In response to staggering AIDs statistics, sophomores Kara Cooperrider, Matt Inbusch and Casey Emmett have established a chapter of the Student Global AIDS Campaign on campus, offering Colgate students a means to become actively involved in the fight against AIDS.
The Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC) is a national movement with more than 75 chapters at high schools, colleges and universities across the United States. SGAC is a nationwide student effort to end HIV and AIDS in the U.S. and around the world through education, informed advocacy, media work and direct action.
Cooperrider, Inbusch and Emmett recognized that many Colgate students are affected by the devastation AIDS is wreaking globally.
“It is becoming clearer and clearer that HIV/AIDS is THE crisis of today’s world,” Inbusch said. “We felt that we needed to do something at Colgate to help fight it. It is important that Colgate students get involved because, with the resources available to us here, we have a unique opportunity to make some real changes.”
With only three meetings held so far, SGAC has already actively started its fight against AIDS. Letters have been sent to Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton asking for her continued support of victims of the AIDS crisis. Members have also written AIDS statistics in chalk along campus paths to increase awareness and stress the immediacy of the action that needs to be taken.
Last week SGAC had a COOP table letter-writing campaign to get as many letters into Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s office as possible, urging him to support the U.S.’s proposed $840 million for the Global Fund this year.
The Global Fund is a partnership formed by governments of the developed and developing world that provide grants to service those suffering from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Such an amount of money could service many people suffering from AIDS around the world.
The campaign resulted in 200 letters. So many letters were signed that the SGAC could not send the letters directly to Frist and ended up sending them to the SGAC headquarters to be forwarded. Currently, the Colgate chapter is working to write the story of the success of the letter-writing campaign to send to other SGAC chapters.
Cooperrider, Inbusch and Emmett are committed to fighting AIDS and are enthusiastic as to what the Colgate chapter of SGAC can accomplish.
“I hope SGAC can achieve a lot of things,” Emmett said, “and I’m very serious about that. I think that the Colgate chapter, in particular, can tap a lot of resources and actually save a lot of lives. I honestly won’t be satisfied until that happens.”
In their last meeting, members brainstormed projects to tackle next. Some ideas are to create more awareness events around campus, a fundraising-geared formal, possibly in conjunction with World AIDS Day on December 1, and an event or series of events to further perpetuate the enthusiasm SGAC has created during the letter-writing campaign.
“All we specifically ask of our members is their time and genuine attempt to think outside the box,” Emmett said. “I think collectively we’re all aware of what’s going on in the world, but it’s just a matter of bringing this brainpower and enthusiasm together to really affect the world outside.”
SGAC meetings are held at 8:00 on Tuesdays in the COOP conference room.