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University News

Celebrating Their Success: Savannah Ruotola ’21

Savannah Ruotola '21

The Class of 2021 graduates are all about the business of breaking barriers, challenging norms, and disrupting old ways of doing things. We salute their success and are proud to share a few of their stories.

Savannah Ruotola ’21, a marketing major, knows what it means to put the Mercy core values into action—especially compassion—even before graduation. She and her siblings are triplets, and both her brother and sister have autism. Helping the world better understand the autism spectrum and how families thrive in the face of related challenges was the focus of an Instagram campaign she launched in April 2021.

The effort, part of Savannah’s GEN400 service-learning requirement, introduced the world to @TripsAutismAwareness. The social media series of posts, pictures, and infographics were created for sharing beyond Autism Awareness Month.

“Most people put up the blue light bulbs and wear the ribbon, but they’re not really looking into it all that much,” says Savannah, who is also a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council in the School of Business and Digital Media.

A Different Way of Thinking

Most projects for GEN400 involve going out to the community and giving back by volunteering, but the global pandemic made it almost impossible to do so. At first, Savannah was unsure what she was going to do for her project but was eventually inspired by her brother and sister. As triplets, she and her siblings would often be referred to as the “trips,” which is why she titled her project “Trips Autism Awareness.”

Opening Up for a Cause

Her project also represented a leap of faith, as she opened up her personal life for a very public cause.

“I decided to harness the power of social media. It’s something I tend to keep a little bit more private, but I’m ready to introduce everybody to my family, my life, and so on.” 

“I hope to inspire people by sharing a piece of myself and sharing my family with everybody,” adds Savannah. “I want to inspire them to maybe get involved with different organizations and learn a little bit more about autism that they may not have known before.”

Story contributed by Georgian Court University digital communication major Alycia Bardon 22. Photo by Russ DeSantis.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,200 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 14 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by Money.com and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at HazletGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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