World AIDS Day Opens Eyes on Nation’s Campuses
From flash mobs in Indiana to jazz concerts in Minnesota, students used everything they could think of to raise awareness for the deadly AIDS epidemic on Dec. 1. Thousands around the globe recognized World AIDS Day, and students in the U.S. took a lead in organizing awareness, medical testing, and fundraising projects.
More than 33 million people worldwide are infected with HIV/AIDS, according to the Iowa Center for AIDS Research and Education.
“I think a lot of people know what AIDS is but not how to help the cause,” said University of Illinois Sophomore Melissa Peyton. Peyton was part of the event “Painting the Campus Red,” put on by student group Acting on AIDS.
At the University of Minnesota, student groups Infectious Disease Interest Group and the Students’ International Health Committee are sponsoring a week of lectures about the AIDS epidemic in Minnesota. They are going to wrap up the week with a jazz concert to raise money for Tiny Tim and Friends, an AIDS prevention and treatment group in Zambia run by a former U of M professor.
Other students focused on providing HIV/AIDS testing on campus. At the University of Kansas, students in the LGBT Resource Center brought the Douglas County AIDS Project to come test students for the disease.
Students in the University of Illinois group Acting on AIDS are doing a flash mob in a central location, and asking everyone they know to wear red t-shirts.
Other events took a more celebratory tone. Indiana University students gathered with local community members in a ballroom, complete with cupcakes and songs from “Rent” to help people realize that through raising awareness, they can triumph over the disease.
University of Iowa Senior Laura Henkle took the same tack in her AIDS work on campus.
“It’s important to increase the awareness on campus, and around the entire community, that we can do a whole of good with a small amount of money,” Henkle said.
Countless other events took place today on campuses from Boston to Oregon.
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