AIDS Week ends on campus, students march for awareness

Tim Magaw

As a group of about 25 students marched through the Hub Friday night, students looked up from their A&W hamburgers and Quizno’s subs to see what was happening.

The marchers, huddled together with a large red ribbon wrapped around them, walked through the Hub with signs that read, “A red ribbon is never enough” and “Abstinence is not a cure.”

The march was the culmination of Worlds AIDS Week, coordinator Sarah Hallsky said.

“We think it motivates people to be active,” she said, adding that the march is also a tribute to those people with HIV/AIDS.

As the students exited the Hub and walked toward Olson and Bowman Halls, the wind gusted through the large ribbon, sending shivers through the group. The marchers, chatting among themselves, soon started chanting, “Spread action, not AIDS.”

The group marched down near Oscar Ritchie Hall and White Hall chanting “Silence equals death.” As the marchers neared the Army ROTC building, the group broke out yelling “Fight AIDS, not war.”

Drivers stopped at the traffic light on the corner of Terrace Drive and East Main Street turned their heads to view the oncoming marchers. One white pickup truck honked, and the marchers cheered and raised their hands.

The march ended at the edge of campus on the corner of East Main and South Lincoln streets, and the students crowded inside Starbucks to warm up and drink some free coffee.

Hallsky said Starbucks has a corporate program that donates $10 for every hour an employee or customer volunteers. She said with all the work that went into World AIDS Week, volunteers raised $1,000, the maximum donation. The money raised will be donated to Violet’s Cupboard, an Akron-area organization serving people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

“I’m just really pleased,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier. I’m proud of everyone.”

Junior education major Ted Trimm said he participated in the march because, after a person loses somebody to HIV/AIDS, it’s important to be as involved as possible. Trimm said one of his friends was born HIV positive and died three years ago. He said the experience was hard to get through.

“People just need to be aware because (HIV/AIDS) is out there,” Trimm said. “You have to learn to protect yourself.”

Patrice DeLeon, senior history major and member of the World AIDS Week planning committee, said it was important to educate people about what’s going with HIV/AIDS.

“I think it’s important to bring AIDS awareness,” she said. “Education on AIDS prevention is important, especially to college students.”

DeLeon said the cold weather didn’t distract her from participating.

“It was cold,” she said. “But it was worth it for people to drive by and people on campus to see what we were doing.”

Katie Dougans, sophomore international relations major, said she participated in the march because she wants to save the world.

“Your voice has to be heard and silence can kill,” she said.

Contact ethnic affairs reporter Tim Magaw at [email protected].