San Marcos,
15:30 PM

Sorority Raises Record Funds for Autism Speaks

By Katie Chappell

One in 68 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism and that startling statistic is what motivated members of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority to raise a record $25,000 for Autism Speaks.

To reach their goal, Alpha Xi Delta hosted its annual AmaXing Challenge from September 30 through October 3, a weeklong program to promote awareness and philanthropic support for autism. Events included an autism educational night with talks from Autism Speaks staff, a fundraising 5k walk/run at CSUSM’s Mangrum Track and Field, and the sorority’s signature banquet in the University Student Union.

“The events help inform the campus and local community to break the stigma and stereotypes that come with autism and to understand the broad range of experiences for the many people on the autism spectrum,” shared Hannah Hawker, chair of the AmaXing Challenge for Alpha Xi Delta

This is the sixth year that the sorority has put on the AmaXing Challenge. In 2014, the members raised just over $18,000 and this year they raised $25,050—an increase of nearly 40 percent. The funds benefit research, prevention, treatment and family support through Autism Speaks, the nation's leading autism science and advocacy organization.

“Alpha Xi Delta’s AmaXing Challenge for Autism Speaks is a great example of our students coming together to make a dedicated and lasting impact,” said Megan Curran, coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life at CSUSM. “Members of the CSUSM Greek community exemplify the core values of their organizations through service and gracious giving.”

While generating financial support for Autism Speaks is a significant focus of the AmaXing Challenge, education and awareness are also a high priority.

“It’s not just about writing a check—we value the opportunity to be directly involved in autism advocacy,” said Hannah. 

In addition to the weeklong fundraising and awareness festivities, the women of Alpha Xi Delta, which now has 114 members, support, advocate and volunteer for Autism Speaks throughout the year. The cause is especially meaningful to the sorority, as autism has affected some of its own members’ families.

“Some girls choose to join our chapter because of the philanthropic work we do and the cause we support,” shared Hannah. “This work goes beyond our sisters—our communities get involved to make an impact for Autism Speaks.”