Spreading Blue for Autism Speaks

Words by Morgan Harper, Photos by Servando Mireles

Since Alpha Xi Delta first partnered with Autism Speaks in 2009, chapters all over the country have created unique, successful fundraisers to collect over $3 million for the organization. At CBU, the Theta Pi chapter has assembled various fundraising events for Autism Speaks around campus, including their annual Blue Out game. For the past four years, this group of women has rallied the student body to meet in Canale and cheer on our Bucs in blue apparel to support Autism Speaks! The women of Alpha Xi Delta, or AXiD (pronounced ay-zee-dee), have a lot of spirit and passion for their philanthropy, and once people learn about the organization, it isn't hard to understand why.

Autism Speaks is a nonprofit organization that works to raise money to fund advocacy, family services, research, and awareness for both children and adults with autism, the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the United States. With autism now affecting one in sixty-eight children, the ladies of Alpha Xi Delta regard fundraising as an urgent need. AXiDs plan extensively for events like the Blue Out Game, making sure to invite alumni, students, and faculty to come out and support Autism Speaks in blue. At the game, the chapter sells fun, blue baked goods, cotton candy, bracelets, and awareness ribbons. They also decorate the gym with colorful banners and poster boards that share interesting facts about autism.

While Alpha Xi Deltas are always happily willing to educate people all about Autism Speaks and autism in general, I wanted to dig just a little deeper. Most people either know someone who has been affected by autism, or at least know of someone who is, and therefore, are ready to help support Autism Speaks. But what I really wanted to know was what distinguishes this philanthropy from others and why is it so important to Alpha Xi Deltas at CBU? Here's what they had to say:

"Autism research is wildly underfunded compared to other charities. It affects so many people in the world; it touches almost everyone in some way, so people need be aware of it." 
— Maria Dopico

"I know of a ton of awesome philanthropies, but Autism Speaks really stuck out to me because of the experiences I have built with autism and people affected by it since I was 14. It's really important to me that people who have autism are understood. It's a shame when they aren't, because some of the most magical people I know are on the spectrum." 
—Anne Marie Youngblood

"What I love about Autism Speaks is honestly its simplicity. We don't really have to jump through a lot of hoops to get involved. We can do just about anything to raise awareness and get people's attention because a lot of people don't know a lot about the organization and genuinely have an interest in learning." 
—Summer Rudd

"What's different about Autism Speaks is its dedication to research. Autism Speaks is the leading autism research organization in the world. On top of that, they raise awareness, advocate, and provide family services. I love knowing that my philanthropy firmly stands by their mission and that every dime that we give to them is going directly to such an amazing cause." 
—Abigail Lockard

"Autism Speaks definitely touches me on a personal level. I have a little sister who has autism, so it really drew me in. Our philanthropy is so unique and special because it helps people who can't do it all on their own. Organizations like Autism Speaks are what give families like mine hope again. As for my chapter, when we hold fundraising events like this, we know what we're working for, and that really brings us together as sisters because we are so driven and passionate about it." 
—Nadia Rivas

Clearly, Alpha Xi Deltas won't be backing down from their cause anytime soon, but they always need your support! Be sure to be on the lookout for opportunities to get involved with Autism Speaks, especially during Autism Awareness month in April!

Morgan Harper is a Junior English for Corporate Communications major at Christian Brothers University and a staff writer at the Galleon. 
Servando Mireles is a Marketing major with a concentration in Graphic Design at Christian Brothers University, photographer, and staff editor for the Galleon.

Posted by Josh Colfer at 8:34 AM

The Galleon is curated and managed by Christian Brothers University, a Memphis-based university founded in the Lasallian tradition (a sect within the Catholic faith). Part of our founding mission is to uphold respect for all persons-regardless of political, religious, or social beliefs. As an institution, we take no stand on political matters; to do so would undermine our commitment to intellectual inquiry and thoughtful response to events taking place in our World by members of the CBU community.

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