Club & Greek

Alpha Xi Delta Walks at Annual “Autism Speaks” 5K

The University’s chapter Alpha Xi Delta volunteered at the annual “Walk Now for ‘Autism Speaks’” 5K walk/run outside of Pier Village on Saturday, Sept. 28 to raise money for the “Autism Speaks” foundation.

According to Lauren Havanki, the director of field division for “Autism Speaks”, the turnout this year was better than previous years, with approximately 4,500 participants in attendance.

A huge sum of donations was made towards the cause. Havanki said, “The event brought in approximately 250,000 dollars”

Local residents including students in nearby high schools supported this walk in addition to Alpha Xi Delta.

Alpha Xi Delta’s philanthropy is “Austism Speaks.”  Each year, their chapter helps out with the walk by doing a numerous amount of jobs and responsibilities to help the walk run as smoothly as possible.  Approximately 50 members of the sorority showed up to help

Stephanie Naishtut, Alpha Xi Delta’s philanthropy chair, said, “We broke the sisters up into three shifts: setup, afternoon, and cleanup.  Each sister was assigned a different job throughout the day and had a job to help out.”

The morning setup crew arranged all of the tables which were designated for stations including check-in, food, and merchandise.

Heather Muh, junior member of the Alpha Xi Delta, said, “It was awesome being able to be a part of something so special and being able to cheer on the participants while they ran in the race.”

Around the event, they also had many fun and entertaining attractions for the little kids  There were Star Wars impersonators that the kids could take pictures with, in addition to having a few bouncy houses. Many of the children who attended the walk were affected by autism.

Jackie Leming, junior member of the chapter, said, “It was amazing seeing all of the kids running around and having a great time.  I love volunteering at this walk every year just to see the joy it brings to everyone.”

According to “Austism Speaks,” a child is diagnosed with some form of Autism every 11 minutes.  Also, one in 88 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism.  At the walk, many of the sisters posed with “Austism Speaks” cards with certain facts about autism on them throughout the walk for people to read and learn more about autism awareness.

Havanki said, “I have been involved with “Austism Speaks” since 2006, but not because I personally know anyone with autism. It was more of a gradual growth in the field over the years.  It became a passion I would have never have expected.”

She was very dedicated to the walk from start to finish and was running around nonstop to make sure everything ran perfectly.

Naishtut also took charge over Alpha Xi Delta chapter and overall was very proud.

According to Naishtut, the event was an overall success.  The girls from Alpha Xi Delta were all thrilled to be back and be able to help out with the walk once again.

This is just only of the ways Alpha Xi Delta shows their commitment to philanthropy.  They also donated a large sum of money to the “Austism Speaks” foundation thanks to their fundraising efforts.  Some of their other events at  the University are “Karaoke for a Cure” and “Xingo.”

PHOTO TAKEN by Nicole Napholz