In concurrence with Autism Awareness Month, students hosted a Scrabble marathon to raise money and shed light on the mental disorder.
Scrabble Club and Autism Speaks U sponsored the event, which drew 10 students who played the board game for 20 hours straight to raise $1,100.
Alexander Tannenbaum, the president of Scrabble Club and a junior majoring in computer science, said the group decided to forgo its annual tournament, opting to hold a marathon fundraiser instead.
“I have always been an advocate for Autism Awareness and Acceptance so with Autism Awareness Month coming up in April, I decided to contact the Autism Speaks chapter on campus,” Tannenbaum wrote in an email.
Autism affects brain development as well as social and communication skills. Tannenbaum said that he felt autism in particular is an issue that is often overlooked by society.
“My goal was to celebrate Autism Awareness Month because it is a cause that I support that I feel needs to get more attention,” he wrote.
The groups originally planned to hold the event for 26.21875 hours, the exact length of a marathon in miles. However, the event ended six hours early, as the players reached their goal of 40,000 cumulative points in Scrabble.
The fundraiser received donations for the number of points players accumulated throughout the marathon. Donations went to Autism Speaks, and they are still accepting donations throughout the month.
Despite a smaller turnout than expected, Tannenbaum said he considered the event a victory for the cause.
“I felt the event was a success because we raised money and awareness for Autism Awareness Month which was the ultimate goal,” he wrote in an email.
Along with raising awareness, Tannenbaum said he wanted to quell misconceptions related to the disorder.
“I want people to understand that Autistic is not an insult or a problem,” Tannenbaum wrote. “It is just something that makes a person different, not better or worse.”