University student organizations banded with D.C.-area residents in Northwest on Saturday to raise money for AIDS Walk Washington.
Pi Kappa Alpha had two goals for the walk: do something positive for the city and improve the image of Greek-letter life on campus, said the fraternity’s public relations chair Charlie Rybak.
“People have a lot of preconceived notions about Greek life that aren’t necessarily true,” said Rybak, a sophomore. “We’re not just about parties and that kind of stuff – we’re also interested in community service and giving back to GW and D.C.”
Pi Kappa Alpha teamed up with Delta Sigma Theta to participate in the walk and to run a table at the event, with 18 walkers between the two groups.
The GW College Democrats joined with other organizations including GW Amnesty International and GW HOPE to form the Colonials Fight AIDS walk team, which raised more than $4,000 – far more than their original goal of $750. Bekah Medley, community service director for the CDs, said the group approached their fundraising for the walk differently this year.
“What we tried to do this year was get other organizations involved. We’ve tried to share solidarity,” said Medley, a sophomore, “It’s been really interesting and taken a lot of partisanship out of it.”
With sunny skies and cool weather for the 22nd annual walk, around 600 walkers and 800 runners came to participate, said AIDS Walk Washington director Dave Mallory. The walk began and ended at Freedom Plaza on 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
When the walk began, the event had already raised more than $600,000, Mallory said.
Several notable guests spoke before the race, including D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, who thanked the crowd for coming out and emphasized that HIV/AIDS is a major issue in the District, where one in 20 adults is HIV-positive.
Fenty said, “I’ll see you at the starting line and walk as far as humanly possible.”