Friday, November 18, 2005

Fairmont State is sponsoring activities on campus in observance of World AIDS Day, which is Thursday, Dec. 1.

To help increase awareness of the global AIDS problem, FS Student Government will host a World AIDS Day table from Monday, Nov. 28, through Thursday, Dec. 1, to offer information and the opportunity to purchase a red World AIDS Day bracelet for $2. The table will be located on the second floor of the Falcon Center in front of the new Student Government office. Those who purchase a bracelet will also receive a red AIDS Day Ribbon, which may be hung on a special tree in the Falcon Center to honor those affected and those who have died due to HIV/AIDS.

All money collected from the bracelets will go to Caritas House in Morgantown. Caritas House is a United Way agency that focuses on offering advocacy, case management, prevention education, community and nursing outreach, transitional housing and volunteer and supportive services in order that people with HIV/AIDS become empowered to improve their health and quality of living.

"We ask that you join us in helping share knowledge about the devastation and loss that AIDS can create among our communities," said Shane Livingston, Student Government President.

Started in 1988, World AIDS Day is about more than fund-raising; it's also about increasing awareness, education and fighting prejudice.

"World AIDS Day reminds people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done," said Laurie Johnston, Director of Student Activities.

"An estimated 1,400 individuals in West Virginia are infected with HIV. It is estimated that there are more than 850,000 HIV positive individuals living in the U.S. Worldwide, a total of more than 60 million people have been infected with HIV. AIDS kills more than 8,000 people every day. About half of all people who become infected with HIV are infected before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35. It is important that we do everything in our power to educate and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS on our campus, in our homes, our communities, in our state and around the world."

Fairmont State will participate in a Day of Silence on Thursday, Dec. 1, to demonstrate the impact of HIV/AIDS in the world. The campus and local community are invited to participate by staying silent for the day and wearing black to honor those who are struggling in their fight against AIDS and those who have lost their battle with AIDS. At the Student Government table in the Falcon Center, Silence Cards will be given away. The cards outline how to participate in the Day of Silence. The community will come together to break the silence at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 during a Candlelight Vigil. The vigil will be held outside the front entrance to the Falcon Center. (In the case of inclement weather, the event will be moved to the second floor of the Falcon Center in the Main Street area.) The short ceremony will honor and remember the victims of HIV/AIDS.

Also on Dec. 1, the FSU School of Fine Arts is sponsoring a "Day Without Art" to commemorate the lives of artists who have fallen in the struggle to fight AIDS. On that day, art work in the galleries of Wallman Hall will be covered so that the gallery is "dark."

World AIDS Day events on campus are sponsored by the FS Student Government, the Office of Residence Life, the FSU School of Fine Arts and Caritas House. For more information on how to participate, call the Office of Student Activities at (304) 367-4705.