AIDS Awareness Makes Students See Orange

by Tim Posada '05

It started with flyers around campus reading: "Do you see orange?" The following Tuesday, APU saw orange. That day, 108 students appeared with orange shirts with "Orphan" written across the front and "1=75,000" on the back. On Wednesday, 190 bright orange shirts appeared. Thursday: 250. And on Friday, 380 students held to this new fashion statement. This was not a sign of the end times or a protest, but a call to action coordinated by Communiversity, the Associated Student Body (ASB), and Black Student Awareness (BSA), called Acting on AIDS.

"Acting on AIDS was something we thought would be small, but turned into a campus movement," said Jenny McMullen '04, Communiversity series events intern. "Youth groups, church groups, and campus groups were all getting involved. It's been wonderful to start something so big that's student driven." Acting on AIDS was a three week event. While the first week spurred curiosity, the second and third week brought more information on raising awareness about AIDS and how to get involved.

Those wearing the orange shirts were student volunteers: each shirt represented 75,000 children in Africa who are currently orphaned or will be in the next decade if action is not taken. AIDS forums were held along with an AIDS awareness fair in which APU's Health Center, the Peace Corps, World Vision, Compassion, Children of the Nation, and the Acting on AIDS group participated. The Health Center held free AIDS testing for students. Acting on AIDS hosted a table with a petition in cooperation with DATA. DATA stands for unpayable Debts, uncontrolled spread of AIDS, and unfair Trade rules which keep Africans poor. Additional tables provided internship opportunities in Africa along with supporting children in Africa and the Dominican Republic.

The following week, the orange shirts were put aside as the theme became a call to action. The Foothill AIDS project came to campus, along with the director of the Oasis Clinic at the King/Drew Medical Center, to give the students opportunities to get involved. Communiversity’s Coffeehouse premiered a documentary titled "Dear Francis," directed by Brent Gudgel ’03, and tables displayed pictures of orphans to support.

Acting on AIDS ended January 28, but Communiversity is continuing an open line of communication for anyone willing to get involved. For more information, contact Communiversity at (626) 815-6000, Ext. 3053. For more information on AIDS and the Church, check a featured article in the January 28, 2005 edition of The Clause, titled, "Connect: AIDS and the Church."