Best Buddies’ inclusion week comes to NMU

Members+of+NMU%E2%80%99s+Best+Buddies+sit+around+a+table+in+Jamrich+Hall+playing+the+card+game+UNO+during+a+%0AValentine%E2%80%99s+Day+celebrataion.+Best+Buddies+is+an+active+student+organization+with+goals+of+spreading+inclusion.+Photo+courtesy+of+Emma+Goebel

EMMA GOEBEL PHOTOGRAPHY

Members of NMU’s Best Buddies sit around a table in Jamrich Hall playing the card game UNO during a Valentine’s Day celebrataion. Best Buddies is an active student organization with goals of spreading inclusion. Photo courtesy of Emma Goebel

Kelsii Kyto

For the first time, NMU’s Best Buddies is hosting Inclusion Week from March 17-23, and each day will have a special event dedicated to helping people of all groups to feel included.

Best Buddies is an organization that fosters one-to-one friendships between NMU students without intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) and college-aged community members with IDD.

NMU Best Buddies President and senior zoology major Seton Trost said that the first annual event has been in the works since September.
“A lot has gone into getting funding, figuring out what events we think will be most beneficial, as well as looking what other clubs could help in our mission so it isn’t just us for the entire week,” Trost said.

The idea behind inclusion week is to create a more inclusive environment for everyone of all abilities, Trost said. It will also create awareness and discussion on everyone’s varying abilities, she added.

Trost defines inclusion as “a word that can be applied to an environment where everyone feels welcome, and no one is off sitting alone because they have some label, but rather everyone is included and comfortable in their community.”

Events happening during Inclusion Week include a polar plunge, a spread the word pledge focused on inclusion, a special information table for ASL club, a bake sale, mismatched socks day and a movie showing.

The week will also include a talk from Alex Kimmel, an advocate for self-determination who will be speaking about living on the spectrum, the importance of inclusion and what neuroscience is known at this time about
autism.

Both Trost and the Secretary of Best Buddies, senior graphic design major Emma Goebel are most looking forward to Kimmel’s talk, which will be at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 22 in Jamrich 1320.

“In today’s society, many of us are divided. I feel this week of inclusion is a great excuse for everyone to come together and support inclusion and respect of all people,” Goebel said.

Everyone deserves acceptance, Goebel said.

Trost added that she is proud to be a buddy and is sad to say goodbye to Best Buddies after this spring.

“Leading this organization from before it was an official chapter to now [where] it’s a full friendship chapter has been so much fun. I just love planning something then seeing how happy the buddies are at social events. It’s been so rewarding and really reminds me why we do this,” Trost said.
Goebel is also graduating in the spring, and also reflected on her time at Best Buddies.

“I have learned a lot of what to do and what not to do over the years. I am very grateful for the experience I was able to gain in helping to lead this organization and I am also thankful for all of the people I have met through the club,” Goebel said.

Goebel and Trost are looking for two new leaders for the group, and people interested in joining the group can contact the group via Facebook or email [email protected]