Scavenging for autism awareness on campus

Many of the women in the Alpha Xi Delta sorority have been affected by autism in one way or another, whether it is through a sibling, relative or friend they know, said Megan Devine, Alpha Xi Delta technology chair.

As a part of the sorority’s philanthropy, the Alpha Xi Delta sorority hosted their second annual barbecue on Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. They will also be having a campus wide scavenger hunt on Thursday starting at 4:30 p.m. All the proceeds from these events will go to Autism Speaks, an organization that funds research for finding preventions, treatments and a cure for autism, according to their Web site.

The organization also hopes to increase autism awareness.

“We want people to see what we are so devoted to,” said Jona Kristo, Alpha Xi Delta president. “We want them to contribute to an organization that we really believe in.”

In order to raise money for the event, the sorority mailed letters to friends and family requesting donations, Devine said. She added that each team for the scavenger hunt pays $100, which will be donated along with the money that was collected at the barbecue. Tickets for the barbecue cost $5 ahead of time and $6 at the event.

Last year, the event raised about $2000, said Shannon McGuire, Alpha Xi Delta philanthropy chair. This year, the girls are hoping to raise between $5000 and $8000.

“We are raising money for a cause that is near and dear to my heart,” Devine said. “There are so many kids who are affected with autism and (Autism Speaks) is such an awesome cause.”

Mostly students in the Greek system attend the barbecue, Kristo said. The scavenger hunt will be campus-wide and incorporates both Greeks and non-Greeks.

“It is fun that this event involves other frats and sororities on campus and the weather will be really nice for it,” Kristo said. “This event is so unique and fun. Last year we had a great turnout and so we decided to continue it this year and hopefully in future years.”

For the scavenger hunt, there will be different stations set up across campus where teams will get a puzzle piece clue that will lead them to the next clue, Devine said. Once the teams have found all of their clues, they make their way back to the Alpha Xi Delta house. The team who is able to put their puzzle together first wins. First place winners will receive a Flat Top gift card, Insomnia cookies and a trophy.

“Since we partner with Autism Speaks, we wanted to do something that involved their puzzle piece logo,” Kristo said.

All the members in Alpha Xi Delta will either serve as team captains or lead scavenger hunt stations, Kristo said. Other members will help set up or encourage participating teams. Members also had to create the clues and puzzle pieces. This is their spring philanthropy event, so every member is required to participate.

“This is an incredible opportunity to meet everyone on campus and people that aren’t just in fraternities or sororities,” Devine said. “I’m so excited and it will be so much fun because it is such a great event.”

After the event, Alpha Xi Delta will have representatives from Autism Speaks over for dinner at their house where members will present the representatives with the money, McGuire said. Kristo said she is looking forward to donate to such a great charity.

“We are really excited to show everyone what we are really passionate about,” she said.