By: Reece Cabanas
Chief Distribution Officer
During the week of April 2, the Alpha Xi Delta chapter at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) Prescott launched one of their biggest and most successful philanthropy weeks to date.
The fundraiser aimed to fulfill their national philanthropy: Autism Speaks. The chapter successfully raised nearly double their original $3,000 goal.
Founded in 2005, Autism Speaks was adopted by Alpha Xi Delta as their national philanthropy in 2009.
According to online advocacy sites, raising a child with autism can cost, on average, between an additional $25,000 to $60,000 a year.
Autism Speaks raises funds to help relieve some of these extra costs through family support services, following their main four pillars of advocacy, awareness, research, and family support. They have succeeded in requiring 47 states to have insurance coverage for people with autism.
Several on-campus philanthropy events were held throughout the week, with a semi-formal event concluding the string of fundraisers.
Various advertisements such as chalk art and posters were spread around campus to promote fundraising efforts and raise awareness.
Monday’s Advocacy Day event asked fellow Embry-Riddle students to wear blue to show support for the cause. A day later, the sisters held a Mac n’ Cheese sale outside AC-1.
Continuing with advocacy and awareness, a movie titled “Sounding the Alarm” was shown in one of the AC-1 classrooms on Wednesday. Thursday consisted of a puppy kissing booth and bake sale in the Student Union quad area.
To wrap up the week, the sorority held their Blue Dress Affair event in the Eagle Gym. People attending the semi-formal event had the option to either pay $10 at the door or RSVP online for a discounted admission fee.
The costs included dinner and one raffle ticket, all of which would be donated to the cause. In addition, extra raffle tickets could be purchased to increase chances of winning the prizes such as spa treatments, gift cards, and scented candles among other things.
Alpha Xi Delta’s timing was executed perfectly, with April 2 being recognized internationally as World Autism Awareness Day and marking the beginning of World Autism Month.
The total amount raised throughout the week reached nearly $6,000, making this the Theta Zeta chapters’ most successful philanthropy week since its founding in 1991. All money raised will go directly towards family funding and support services.
In the past few weeks, the sisterhood has received some pushback from the campus community due to Autism Speaks’ blurred reputation and the national sorority’s ties to the organization.
They have also received accusations that their philanthropy week is focused around finding a cure for autism, of which is entirely untrue. False accusations, misleading information, and quick judgement have attributed to these claims.
Autism is still a diagnosis that is not very well understood, a reason why awareness groups such as Autism Speaks conduct research into it.
While their philanthropy is titled Autism Speaks, Alpha Xi Delta works solely to fund families and research into the autism spectrum, stating they will faithfully support the organization and stand by their values above all else and regardless of any pushback.
Aside from the April philanthropy week, the sorority has held previous fundraisers during the school year.
Currently there are plans to continue holding on-campus as well as off-campus events for the remainder of the month. Another philanthropy week is also planned for the fall semester.
The Alpha Xi Delta women’s fraternity was founded on April 17, 1893, at Lombard College in Galesburg, Illinois.
With over 175,000 initiated sisters and approximately 130 institutions nationwide, the sorority focuses on providing its members with sisterhood, leadership, knowledge, and service. Just earlier this month the sisterhood celebrated its 125th anniversary.