Committee to unveil GW’s AIDS memorial quilt at Spring Fling

GW’s AIDS Awareness Committee brought a host of activities to campus every day this week to raise awareness about the deadly disease.

The week began with a community service project Saturday and the activities continued Sunday at the Thurston Block Party. AIDS Awareness Committee member Jeff Marootian said more than 140 students used construction paper and markers to make patches for a GW AIDS quilt. Marootian said the committee is piecing together the quilt and will possibly display it at Spring Fling Saturday. Pieces of the D.C. portion of the national AIDS memorial quilt are on display around campus throughout the week.

Workers from the Whitman-Walker Clinic were on campus Tuesday conducting anonymous AIDS tests. Jason Franklin, a member of the AIDS Awareness Committee, said organizers added an additional testing session to accommodate the large number of students who wanted to be tested. He said some people arrived too late to get tested.

“It’s an hour and a half long process because they provide information and do an educational presentation in addition to the actual test,” committee member Geoff Schuman said. Anyone who didn’t get tested Tuesday can be tested at Whitman-Walker.

The committee also hosted a panel discussion entitled “Youth and AIDS” Tuesday. The event drew only a handful of students, but organizers said they do not think it was a reflection of student concerns.

“There has been an increase in the number of requests for safer sex education through the peer educators,” Schuman said. “I think the turnout was low because we had another event today, and it’s the end of the semester and people have lots of things going on.”

The committee showed the controversial film Kids Wednesday night at Hillel. Organizer Michelle Proser said some students objected to the showing of the film, which she described as graphic in its depiction of kids growing up on the streets. Proser said she respects the views of those who object to the movie, but the committee agreed the movie has a powerful message.

“Since it is such a controversial film, we want people to talk about it,” Proser said. “There will be a discussion afterward, and we’ll give a disclaimer beforehand, saying the subject matter may be seen as offensive to some people.”

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