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Students, faculty and staff walking by the ‘Spread the Word to End the Word’ campaign kickoff, held in the lobby of Reich College of Education on the Appalachian State University campus, had the chance to sign a pledge to stop using the ‘R-word.’

Photo by Allison Haver



Originally published: 2014-04-03 18:10:22
Last modified: 2014-04-03 18:11:08

Spread the Word to End The Word

by Allison Haver

For the second year in a row, the Appalachian State University chapter of Special Olympics kicked off a national campaign called "Spread the Word to End the Word" on Wednesday.

 The campaign is part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness that the word "retard" is unacceptable and hurtful.

While the campaign kickoff has been a part of ASU activities for three consecutive years, this year marked the second the campus Special Olympics club was involved.

The kickoff took place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and was held in the lobby of Reich College of Education on campus, where students, faculty and staff walking by had the chance to learn about the campaign and sign a pledge to stop using the "R-word."

Sara Schuler, a special education major at ASU, and one of three student organizers of the campus club, said the goal of the campaign is to try and stop the word "retard" or any derivative of it from being used.

"I got involved with Special Olympics back in high school," Schuler said. "This is very important to me."

Keron Poteat from Watauga County Special Olympics and other supporting organizations such as ASU Student Council for Exceptional Children were present.

Poteat, who is the coordinator of Special Olympics in Watauga County, said the event also meant a lot to her, both personally and professionally.

 "It's a great opportunity to get out here and raise the awareness about Special Olympics," she said.

Special Olympic athletes from Watauga County will have the chance to compete in bocce, aquatics, track and field and volley-ball during Special Olympics in Watauga County's Spring Games.

"We already have about 120 athletes signed up," Poteat said. "This affords them the opportunity to shine for a day."

The games will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 17 at Watauga High School.

For more information about the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign or to make a pledge, visit http://www.r-word.org.