Posted by: Autism Speaks | March 10, 2010

Ohio State University – Filling in OUR Piece of the Puzzle

The idea of a student chapter emerged following the record-breaking inaugural 2008 Columbus Walk Now for Autism event held at The Ohio State University. A very dedicated Walk committee member and university employee, Jessica Beauvais, began the process of recruiting student leaders and establishing an official student organization. The mission of this group is to engage the campus community (faculty, staff and students) through education, awareness, friendship and fundraising to positively affect the lives of those struggling with autism spectrum disorders.

With an energetic faculty advisor and student officers, the chapter held their first official monthly meeting in February 2009. The students invited leaders in the Columbus autism community, including developmental pediatricians, state representatives, parent advocates and ABA specialists, to speak to their group to learn how their efforts could make the largest impact for Central Ohio families affected by autism spectrum disorders.

The students quickly realized a void in connecting student interventionists with families who are in need of their services. They developed a group website where students post their interests in working with families and parents connect with these students to fulfill the behavioral interventions for their child.

The chapter was on a mission to heighten autism awareness at Ohio State, advocate for insurance reform in Ohio and raise funds for the Walk. The advertising, outreach and fundraising committees launched their efforts in April 2009 and held many awareness and fundraising events throughout the remainder of the year. Their goal was to raise $2,000 for their OSU Students Walk team for the 2009 Columbus Walk. Through t-shirt sales, ribbon sales, cosmetic parties, dorm awareness and fundraising the students tripled their goal with over $6,200 in only six months! They are among the top 15 teams in dollars raised for the 2009 Columbus Walk Now for Autism Speaks.

Led by president Julie Cecys, the students are hard at work developing their fundraising and awareness campaigns for April 2010, educating one Buckeye at a time. They are also looking forward to participating in Autism Speaks U and igniting a friendly fundraising competition among their Big 10 rivals.



  1. Yes!!! I am currently living in Zanesville, which is located about an hour from the city of Columbus. This makes me so happy to know that Ohio is becoming more aware, especially in the area of younger people and educating our youth to help, one person at a time. My friend is an advocate for the upcoming walk in Columbus and for the fundraising, and when she told me about it, I immediately told her that I wanted to do it… and I am so excited to be part of such a wonderful organization and to help in any way that I can. I wish I had the money to donate, but since I am just coming from being homeless myself, I unfortunately can’t help monetarily- but I want to donate as much time as possible and help raise money with my friend’s team (she is going to be our team leader) as possible. Good luck to everyone and I hope we can educate more of Ohio to this disease and help more of our nation’s children and their families from the suffering that this disease inevitably wracks upon them. I am very much looking forward to October 10th 2010!!

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