From the Tokyo Tower and the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, to the Christ the Redeemer statue and The University of Toledo’s bell tower — national landmarks around the globe will be bathed in blue light for autism awareness.
World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated every year April 2. The event was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a light on autism as a growing global health crisis. On this day, Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism advocacy organization, celebrates its Light It Up Blue campaign by organizing thousands of buildings worldwide to shine blue lights for autism awareness.
The Alpha Xi Delta sorority, whose philanthropy is Autism Speaks, will bring the campaign to UT this April for the second time.
“Autism is kind of my life,” said Jennifer Huffman, the sorority’s programs vice president. “That’s how I picked my major in occupational therapy. My brother has autism, and I’ve seen personally what it does to people and how it affects people.”
This year’s celebration will include information tables in the Student Union Tuesday, March 31, Wednesday, April 1, and Thursday, April 2, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Thursday there will be a “kissing booth” where members of the sorority will pass out free Hershey kisses with facts about autism on them, Light It Up Blue wristbands, and save-the-date cards for the sorority’s philanthropy dinner later in April. Puzzle piece cookies and other bake goods also will be sold Thursday. All proceeds go toward Autism Speaks.
At sundown, the sorority will host a ceremony during which University Hall will join numerous other world landmarks in lighting up blue for autism. Every night the following week, the tower will light up.
“The money we raised for our philanthropy helped my family specifically, so I just want to pass that on to other people,” Huffman said.
Started in 2005, Autism Speaks raises awareness about the disorder, advocates for the needs of individuals with autism and their families, and funds research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism.
To learn more about the campaign, contact Huffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.