By Alyssa Mazey
The Beta Tau chapter of Alpha Xi Delta at Kent State University donated $36,333.24 to Autism Speaks from money raised at its annual Xi Man competition on Oct. 11, which incorporated facts about Alpha Xi Delta and autism into a five-minute skit and dance performance.
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading organization in autism research, and Alpha Xi Delta chapters across the nation have raised more than $1 million for Autism Speaks.
Two students from of College of Communication and Information worked closely with this philanthropic event – Alyssa Mazey and Justina Kennefick. Currently taking “Communication and Influence” in the School of Communication Studies, the pair was given a semester-long assignment to create a campaign that would influence people’s attitudes and behaviors. Since they were already involved with Autism Speaks, and it was their sorority’s national philanthropy, they decided this would be a perfect project.
Both Kennefick and Mazey are public communication majors and hold positions in the Beta Tau chapter of Alpha Xi Delta. Kennefick is the social media chair, while Mazey serves as the fundraising chair. They used the knowledge and resources of the chapter, previous classes they had taken and assistance from COMM Assistant Professor J.D. Ponder, Ph.D.
Kennefick controlled the Alpha Xi Delta Twitter page, posting information about the different events. Mazey planned and scheduled events which allowed people to fundraise.
“Raising money and awareness for such an amazing cause was easy when you’re doing something fun,” Mazey said. “We did multiple things each week leading up to Xi Man on Oct. 11.”
Individually, Kennefick raised more than $950 during summer break. She also coached a fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, with its dance routine and skit. Kennefick and the rest of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon coaches expressed their connection and emotional stories to Autism Speaks, which resulted in the men of the chapter raising more than $550.
Kennefick also sent a press release to Anne Dudley, the marketing coordinator for both the Schools of Communication Studies and Visual Communication Design, explaining the philanthropic event, the connection to Autism Speaks and the chapter’s goal of raising $30,000. Dudley posted an article on the School of Communication Studies’ website encouraging people to donate to the cause. Due to Kennefick’s motivation and dedication to Autism Speaks throughout the summer and the fall semester, her individual fundraising total was acknowledged when she helped the Xi Man team present the total amount raised on stage at the end of the event. Three other members also were asked to present the total because of their hard work, motivation and large monetary contribution.
“Most of my contributions to the event were backstage,” Mazey said. “I was in charge of setting up fundraising events, answering questions about fundraising and motivating the chapter to raise as much money as possible. My favorite fundraising opportunities were those that allowed the whole Greek and Kent State University community to come together.”
Mazey continued, “Without the support of the entire Kent State community, the Greek community and the sisters of Alpha Xi Delta, the $36,333.24 we raised and the amazing campaign that Kennefick and I organized would not have been possible. Everyone has a connection to autism spectrum disorders in some way, and it is an amazing feeling to know that so many people care.”