by Kara Blizzard
Today is the twentieth anniversary of World AIDS Day. Each year on December 1st individuals and groups around the world hold events to raise awareness about the illness. For the past few years, the student club Augustana Against AIDS (AAA) has been commemorating World AIDS Day by holding various events in Camrose. In 2007 the date fell on a weekend, so AAA members and other Augustana students spent the day at Camrose Composite High School. There was a silent auction, a t-shirt and bake sale, and movie-watching. In the evening, a few bands played for the crowd of students.
This year AAA has planned a couple of new events for World AIDS Day. Last night there was a dodgeball tournament in the Augustana Gym, for which prizes included gift certificates for local venues. The group has also collaborated with the Augustana Fine Arts Club to organize a set of dramatic monologues based on AIDS stories. The monologues will be performed on campus in between classes today. Tonight at seven o’clock there will be a prayer vigil in the chapel, and from 8-10 p.m. the group will host an Open Mic Night in the Coffee House, featuring local band Last Stand.
AAA has held a few fundraiser events already this school year, and according to Vice President Amy Wilhelm they have been very successful. In October the group held a bottle drive, for which members travelled throughout Camrose collecting recyclables. They even got several businesses to donate their bottle collections. In mid-November the club participated in Augustana Chaplaincy’s annual Fair Trade Sale by selling handmade jewellery.
This year, says Amy, “we’re really focused on making sure the campus is aware, and on supporting our orphanage in Swaziland.” For the past couple of years, AAA has sponsored an orphanage in Manzini, a market town in Swaziland. Proceeds from the club’s fundraisers go to support the orphanage. AAA’s plans for the second semester are still tentative, but they may include a book drive. To find out about future events, look for posters on campus or join the Augustana Against AIDS group on facebook.