Club & Greek

Alpha Xi Delta Shines a Light on Autism Awareness at the “Today Show”

The University’s chapter of Alpha Xi Delta (AXiD) kicked off national Autism Awareness Month last Wednesday, April 2 by attending the “Today Show” in NYC, which featured a segment on Autism Speaks, AXiD’s national philanthropy.

April is Autism Awareness Month. Every year, the “Today Show” features members of Alpha Xi Delta to talk about Autism Speaks in hopes to raise awareness and support for their philanthropy. This happens on April 2, which is World Autism Awareness Day.

Last Wednesday members of the University’s AXiD chapter met at Rider University with the Rider AXiD sisters, as well as sisters from West Chester University and Temple University. Together, the four chapters traveled to NYC where they attended the “Today Show” filming.

While at the show, the girls were given airtime to talk about their philanthropy and raise awareness for a disorder that affects 1 in 68 American children, according to Autism Speaks.

“The trip to NYC was a great experience because we got to come together with other chapters and raise awareness for a cause that needs to be recognized,” said Maddie Arecchi, a freshman English and elementary education major and new member of Alpha Xi Delta. “One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to join Alpha Xi Delta was so I could give back to our amazing philanthropy. I plan on getting my Master’s degree in special education, so being able to be a part of an organization that has raised over two million dollars for Autism Speaks has made me so happy.”

Katelyn Basile, a junior elementary and history education major with an endorsement in special education, is not only a sister of Alpha Xi Delta, but also the sister of someone with autism. “I could not think of a better philanthropy to support,” she said. “Both at home and with the sorority, I have seen many ways that Autism Speaks has been a great resource to many families.” Basile believes going to the “Today Show” for World Autism Awareness Day was an amazing opportunity to shine a light on autism.

During their time at the show, the girls were able to meet cast members, such as Matt Lauer and Hoda Kotb, and explain to them that they were there to support autism.

The “Today Show” and World Autism Day are just the beginning of how Alpha Xi Delta contributes to its philanthropy. During Autism Awareness Month and “Light it up Blue Week,” the first week of April during which buildings around the country have blue lights shined on them, the sorority’s chapters around the nation work to raise money and awareness for autism.

April Churchill, the Philanthropy Chair of the University’s chapter of AXiD, believes there is no greater feeling than giving back to those in need. “Every year, Alpha Xi Delta celebrates Autism Speaks, especially during ‘Light it up Blue Week,’” Churchill said. “During this time, we [AXiD] have different events, such as tabling and bake sales, to raise awareness for autism.”

As part of their efforts to raise money for Autism Speaks, Monmouth’s AXiD chapter hosts an event during Autism Awareness Month that the rest of the University can participate in. This year’s event is called Xi Marks the Spot, which will be a campus-wide scavenger hunt between teams of up to five.

“We want anyone and everyone to come participate,” said Melissa Rance, a sophomore biology major and co-philanthropy chair of AXiD. The event will be held on April 11.

Autism is a disorder that costs a family $60,000 a year on average and is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the United States, according to Autism Speaks. It is for this reason that sisters of Alpha Xi Delta around the nation feel that more attention needs to be given to it, especially during the month of April.

“With new data showing that one in every sixty-eight children is diagnosed with autism, it is important for acceptance throughout society, now more than ever,” said Basile.

PHOTO TAKEN by Heather Muh