By Megan Greve
HIV/AIDS is a sobering topic. And one that more people need to educate themselves about if the world ever hopes to end the epidemic that claims more than 5,000 lives each day.
This year's Manasseh Cutler scholars and Templeton scholars want to do their part with those educational efforts.
Students in the two scholars programs have collaborated all quarter to learn more about HIV/AIDS. They gathered for bi-weekly colloquia to discuss various aspects of the epidemic and also attended an AIDS symposium at Athens' Diagnostic Hybrids Inc.
On Friday, they want to bring HIV/AIDS issues to the attention of a broader audience with a benefit concert dubbed Rock for Red. The concert, which begins at 8 p.m. at Buffalo Wild Wings, 23 W. Union St., will feature four Ohio music groups: RED ARMY, Grade School, Empire Drift and Jesty Beatz. In addition, the benefit will include educational segments presented by four Ohio University experts involved in HIV/AIDS research.
"We thought this would be a fun way to get people involved ... who otherwise might not come to just hear about HIV and AIDS," said Jordan Templeton, a junior Cutler scholar. "(Audience members) get to listen to great music and learn something at the same time."
Proceeds will go to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (www.aidsalliance.org), a global partnership of nationally based organizations in 40 countries. The alliance supports community AIDS efforts in developing countries and focus on a broad range of initiatives, including policy analysis, advocacy, education and fundraising.
"(The students) wanted a group that actually did try to make the lives of people with HIV/AIDS better, rather than just do research," said Butch Hill, director of the Cutler Scholars Program. "The alliance is a very large organization that affects a wide geographical area."
The benefit will include short talks by four HIV/AIDS experts in hopes that their research and experiences will promote discussion and awareness among concertgoers:
- Tania Basta, an assistant professor of community health services, will speak about the AIDS epidemic among young people and her work in Atlanta and Kenya.
- Mark Sutton, project manager in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, will talk about AIDS in older adults in Appalachia.
- Anthony Sallar, assistant professor of community health services, will speak about African countries' policies regarding AIDS.
- Mandi Chikombero, assistant professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies, will discuss her work with non-governmental organizations in Botswana and elsewhere in Africa.
In addition to the experts, student groups whose activities intersect with solving the AIDS epidemic are welcome to take the microphone and promote their cause and other events.
"We thought Rock for Red would be something that would be more interactive that we could open up to the entire university community," said Mary Smith, a sophomore Templeton Scholar.
The Cutler Scholars Program is a privately endowed, merit-based scholarship for high-achieving students with leadership potential. The Templeton Scholars Program is a competitive merit-based scholarship for high-achieving students from underrepresented groups.
The students planned Friday's event as a way to disseminate to the broader community information they have been discussing all quarter. This is not the first collaboration between the Cutler and Templeton scholars. Last spring, the groups co-sponsored a forum that examined race relations on campus.
Gina Beach contributed
to this article.