The Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team and Autism Speaks U are pairing up for their 3rd annual color run, which is happening Saturday, April 22.

Autism Speaks U is a program that was launched in 2008 that is designed to help college students in their awareness, advocacy and fundraising efforts for Autism Speaks. In its existence, the organization has raised over $7 million through student-organized events.

“We’ve done a lot for this year,” Ashley Smith said, who is the treasurer for Autism Speaks U on campus. “So far, we’ve had increasing numbers since our first color run two years ago, so we’re hoping for the same thing again this year.”

The campus-wide event is open to the entire public since the color run/walk is geared to raise money as well as awareness for Autism Speaks.

“Our job is to create awareness and fundraise money to help families with autism,” Smith said. “Not only that, but we also want to create a more diverse and accepting community that understands more about what autism actually is.”

Teaming up with the women’s soccer team is significant because not only does it bring the student-athlete body into a fundraising organization, but by mixing with other clubs and organizations on campus shows how the student-body of PSUC can come together for a great cause.

“This a huge event for all of us,” Smith said. “A lot of things on campus we don’t get the opportunity to bring sports and clubs together, so this is a great event that brings all groups together, as well as community members too.”

The women’s soccer team and Autism Speaks U have been planning this event since before the start of the year, which makes for this to be a well-organized event.

“Everybody has been so excited,” women’s soccer head coach Tania Armellino said. “For our group, it’s been fantastic being able to work along with such an involved group on campus.”

The first organized color run/walk drew only about 150 people; however, last year, the event saw more than 500 participants. This year, one can only expect that number to jump even more.

The women’s soccer team enjoys being a part of such a great cause and is looking forward to another great outcome.

“This is outside of soccer,” Armellino said. “As a coach, and seeing your own players put on an event outside of the game, an event like this, it’s really an amazing thing to be a part of.”

Armellino has prior experience helping organize fundraising events like this, but she gives a lot of credit to the students and her team for the commitment they have shown to being a community leader.

“Even though it is all off-the-field, we are still working together as a team,” Armellino said. “They have truly enjoyed it, and with last year being so successful, we have a good time.”

With the weather being as nice as it has been, it is a perfect time for an event like this. Not only is it an outdoor event, but the route of the run/walk will be along the Saranac River.

“It’s all about everybody enjoying themselves,” Armellino said. “It’s a great course along the river, so that is another thing that we are excited about.”

For the players that have helped organize and put the event to fruition, it has been an enjoyable process. Not only is it a fun activity, but it is also for a great cause, which the players have emphasized.

“Each year the turnout has gotten better and better,” junior midfielder Lisa Bueche said. “It’s for a great cause and is something that is really important. What’s most exciting is seeing the final product since we spend a lot of time organizing, so it’s nice to see it all come together.”

Despite it being called a run, the organizers encourage everyone to participate, regardless of your athletic ability, which has resulted in a lot of people walking it, which is just as good.

“There is no competitiveness, it’s all for the good of the cause,” Bueche said. “It’s all to show how the community can come together for a good cause.”

Tickets are still being sold at the Alumni College Center information desk, as well as online. The tickets are $5 for students, $10 for faculty and $15 for the general public. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22, with the run starting at 11 a.m.

Email Ezra Kachaturian at news@cardinalpointsonline.com

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