Club of the Week: Best Buddies

What was the inspiration behind your club?

Best Buddies is a social club that promotes friendship between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. In society, these is a lot of disparity between these two groups where there obviously should not be. Best Buddies works to make people with disabilities become a part of mainstream society. We accomplish this by the friendships that we establish in the club.

How was your club started?

Best Buddies is not unique to Lehigh but is an international organization built by Anthony Kennedy Shriver in 1989. Best Buddies has grown from one chapter to more than 1,700 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. We have participants in every single state in the US and are also present in over 50 countries. However, Best Buddies is relatively new to Lehigh as we only began a few years ago and are still looking to build our name on campus.

What is your club’s role both on and off campus?

The role of Best Buddies is not only to foster friendships between those with and without disabilities but also to create a more respectful and accepting society. All of our buddies live in the area surrounding Lehigh, and some of them even work at Lehigh. Many of you may be familiar with Steve and Kathy Kucey who both work at Rathbone dining hall. Most of our club sponsored events are held on-campus, but lots of buddy pairs do activities off-campus and in the community as well. As you can see, Best Buddies has far reaching ramifications both on and off campus.

Why should students join your club? And how?

Everybody should join Best Buddies simply because it’s fun! I don’t know of any other club that is center around making friends and hanging out. Most of our events consist of great music, delicious food, and fun activities to do with your buddy. We just have so much fun the whole time! And of course, by joining Best Buddies, your friendship is also making huge difference in someone’s life. For anyone interested in joining Best Buddies, please contact either of the Co-Presidents: Elise Cross (enc216) or Marlee Milkis (mbm216); and please join our page on The Hub to start receiving club emails.

What is the best part of being in your club?

The best part of Best Buddies is definitely the friendships you form. Many many people remain friends with their buddy for life. We’ve had Lehigh alumni come back to some of our events to visit their old buddies and these reunions are so special. These friendships are as true as any and both parties benefit immensely. I’ve always said that you truly do not know what you’re missing if you’re not in Best Buddies. It is nothing short of a life-changing experience.