The year-old Wittenberg chapter of the national organization called Student Global AIDS Campaign, started last year by Liz Asta of Millbury, Mass., class of 2006, hosted its biggest event to date on Thursday, Dec. 1, in the Center Dining Room (CDR) of the Benham-Pence Student Center. The event, called Battle AIDS, featured five Wittenberg-based musical groups and attracted a capacity crowd of students, faculty, staff and other members of the Wittenberg community.
IMANI Gospel Choir, the women’s a cappella group Just Eve, faculty rock group WittFREE, the men’s a cappella group Wittmen Crew and independent musician Kevin Luce of Dublin, Ohio, class of 2006, all made musical contributions and read prepared statements that included jarring statistics about the AIDS epidemic and its dramatic impact on the world. Battle AIDS was intended to raise awareness instead of funds, although a donation jar was available at a table with literature about AIDS issues.
Erin Robinson of Lexington, Ky., class of 2007, vice president of the Wittenberg chapter of Student Global AIDS Campaign, said the event met the goals organizers had established. Co-sponsored by the class of 2007 and Concerned Black Students, Battle AIDS presented a message in lockstep with the international 2005 World AIDS Day theme “Keep The Promise.”
A video produced by the national Student Global AIDS Campaign called “Hope To Fight For” was shown between two of the musical performances. Robinson said the pictures were intense and moving, showing that even though the number of AIDS cases in the United States and other industrialized nations has declined in recent years, millions of people around the world continue to suffer from its devastating effects.
“The video presented such a powerful message,” Robinson said. “It informed us about what’s being done around the world to combat the AIDS virus.
“It was touching but not depressing — it gave a message of hope. It was empowering and made me feel like I had a personal obligation to battle AIDS.”
Wittmen Crew was the evening’s final performer, and after the last song, a prepared statement was solemnly read: “There will be a day when there is no such thing as the AIDS virus.”
At the end of the night, organizers passed out yellow strips of paper on which students were asked to write down what they were going to do to fulfill a personal role in combating AIDS. Those yellow strips of paper, which include plans to pray, join Student Global AIDS Campaign, wear AIDS ribbons and give money to charity, will be made into a chain and hung in the student center as a reminder of the ongoing AIDS crisis.
The event lasted nearly an hour, and admission was free. An attendance count was not taken, but the facility was almost completely filled by members of the Wittenberg community, including President Mark Erickson.
- Ryan Maurer
• Student Global AIDS Campaign
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