SMC lights Le Mans blue for Autism Awareness Week
Haleigh Ehmsen | Thursday, April 9, 2015
The iconic Le Mans bell tower on Saint Mary’s campus glows blue this month in honor of Autism Awareness.
President of the Students Supporting Autism club Angelina Lazovich said she heard about the national Autism Speaks campaign “Light It Up Blue” and thought it would be a good way for Saint Mary’s to show support of those with autism.
“I think the glowing blue light, which will shine throughout the month of April, shows how supportive Saint Mary’s is of all,” Lazovich said.
Lazovich said she hopes the blue light will probe students to ask questions.
“I think people will ask a lot of questions about why the tower is blue, which is a good thing, because it will further help our cause of spreading awareness of Autism in the community,” she said.
Lazovich said this is the first year of the Students Supporting Autism club and the College has been extremely supportive of its efforts, especially with the bell tower initiative.
“[The College] supported our club by making our dream come to reality, all while showing their support for people everywhere affected by autism,” she said.
The idea for the Students Supporting Autism club came at the end of last year, Lazovich said. Dr. Nancy Turner, chair of the education department, wanted to start an organization to raise awareness about autism and raise funds for the local autism community, she said.
“I loved the idea, so together we were able to get the club started for this year,” she said. “Our main goal is to raise awareness across the tri-campus community along with raising funds for the local autism community.
“We have tried to reach out in any way we can to help local centers and families and hope that this involvement can increase in the coming years as our group becomes more established.”
Lazovich said at the end of this academic year, the club will choose two local centers that support individuals with autism to which they will donate the funds they raised.
As one of its fundraisers, the club is hosting a 5K walk/run April 18, she said. All funds will be donated to the centers chosen at the end of the year, and Lazovich said the club hopes to make this an annual event.
The race will start by Saint Mary’s Welcome Center and will conclude on the island of Lake Marian. The registration fee is $10. People can register in person the day of the event or online at http://goo.gl/forms/cdzGlvQ1qb
The week following the 5K will be Saint Mary’s first Autism Awareness Week, Lazovich said. The week’s events include a bake sale and movie screening. Additionally, students will be able to sign and decorate banners and puzzle pieces, the national symbol of autism, representing the complexity of autism spectrum disorder, she said.
All week long, the club will also be collecting loose change in Cyber and Spes-Unica cafes to help boost the year-long fundraising total.