Shoes,” coined by Sammi Brown, a junior who’s part of DuBuddies.
Prior to the week-long extravaganza, co-presidents of the organization, juniors Shelby Carter and Alex Schiavoni and seniors Annie Kashmar and Jacob Oglesby, along with the rest of the executive board committee came together to plan what is a fan favorite event for the buddies.
Two events, the kickoff party to start the week and the talent show to wrap up everything, were kept the same days as previous years. The rest of the week was slightly changed to allow a focus on education and advocacy.
In order to make everything a success, the organization enlisted help from family members, professors, staff members of the buddies and other Loras clubs such as Black Student Union, the Alliance and representation from IPO. They cooperated to add depth to the message of eliminating the use of the “R” word while bringing to light other words which have the power to hurt an individual.
“The event exceeded all expectations,” said Carter about Wednesday’s “Watch Your Mouth” event, a first for the DuBuddies and one that expanded the group’s horizons. DuBuddies and other Loras-affiliated organizations came together, providing testimonies to bring awareness to a wide variety of hurtful terms that are used on a regular basis and can sometimes be misinterpreted as slang due to a lack of understanding.
A common theme when encountering a situation where this may occur was not to necessarily become defensive, but instead see it as an opportunity to educate an individual by pointing them in the right direction. This can even be done by asking why a person feels this is the term he or she wishes to use.
A Catholic Social Teaching approach was also implemented throughout the week, such as Thursday’s event where participants walked in solidarity with the buddies.
First-year Claire Brennan says that seeing the smiles the event brings to the buddies’ faces is one of the best ways to get the message out. Their smiles effect the Loras members of the organization who feel just as much love, if not more, during the events and in particular from the buddy they’re paired with. Seeing a best friend again as well as other friends, new and old, heightens the level of excitement.
In DuBuddies, participation is stressed due to the buddy’s reliance on the student to be there as a guaranteed person to spend time with. However, End the “R” Word Week is special for everyone involved in DuBuddies. In senior Annie Kashmar’s words, everyone does so by employing their “different abilities.”