Mesa clubs join forces to raise AIDS awarness in Africa
April 17, 2007
Filed under News
Signs posting statistics of the AIDS pandemic were visible while walking throughout the Mesa campus from April 9 to April 13. Various clubs came together to host a tent hoping to raise AIDS awareness.
The tent was located outside the Mesa Bookstore and open to the public, free of charge. Hosted by the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and World Vision, with co sponsors including the Women’s Club, Black Student Union, Muslim Student Association and the Honors Society, the tent was a large campus event. The club members stressed ways that students and the community can help the cause through personal time, a donation of their finances and gifts.
Alan Sun, a Mesa student and one of the event coordinators, estimated an approximate 130 students visited the tent on April 10. Funds were raised with the sale of bright orange “Impact1″ T-shirts for $5 and hats for $10, a donation box located outside the tent and opportunities to sponsor African children. A goal to accumulate $1,500 was set for the event.
“We are wanting to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic,” said Sun. “Raising (awareness) in terms of acknowledgment that they have the power to change the world, Impact1, one life can impact the world.”
During classes, the line to enter the tent had a wait of approximately 10 to 15 minutes. In between classes, however, waiting time could run up to an hour.
Approaching the entrance, students were handed Mp3 players, mock nametags and guest information forms. One of the three various paths to walk through were chosen for each guest by one of the AIDS Tent volunteers.
Once inside the tent, decorations consisting of bamboo, wooden mats, door beads and various African artifacts were displayed. The Mp3 player began with an introduction educating the guest with current AIDS statistics, orphan rates, starvation statistics and information on the particular country in Africa the guest would be “visiting” during the walk.
During the walk through the tent, guests were educated on the particular person’s path they were chosen to visit. The life story, hardships, and typical African lifestyle were described on the Mp3 player. Each one of the three paths to walk through were all true stories from real people living in Africa.
Guests followed through a journey where they would become that person and walk as if they were in their shoes. One woman, who was one of the routes to walk, will be sharing her story in person May 23 at 8 p.m. on the UCSD campus.
The curtain patrician, called the “Chapel,” was strung with pictures of African citizens who have been killed by the AIDS virus, each stamped with a large red HIV positive symbol.
After an estimated 15 minutes to complete the walk through the tent, guests were then led to the end of their destination, the mock Health Clinic. Once there, patrons held out their hands and were stamped with either a positive or negative sign, representing an HIV test.
After completion, an area to display personal messages or prayers was available for the guests along with a bead wall to create a memoir for their visit.
“Reactions from students are pretty intense, it is an eye-opening experience,” said Hafsha Mohamed, member of the Women’s Union and Mesa student. “It is a great thing to bring on campus to allow people to become more aware.”
Sun said there were a variety of reactions from the students. Some reacted insightfully, thoughtfully, distressingly and some students were not sure how to feel and left the tent feeling overwhelmed.