GORHAM, Maine – For the second consecutive year, the University of Southern Maine Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the men’s and women’s basketball teams will host a “Spread the Word to End the Word” Awareness campaign. This year the campaign will be hosted during the Huskies’ non-conference basketball doubleheader with Bowdoin College on Tuesday, November 28 (5:30 & 7:30 p.m.) at Hill Gymnasium.
The “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign is a national program with the intent of ending the derogatory use of the word “retarded” in everyday conversation. Through advocacy and awareness, the goal of the campaign is to educate people on the hurtful effects of the word “retarded” and to encourage people to pledge to stop using it. Led by USM SAAC officers, USM student-athletes have committed to establishing a campus culture of inclusivity and diversity through thoughtful language practices.
As part of the event, the USM men’s and women’s basketball teams will be hosting halftime exhibition scrimmages featuring participants in SAAC’s Unified Sports Program and Maine Special Olympic Athletes. During halftime of the men’s basketball games, players from both the Southern Maine and Bowdoin College women’s basketball teams will participate alongside of Maine Special Olympians.
Although officially adopted as a partner by the NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in the summer of 2011, the University of Southern Maine Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the USM Department of Athletics has had a long-standing relationship with Special Olympics, and its Maine Special Olympians.
USM Athletics under the director of then Athletic Director Dr. Richard A. Costello began working with Maine Special Olympics in the late 1960s when the founder and director of Maine Special Olympics, Micky Boutilier opened up his offices in downtown Gorham, Maine. Since that time, USM Athletics, its student-athletes and Maine Special Olympics has enjoyed a successful partnership. USM Athletics has hosted, and its student-athletes have volunteered at, the Southern Maine Special Olympics Basketball Tournament and Skills Competition since the 1970s when the event was hosted inside of Hill Gymnasium long before the creation of the Costello Sports Complex Fieldhouse. READ MORE