Autism finds its voice among Geneseo students

The Campus Round Table, a group comprised of hall council presidents, held a party for Autism Speaks this past Saturday in Holcomb gym.

Each year the group hosts a campus-wide event, which had been in the form of a game show for the past several years. This year, the Round Table members decided to host a night of live music and activities in order to raise money and awareness for autism.

"We wanted to have more people involved this year, and we thought that autism would be a good cause," said Nassau Hall President sophomore Rachel Scott. Allegany Hall President sophomore Anna Pietrantoni explained that autism is Allegany hall's charity, so expanding it to a campus-wide cause made sense. "Autism is fairly prevalent, but very few people are aware of it," she said.

"The goal of the event is not only to raise funds for the cause, but to spread awareness," said Genesee hall president sophomore Megan Pogemiller. "The event has been in planning since September so we're really excited for it to finally be happening."

The Inter-Residence Council, Student Association, Geneseo Late Knight and Campus Auxiliary Services, with support from Buzzo Music, funded Autism Speaks. The event, held from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. was free for everyone attending, but donations were accepted all night.

The gym was arranged with a stage area and a dance floor outlined in puzzle pieces, creating a festive atmosphere. Blue and white balloons and streamers covered the entire gym and puzzle pieces displaying information about autism were spread around on tables.

In addition, attendees had the opportunity to play sports including basketball, Kan Jam and football. Supplies were also provided for crafts such as tie-dye, lanyards and friendship bracelets. Live performers - including several bands as well as the swing dance club and slam poetry team - provided further entertainment.

"We got a really good turnout and the bands have been awesome," said Pogemiller. "It's great to see all our hard work come together."

"It was a great event," said sophomore Lauren Freese. "Hopefully in the future they can do similar events and maybe hold them in a more central location so they'll get an even better turnout."

Sophomore Tommi Tsuruga added, "It's nice to see people coming out and having fun while supporting a good cause."