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Ithaca College to Light Up for Autism Awareness

 ITHACA, NY — The Ithaca College campus will take on a decidedly blue hue on Monday, April 2, as the college participates in the global Light It Up Blue initiative for autism awareness. This is the third year for the campaign, sponsored by the advocacy organization Autism Speaks as part of World Autism Awareness Day.

On campus, the Dillingham Center for the Performing Arts and the Athletics and Events Center tower will be lit in blue — which also happens to be IC’s official color. Prominent landmarks worldwide that have taken part in the campaign include the Empire State Building, CN Tower in Toronto, Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, Niagara Falls and Sydney Opera House.

The college’s chapter of the national student organization Autism Speaks U will also conduct an awareness campaign, setting up a table in the Campus Center to provide information on autism as well as opportunities for other students to get involved. Throughout the week, they will hold a puzzle piece scavenger hunt, using social media to give out clues as to where the pieces are located on campus. Each student who brings a piece back to the table will be entered into a drawing to win a prize at the end of the week. Each of the pieces will fit into a large puzzle that will be displayed at the table.

The puzzle piece logo was first created in 1963 by the National Autistic Society as a way to represent the mystery and complexity of the disorder as well as the notion that those with autism have difficulty “fitting in.”

Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 110 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum — a 600 percent increase in the past two decades that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day to foster awareness and action with respect to the disorder.

For more information, contact Meredith Sager ’14, president of Autism Speaks U at Ithaca College, at