Kaplan University students have established the first-ever online
chapter of Autism Speaks U to support Autism Speaks, North America's
largest autism science and advocacy organization. The Autism Speaks U
Kaplan University chapter includes members from all over the country who
work together using a unique e-board format to host virtual meetings and
online events as well as traditional tactics for raising awareness and
funds to support the organization.
According to Patti Pelletier, academic chair for the Kaplan University
Department of Educational Studies and one of the founding administrators
for Autism Speaks U Chapter Kaplan University Online, the interest among
students across the virtual campus has exceeded expectations. To date,
the chapter has assembled 115 members and raised almost $3,000 since its
launch in September.
"The rapid success of this landmark online chapter of Autism Speaks U is
a testament to the passion our students hold for individuals impacted by
autism including their families," said Pelletier. "Kaplan University
strives to provide all of our students with experiences that prepare
them for careers in the fields they study-not just in the classroom, but
in the real world."
The Autism Speaks U Kaplan University chapter has continued efforts to
support those impacted by autism since the group was formed this fall.
The e-board of students, all from the College of Arts & Sciences, which
is part of the newly established Kaplan University College
of Public Service, is planning additional fundraising efforts, such
as, bake sales and Walk Now for Autism on some of Kaplan's physical
campus locations. According to Pelletier, the chapter will also focus on
increasing autism awareness through the creation of a book club and
special social media programming.
"We are thrilled to have Autism Speaks U Kaplan University establish the
first online collegiate chapter," said Sarah Caminker, development
manager for Autism Speaks U. "We look forward to seeing their efforts
grow and inspire students and faculty across the country to raise
awareness, compassion and hope for the autism community."
For more information about Autism Speak U Kaplan University Online,
Membership is open to any interested student from Kaplan University.
Launched in 2008, Autism Speaks U, an initiative of Autism Speaks, is
designed to support college students, alumni and faculty in their
awareness, advocacy and fundraising efforts. Student-organized events
can range from hosting a 5K run, benefit concert, eating contest, panel
on autism and more. While many of the students involved with Autism
Speaks U have a personal connection to autism, oters not directly
affected have also joined the program to support the cause.
Since its inaugural event at Penn State University in 2006, Autism
Speaks U events have raised over $1 million and student-organized Walk
Now for Autism Speaks teams have brought in millions more. Autism Speaks
U events and chapters exist at colleges and universities across the
country including Penn State University, University of California,
Berkeley, Cornell University, University of Michigan, Ohio State
University, University of Connecticut, Duke University, Northwestern
University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
College students, faculty and alumni can get involved with Autism Speaks
U by visiting AutismSpeaks.org/U.
About Kaplan University
Kaplan University offers a different school of thought for higher
education. It strives to help adult students unlock their talent by
providing a practical, student-centered education that prepares them for
careers in some of the fastest-growing industries. The University, which
has its main campus in Davenport, Iowa, and its headquarters in Chicago,
is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (www.ncahlc.org)
and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and
Schools. Kaplan University serves nearly 50,000 online and campus-based
students. The University has 11 campuses in Iowa, Nebraska, Maryland and
Maine, and Kaplan University Learning Centers in
Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Florida.
Kaplan University is one of Kaplan, Inc.'s higher education
institutions, which serve approximately 73,000 students online and
through approximately 70 campus-based schools across the United States.
Kaplan's higher education schools offer a spectrum of academic
opportunities, from certificates and diplomas to graduate and
professional degrees, including a juris doctor degree. Kaplan, Inc. is a
leading international provider of educational and career services for
individuals, schools and businesses. It is a subsidiary of The
Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO), and its largest division. For more
information, visit http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu today.
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's
ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often
accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are
diagnosed in 1 in 88 children in the United States, affecting four times
as many boys as girls. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have
called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure
ABOUT AUTISM SPEAKS
Autism Speaks is North America's largest autism science and advocacy
organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made
enormous strides, committing over $173 million to research and
developing innovative new resources for families. The organization is
dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments
and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum
disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and
their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks also
supports the Autism Treatment Network, Autism Genetic Resource Exchange
and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness
initiatives include the establishment of the annual United
Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and an
award-winning "Learn the Signs" campaign with the Ad Council which has
received over $249 million in donated media. Autism Speaks family
resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for
newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit and a community
grant program. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing
federal legislation to advance the government's response to autism, and
has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral
treatments. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are
held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about
Autism Speaks, please visit autismspeaks.org.
ABOUT AUTISM SPEAKS CO-FOUNDERS
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright,
the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at
Lee Equity Partners, Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic
Association and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief e-
officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also
serves on the boards of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, RAND
Corporation and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright has
an extensive history of active involvement in community and
philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children. She
serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and is also
Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has
received numerous awards such as the CHILD Magazine Children's Champions
Award, Luella Bennack Volunteer Award, Spirit of Achievement award by
the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's National Women's Division and
the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2008, the Wrights were named to
the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world for
their commitment to global autism advocacy.
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