by Geoff Larcom, Published March 29, 2012
YPSILANTI – Members of the community are invited to join Eastern Michigan University students, faculty and staff for a special ceremony that will light up one of Washtenaw County's most noteworthy landmarks on Monday, April 2.
The Ypsilanti Water Tower will be lit up in blue from dusk to midnight as part of "Light It Up Blue," a worldwide autism awareness campaign that runs through the month of April.
In addition, EMU will display a special blue message on its external digital boards.
Members of the EMU community are urged to wear blue on this special day. And you can get a blue keychain and flashlight if you come by the EMU Student Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 2.
When the water tower turns blue, it will be joining a long list of historic buildings and structures that have participated in the three-year-old national campaign, such as the Empire State Building in New York, Christ The Redeemer in Brazil, and Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada.
Community members are also invited on their own to "Light It Up Blue," to help shine a light on autism. Whether it's your front porch or your local city hall, an office party or a banquet, the whole world is going blue to increase awareness about autism.
"Light It Up Blue" is a global initiative to raise awareness about the growing public health concern of autism. For more information on the initiative, see http://www.lightitupblue.org/Markslist/home.do
The event also spotlights EMU's own special facility, the Autism Collaborative Center, which was opened in October 2009. The center is a resource to numerous families dealing with autism throughout southeast Michigan.
Children with autism often have a difficult time being properly diagnosed or receiving therapy.
Eastern's autism center, which is nonprofit, offers a team of professionals and well-trained students from various departments, and services ranging from music therapy and occupational therapy to speech therapy and dietetics. Sibling support groups and summer camps are also available.
For more information on EMU's Light It Up Blue event, see the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJKxvEFq-8c Also, you can call Ted Coutilish at 734-487-2483.
For information about the center, see the website at http://www.emich.edu/acc/ or call the Autism Collaboration Center at 734-485-2890.