The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Group works to increase autism awareness in B-CS

 
 

From a lit up Rudder Fountain to University President R. Bowen Loftin’s bowtie in honor of World Autism Day on April 2, the color blue has popped up on campus frequently this April.
April is Autism Awareness month, which is represented by the color blue. Autism Speaks U, a campus organization focused on informing students about autism, has hosted multiple events throughout the month to get students more involved in its cause.
Lamees Elnihum, president of Autism Speaks U, said she started the organization last summer after she volunteered at a speech pathology department at a local hospital and developed a fascination with autism because of a family friend’s autistic son.
“We founded Autism Speaks U to give students at Texas A&M the opportunity to spread autism awareness and help fundraise for research into the causes and treatment of autism,” Elnihum said.
Autism Speaks U is a subset of Autism Speaks, a national charity organization that works to help autism-related causes.
“We’re in constant coordination with [Autism Speaks],” Elnihum said. “They coordinate with us to help us plan out events to fundraise as much as possible during the semester. All of the proceeds we receive go toward the charity and they allocate it to research and familial aid.”
Montse Aceves, historian of Autism Speaks U and sophomore psychology major, said she wants to work with people with autism after graduating college, but her reasons for joining the club went beyond career goals.
“People have a misconception of what autism is,” Aceves said. “Many think it’s a mental illness, but it’s not. They have a cognitive behavioral disorder. I think it’s important that people know about it.”
Hannah Greeson, volunteering and awareness chair and sophomore business major, said she wants to see Autism Speaks U blossom in the future to be able to reach out to more students and the surrounding area.
“We’re hoping to get involved with the local community, like [with] local autism clinics and people in the Bryan-College Station area with children with autism,” Greeson said. “So we’re still hoping to do that and get more plugged in with the community in the next few years.”
Elnihum said the organization will light up Albritton Tower and the trees on Simpson Drill Field Monday, in conjunction with a small program and free pizza to inform and attract students.
In their efforts to raise $3,000 this semester, Elnihum said Autism Speaks U held a profit share earlier this month as well as three bake sales in Academic Plaza.
The group participated in Kyle Field Day, building a puzzle-piece mosaic as a donation to a local autism facility.

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