Courtesy of Addie White
SMU is proud to be home to world changers, and it all starts with the moment a student decides to become a leader. We are proud here at Her Campus to present SMU’s Leading Ladies, taking charge and making a difference in the community.
This week, we have chosen to feature Addie White, a junior studying psychology and educational studies. She is a busy girl, involved in a variety of organizations, including Chi Omega Women’s Fraternity and the Mortar Board National Honor Society. She is also an RA in the Mary Hay Peyton Shuttles Commons. One of her greatest roles on campus, however, is serving as Chapter President of SMU Best Buddies.
“Best Buddies is an international non-profit organization that provides inclusive opportunities to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through one-to-one friendships, leadership development, and job hiring,” White said. “We provide a platform for SMU students and people with IDD in the Dallas area to form lasting friendships.” At SMU, events are held at least once a month.
Her involvement with Best Buddies and drive to better the lives of those with IDD come from the heart, and very close to home.
“When I was eight years old, my youngest brother, Alex, was born with Down syndrome,”White said. “Alex has taught me many things throughout the years, but most importantly he has helped me to realize my passion for helping people with disabilities. This passion has led me to immerse myself in advocating for people with special needs.”
Her overwhelming devotion to helping those with IDD does not stop with SMU’s Best Buddies.
“I’m currently in the process of establishing a postsecondary education option for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities at SMU,” White said. “This would allow people with IDD to have a full college experience including both academic and social involvement.”
SMU’s program will be based on programs like “Next Steps” at Vanderbilt University and “ClemsonLIFE” at Clemson University.
When asked what inspires her to work so hard to aid those with IDD, White gave an answer to inspire us all. “Because of Alex and my volunteer experiences, I see the world through a different lens, one that recognizes the need for inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society,” she said. “I know that a negative society will affect intellectually disabled people more than their disabilities ever will… I’m anchored in the fact that this world is not my ultimate home. I get to work for a purpose so much greater than myself and I love that.”
White is sure to find a bright future ahead of her with her passion. She intends to go to graduate school and earn her Masters in Special Education. Her ultimate goal is to own a private educational practice for children with IDD.
“I’m also interested in reforming special education curriculum at the district level,” she said, looking down the road 10 years.
For now, while at SMU White encourages everyone to stand up themselves and make the world better!
“When you see something that isn’t right, that bothers you, that could be better, make it better. It’s so simple! I think people often see problems and look over the fact that they could be the one to make it different…As humans, we have the power to make something new and beautiful out of practically nothing,” White said.
White’s dedication to others and drive to make the first steps in the right direction have all of us at Her Campus SMU proud to have her as one of SMU’s Leading Ladies.