A Saskatoon university student will receive the YMCA peace medallion for his work trying to eliminate use of the word "retarded."

"It's a huge honour," Max Liu told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"Retarded" is a derogatory term used to describe people with intellectual disabilities.

Last year, Liu led a campaign on the University of Saskatchewan campus called Spread the Word to End the Word.  It asked students to offer a pledge to stop using the word "retarded." Liu said that many students seemed relieved to see somebody speaking out on the use of such an offensive word.

"It really does have a pretty negative impact," Liu said.

"It's kind of just casually thrown around without people really thinking about what it means."

Liu's motivation to eliminate the use of the word comes from the deep, personal relationships he has made volunteering for years with Best Buddies, of which he's the Saskatoon chapter co-president. It's an organization that works to make schools and communities more inclusive and accepting of people with intellectual disabilities.

For his interview with CBC Radio, Liu brought Denae Upton, a junior executive buddy advocate. Her smile spoke volumes about her friend and the work he does.  


Denae Upton, a Best Buddies junior executive, works closely with Liu and admires his dedication in working to stop the use of hurtful language. (CBC)

"Max makes a good president of the Best Buddies," Upton said.

Liu will receive the YMCA's peace medallion at a ceremony tonight at Village Guitar & Amp in Saskatoon.

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning