November 23, 2005

AIDS awareness events planned at SIUC

by Brian Stephens

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- "The AIDS Memorial Quilt, It Hits Home" is the theme of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's AIDS Awareness 2005 program, set for Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

The annual observance coincides with World AIDS Day, which is Dec. 1.

Approximately 3,700 red and white flags will line Lincoln Drive from U.S. Highway 51 to the Student Center. The 2,900 red flags will signify those suffering from AIDS in the United States. The additional 800 white flags denote those who unknowingly have the HIV virus. Each flag represents 320 people.

Events will include free anonymous AIDS testing, nationally known speakers, educational programs and lectures. During the event, 12 panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display for public viewing in Student Center Ballrooms A, B, and C beginning with an opening ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. and continuing through Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. This is the largest World AIDS Day display of the quilt in Illinois, and second largest in the country behind a 13-panel display in San Francisco.

Guest speakers Shawn Decker and Gwenn Barringer will open the quilt ceremony with their lecture, "A Boy, a Girl, and a Virus." Decker, a hemophiliac, acquired the virus from a clotting factor used in treating his frequent nosebleeds while in the sixth grade. After years of inner struggle, he decided to do something more with his life and started educating people about the virus.

Gwenn Barringer is Shawn Decker's wife who does not have AIDS. The two met while Barringer, a case manager for the AIDS Services Group in Charlottesville, Va., was seeking a speaker to talk about AIDS. Not only do they discuss the difficulties they face as a couple dealing with AIDS, but they inform the audience of ways to maintain a safe and healthy sex life when a partner has AIDS or other STD.

On Thursday, Dec. 1, there will be a health fair where educational material and free condoms will be available. Free, anonymous AIDS testing will be available at the Newman Center from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The service is available to the public.

Also on Thursday, the Old Main Restaurant will donate $1 of every buffet purchased to Southern Illinois Regional Effort Against AIDS. That evening in Ballroom D, Stephen St. Julian, program director of the HIV Consortium at the Jackson County Health Department and 20-year survivor, will give a lecture entitled "Positively Yours" describing his involvement in AIDS prevention and outreach in the state's 17 southernmost counties. He will also speak about the history of the virus, ease of testing and use of drugs in fighting the disease.

On Friday, Dec. 2, Christy Hamilton of SIUC's Student Health Programs Wellness Program will host a brown bag lunch, "Wise Up and Wear It!" in the Mississippi Room of the Student Center. The closing ceremony for the quilt is set for 7 p.m.

All events are free except the Old Main buffet.

Anytime the quilt is open for display, volunteers read continuously from a book of names that accompanies the panels. Anyone interested in reading from the book should contact Student Center Special Programs and Center Events at with the time you are available to read.

Engaging the whole student is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Here is the schedule of events:

Tuesday, Nov. 29

ª Information table, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Student Center, north escalator area.

Wednesday, Nov. 30

• "A Boy, a Girl and a Virus," 7-8:30 p.m., Student Center Ballroom D.

• AIDS Memorial Day Quilt Display, opening at 8:30 p.m., Student Center Ballrooms.

Thursday, Dec. 1

• AIDS Memorial Day Quilt Display, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Student Center Ballrooms.

• Angel Tree, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Student Center, J.W. Corker Lounge.

• Health Fair, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Student Center, J.W. Corker Lounge.

• Information table, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Student Center, north escalator area.

• Anonymous AIDS testing, 2-6 p.m., Newman Catholic Student Center.

• "Positively Yours," with Steven St. Julian, 7 p.m., Student Center Ballroom D (quilt closed during program).

Friday, Dec. 2

• "Wise Up and Wear It!" Brown Bag lecture with Christie Hamilton, noon-1 p.m., Student Center, Mississippi Room.

• The AIDS Quilt Closing Ceremony, 7 p.m., Student Center Ballrooms