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March 20, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab


SRU joins ‘Light It Up Blue’

autism awareness project


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – New York City’s Empire State Building, Stock Exchange and Rockefeller Center, the Sydney, Australia, Opera House, Canada’s CN Tower and Niagara Falls, the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China, the Cairo Tower in Egypt, the Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia and pine trees in Slippery Rock’s Veteran’s Park all have something in common: All will turn blue at dusk April 2 in observance of Light It Up Blue, part of World Autism Awareness Month.

“Blue is the color that represents autism and is the dominant color in the autism puzzle, so we are lighting things up blue,” said Kathleen Strickland, dean of Slippery Rock University’s College of Education, who is organizing the local observance.

“This is the third observance of a unique global initiative to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism,” she said.

“Our program, which will start about 7:45 p.m., will involve adding blue lights to the park’s trees and a few words from me about autism and the importance of understanding the autism spectrum and what people on the spectrum can bring to the community and society.”

Ryan Campbell, a student at Slippery Rock Middle School, Strickland’s grandson and a young man with autism, will throw the switch to turn on Slippery Rock’s blue lights. Program participants will be given blue glow sticks to crack as part of the program. The park’s blue lights will remain on throughout the month as a reminder of autism.

The worldwide program, organized by Autism Speaks, has made arrangements with iconic landmarks to join the program. The organization asks everyone to join in the awareness raising project by placing a blue light bulb in their porch lights.

            As part of the month’s activities, SRU’s student chapter of the Council for Exception Children is organizing an Autism Awareness Walk from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 15, in Morrow Field House. Those joining the walk are asked to solicit pledges from friends and relatives with proceeds going to Parents in Toto Autism Resource Center in Zelienople. Food, live music and an auction will be part of the day’s activities.

            In a related project, a contingent of 300 people from Slippery Rock will join the June 9 Walk Now for Autism Speaks project at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The walk is dedicated to changing the future for those who struggle with autism.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives. -