Ludacris to speak at Marvin Center

Hip-hop star Ludacris is coming to the Marvin Center Dec. 1 as part of the YouthAIDS “Kick Me!” Campaign for World AIDS Day.

GW is the last stop on the rapper’s four-university tour across the country. He will also be speaking at UCLA, Northwestern University and NYU. The event, which is aimed at raising awareness about the virus, is sponsored by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

“Of the four schools Ludacris will be visiting leading up to World AIDS Day, it was decided that Washington, D.C. – GW in particular – would end the tour because the event will get the most media coverage here, and it’s an issue appropriate to address in our nation’s capital,” said senior James Silk, Sigma Phi Epsilon’s vice president of programming and intern at YouthAIDS.

Ludacris will speak to an audience of 400 in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom, and MTV will broadcast the event.

This is not the first time a celebrity has visited GW in pursuit of spreading awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Last month, actress Emmy Rossum made a surprise appearance to an Introduction to Theater class and spoke with the students about the dangers of the disease and ways to prevent it.

The YouthAids ‘Kick Me’ campaign is based on the prank of someone sticking a ‘Kick Me’ sign on another’s back without their knowledge – just like 90 percent of those infected with HIV/AIDS may not know they are carrying the virus, according to the group’s Web site.

But it isn’t just the opportunity for media coverage that is drawing so much attention to the nation’s capitol for World AIDS day.

“Washington has the highest HIV/AIDS percentage rate of any city in the United States. The prevalence of HIV in D.C. is equivalent to that in Haiti. One in 12 people in the district are carrying HIV,” Silk said.

“It’s quite a staggering statistic, and something that played a large role in the decision to bring him to GW,” he added.

Students can log onto http://www.youthaids.org to register for the campaign as individuals or part of a team.

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