Students bring autism awareness through art

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Senior Cassandra Cosnie, 21, political science major, buys a bracelet to donate money for children with autism from senior Maydelin La Rosa, 22, public health education major, who volunteered at 'Art of Change' event under the Sierra Tower on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Natalia Bereznyuk

Autism awareness was brought to the CSUN campus Tuesday with an art walk held under Sierra Tower.

“Art for Change” was held by the United Sorority and Fraternity Council (USFC) and was part of a larger challenge from Unified We Serve, a volunteer program on campus.

“We launched a challenge for the entire campus to help with the issue of autism,” said Justin Weiss, coordinator of Unified We Serve.

The challenge, “Unified 4 Autism,” began this fall and will continue through April, Weiss said. The program asked every club on campus to hold one event during the year for autism, whether it be a fundraiser, awareness campaign, or directed service.

Each organization within the USFC submitted a piece of artwork, for a total of 12, said Marielos Renderos, activities director for the USFC and a member of Lambda Theta Nu.

The USFC is composed of minority fraternities and sororities, she said.

A puzzle piece was incorporated into each work of art to signify the national symbol for autism, said Renderos, a junior.

“We’re thinking about donating them after,” the biology major said of the art.

Students were able to donate to the cause, and all proceeds were going to Autism Speaks, a national organization. Those who donated money were given a blue bracelet in return.

Freshman Vanessa Rosalez was among those who gave a donation.

Rosalez said she has a friend who has two brothers with autism. She also said she participated in an autism walk in high school.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to donate,” said Rosalez, a kinesiology athletic training major. “The art pieces are pretty interesting.”

Collages, paintings, and decorated t-shirts were among the displayed art.

Some of the fraternities and sororities that work with children with autism  had the kids make some of the displayed art, Renderos said.

The event was held as a way for the USFC to become more involved on campus and “to let people know that there are other sororities and fraternities and that Greek life shouldn’t be misrepresented,” she said.

“More attention needs to be paid (to autism),” said senior Erin Ulrich, a member of Lambda Sigma Gamma.

There is a stigma associated with autism and raising awareness is the most positive thing that can be done, she said.

Autism is also a personal issue for some members of the USFC.

Freshman Michael Perez, a member of Sigma Lambda Beta cares for a man named Jim who has autism.

A skateboard with Jim’s picture and a written message was on display, along with a book his father wrote about him.

The USFC has also discussed holding other events to raise awareness about various issues, such as cancer and AIDS, said Perez, a mechanical engineering major. “I think it’s a great start for us,” he said.

The event continues on Wednesday.

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