By Sydney Shaw
It was a night of firsts for the sisters of Alpha Xi Delta (AXiD) as they raised money and awareness to support Autism Speaks on Thursday, Nov. 19, — one plate of pasta at a time.
“Xiti with the Xis,” the sorority’s first annual all-you-can-eat pasta buffet, was the culmination of a week-long effort to support Autism Speaks, an organization that raises awareness for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
“Since it was our first event, there was a lot of things I needed to learn before I started,” said junior psychology major Kajal Patel, the organizer of the philanthropic event.
“With the help of the other sororities on campus, I was able to learn some of the ins and outs of planning,” Patel said. “The actual planning just entailed a lot of busy work — when to print tickets, the graphic we wanted designed, the food we wanted to serve, the amount of food and the ingredients we would need, how many people we would like to feed, etc.”
Throughout the night, the sisters brought hot trays of fresh-baked ziti to room 212 of the Education Building, along with caesar salad, Italian bread and a wide array of desserts, such as cupcakes, cake pops and brownies. Tickets for the buffet were $5 from a sister and $7 at the door.
“We, as a sorority, help to raise money for them by participating in the AmaXing Challenge and other philanthropy events (such as) ‘Xiti with the Xis,’” Patel said. “We also participate in the program in April called ‘Light it Up Blue’ and we participate in their Walk Now for Autism all around the country.”
The sisters also unveiled their wooden letters for the first time, marking an important milestone in the history of the young chapter. The letters are light blue, dark blue and gold, keeping with the colors of the national sorority.
“This is the first time even some of the members have seen our letters,” said Chrissy Paolini, the sorority’s Chapter Life vice president and a senior special education and iSTEM dual major. “It means a lot to unveil them at our first real philanthropy event.”
On Monday, Nov. 16, AXiD celebrated its National Philanthropy Day with a Piccolo Trattoria fundraiser. People were invited to grab some food at the restaurant, with a percentage of the restaurant’s proceeds donated to Autism Speaks.
In the Brower Student Center, sisters gave out free hot chocolate and Hershey’s Kisses as they provided students with facts about Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Proceeds from the sorority’s bake sale on Tuesday, Nov. 17, were donated to Autism Speaks.
“Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization benefiting individuals with autism and their families,” Patel said.
Patel’s hard work did not go unnoticed by her sisters.
“A lot of work went into the event. It was our first philanthropy event, so just learning the ropes on really what went into an event like this was hard to do,” junior sociology major Kathleen McIlraith said. “It was awesome to see how well Kajal was at organizing everyone. Probably the biggest thing was getting all of us organized… there were a lot of Google docs involved.”
Ultimately, McIlraith said she was happy to see such a big turnout at Xiti with the Xis.
“It’s just great to see how many people came to the event and took an interest in helping us to benefit Autism Speaks,” she said. “To have a lot of love and support from the TCNJ community was great. It certainly helped put us in the right direction for next semester, (which is) our bigger semester for philanthropy stuff.
“We totally still have a lot more work to do, but we’re bringing awareness to the TCNJ community and beyond and that’s really our goal.”