Shelby Lubienski/MJ

By TERRY LAKINS, Student Life Editor

Autism Speaks U held the Light It Up Blue event on April 6 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the University Center stage.

This nationwide event was held to raise awareness for autism by wearing blue and having windows covered in blue cellophane.

Members running the booth sold t-shirts to support the event and passed out blue glow sticks and goody bags filled with information on autism. They also had an interactive puzzle piece banner, where students were encouraged to assemble a cut up banner that says “light up blue” and write a message relating to autism on the banner itself.

Amal Khalyleh, the event’s coordinator, said this one of the most important events related to autism.

“The same way pink raises breast cancer awareness, blue raises autism awareness,” Khalyleh said. “Autism has become very common, whether the individual is higher or lower functioning. It’s something everyone should be aware of and it’s likely you could have a family member or friend who is on the autism spectrum.”

Majd Mokbel, the co-president of Autism Speaks U, said being a part of this event was personal because of his experience working with kids at the Burger School for Students with Autism in Inkster, Michigan.

Mokbel said one particular experience he had was meeting a child with autism who would bump heads as a way of saying “hello.” Mokbel said he learned that with autism, not speaking isn’t the same as not communicating, and that the spectrum goes beyond a common stereotype.

“It’s not just one diagnosis or characteristic that defines autism,” Mokbel said. “There is a variety of aspects that defines autism.”

Bahija Bazzi, the president of Autism Speaks U, said the event means more than just raising awareness for autism. Bazzi said he feels that this event is for honoring the people with autism, whether or not they overcame it.

“Even though I may not understand their pain, I know they want to feel loved and accepted just as we all do,” Bazzi said.