Disabilities are an important part of the "rich diversity of campus and society," according to EMU's Disability Resource Center. All students, staff and faculty should be provided with access and resources that help to "educate and create an equitable campus experience."
Best Buddies is a student organization at EMU that "enhances the lives of people with developmental disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships."
The buddies meet face-to-face twice a month and participate in social outings once a month with the whole chapter. Some of the organizations' favorite activities include bowling, pizza parties, service projects and arts and crafts.
Emily Lovell, EMU's Best Buddies Vice President and Activities Coordinator, believes it is important to have an organization like this on campus because it exposes students to people with disabilities and different life experiences.
"We are able to create an inclusive and understanding community that does not exist yet in much of the world," she said. "We hope that the experiences students have in Best Buddies will change the way they approach people with and without disabilities for the rest of their lives."
Best Buddies are always looking for interested students to get involved in the program. To join the group, contact Emily Lovell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Addie Peterson (email@example.com) to go through some training and club orientation.
Two positions are offered for college students: College buddies and Associate buddies.
"College buddies commit to being paired in a one-to-one friendship with a buddy and come to most chapter events," said Lovell. "Associate buddies are unpaired and commit to making as many events as possible."
The organization has some upcoming events scheduled that interested students are welcome to attend.
"We would be happy for anyone to join and get a glimpse into who we are and what we do," said Lovell.
On Nov. 1, Best Buddies will be visiting the EMU Planetarium and Observatory. On Nov. 16, the group will be visiting the Detroit Zoo for the Wild Lights event. Tickets cost $16. Please RSVP by Nov. 14th.
Students interested in attending these events must RSVP to Lovell's email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is Lovell's hope that both buddies and college buddies learn a lot from their time together.
"Our hope is that all of our members are able to build lasting friendships.” She continued, "We hope [buddies] recognize that they are welcome and capable members of society and that they are able to gain [important life] experiences.
“We hope that our college buddies recognize that we are all more similar than society suggests and that...communicating with people with disabilities is not rocket science."