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UWA's Kappa Delta Pi chapter will host 'Light Up the Loop for Autism'

Light Up the Loop for Autism advertisement.

Story: Phillip Tutor

Students in the Kappa Delta Pi international education honor society are using spring’s rebirth on the University of West Alabama campus to serve the community and raise money for a worthwhile cause.

UWA’s Kappa Delta Pi members on April 6 will host Light Up the Loop for Autism, an outdoor walking event whose proceeds will go to the Alabama Department of Health’s Regional Autism Network. Participants will be invited to stroll together along the familiar paths of UWA’s campus to raise both awareness and money for research and support.

The event, which is open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. on the lawn of the Wallace Student Union Building and will take walkers near Tartt Field, the university’s police station, Tiger Stadium and University Charter School and finish at the SUB lawn. Participants can walk the entire loop, roughly 2.3 miles, half of the loop or none if they prefer. Forms for registration and payment of the $10 entrance fee are available online. The T-shirt presale has closed, but extras may be for sale at the event.

Light Up the Loop for Autism is a signature service-based event for UWA’s Kappa Delta Pi chapter. Active membership in the honor society requires annual service hours and participation in the chapter’s service project. UWA’s KDP members in recent weeks have volunteered for a literacy night at University Charter School and spruced up its playground, said Dr. Courtney Vick, assistant professor of elementary education and a co-advisor of UWA’s chapter.

The education honor society’s website, Vick explains, details the importance of leadership and service for its members. “And so every year we have to plan a service project, and this is one we have done years before and just kind of started it back this year,” she said.

This year’s Light Up the Loop for Autism is the fifth held at UWA and the first since 2019. Vick credited the interest of Dr. Kim Griffith, also a co-advisor of the university’s KDP chapter, and Sunny Chambless, a former staff member of UWA’s College of Education, for the birth of the event.

“Griffith is a special-ed professor here, and so she had a lot of experience, and we have a lot of students who are in the classroom with students who have autism,” Vick said. “And so we felt like this was something we could support.”