Students walk to save lives at Miami Dade College during Aids Awareness Week
Students participating in the College’s annual AIDS Walk
Miami, November 30, 2007 - More than 200 students, administrators and faculty gathered by the lake at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) North Campus on Friday, Nov. 30 to recognize World Aids Day on Dec. 1, and to participate in the College’s annual AIDS Walk to help fight an illness claiming the lives of 40,000 Americans every year.
“As a college, we are committed to raising awareness as well as fighting this worldwide pandemic through education,” said North Campus President José Vicente. “There was a time when AIDS was relegated to a four-letter word no one dared utter. Today, our hope is to turn that into an open dialogue.”
Sheila Bovil, a 26-year-old medical lab technician student, signed up for the second annual AIDS Walk in honor of close ones.
“I have some friends who have AIDS, so I wanted to show my support,” said Bovil after walking. “I’m just tired of the disease killing people.”
The walk culminated the College’s AIDS Awareness Week, which was fully organized and funded by the Student Government Association (SGA) at the North Campus. Those who participated received a free t-shirt with the words Stop AIDS, Get Educated printed on the shirt, red ribbons, snacks, water, contraceptives and educational materials about AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases.
Other events throughout the week included a panel discussion with medical professionals and HIV/AIDS victims, trivia games to test students’ knowledge of the disease and guest speakers, among other activities.
Last year, the North Campus SGA won an award for Best Community Service Project from the Florida Community College Student Government Association District One for launching the week-long commemoration.
“We are trying to take a more preventive approach by helping to educate people,” said Jessica Mondestin, public relations director for the North Campus SGA and chair of the AIDS Committee.
As classes ended, students trickled in to support the cause. They carried signs with messages, such as “Silence is Death” and “What You Don’t Know, Will Kill You.”
Richie Levasseur, 32, was eager to join the walk. The Haiti native is attending the College’s nationally-recognized criminal justice program.
“It’s good to be part of progress,” he said. “It’s good to participate in something that motivates students to be active in the community.”
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, firstname.lastname@example.org, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949, email@example.com, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, firstname.lastname@example.org, media specialist