Imagine a world full of love that is absent of hate. Hard to picture it, right? Well there’s a club at LSU that’s working to do just that.
Eliana Wackerman and Melissa Morgan started Score A Friend at LSU in 2015. Nationally, Score A Friend is a club that promotes unified friendship through school and club sports. Eliana and Melissa got the idea after researching the Girl Scout Gold Awards, an organization that is close to both girls’ hearts. Score A Friend was started by Sarah Griechen in 2012 when Sarah was just 13. She started it for her Gold Award project because she noticed that her brother, who has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, was not included in school clubs and organizations. Score A Friend has three chapters across the country, LSU's being the first on a collegiate campus.
“We realized that LSU did not have a lot of inclusive organizations or programs on campus that focused on Unified Friendships,” said Eliana. “Melissa and I at literally 1 a.m. in our freshman dorm decided we wanted to make an impact on LSU’s campus, and thus we started Score A Friend at LSU.”
As a club, Score A Friend at LSU has been able to work with the Special Olympics and work on the R-Word campaign, a campaign that spreads the word to end the R-word (retarded) in everyday language.
“When people call trivial things in life “retarded” they are saying that that thing is equitable to a person who has an intelligence disability,” said Eliana. “There are so many other words they could use that are more what they mean because an individual with an intelligence disability is not stupid, illogical, trivial or absurd.”
Both Eliana and Melissa have personal ties to the organization. They both note that close friends with special needs has helped open their eyes and has made them strive to work for a more inclusive world.
“This organization to me is a way to bring awareness to others to include everyone regardless of their disabilities and be mindful of others,” said Melissa.
Besides the Special Olympics and the R-Word campaign, Score A Friend is hosting Score A Friend week the week of April 18 through the 22. The week will promote the message of Score A Friend and will make students more aware of how important it is to be inclusive to all.
At LSU, the club got recognition by being nominated for the best new club for the year of 2015 at the Love Purple Live Gold Awards. While they did not win, the members know that they don’t need an award to tell them that they’re doing good work; they see it on the faces of those they work with.