November 16, 2011

University to commemorate World AIDS Day

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will commemorate World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 in a number of ways, including hosting a famous athlete, television star and designer who has lived with HIV for more than two decades.

The location for everything is the Student Health Center, 374 E. Grand Ave. in Carbondale.

The Jackson County Health Department is offering free, anonymous HIV testing from 2 to 6 p.m. in Room 140 on the first floor of the Student Health Center.  Anyone can participate in the testing.

There’s a health fair and registration for the Carbondale AIDS Walk beginning at 4 p.m.  All individual walkers who raise $25 or more get a free T-shirt.  Teams and individuals are welcome to participate.  Individual walkers can register and submit donations on behalf of their efforts online or by bringing their donations between 4 and 5 p.m. to Rooms 111/112 at the health center.

Project Runway designer, award-winning swimmer and HIV activist Jack Mackenroth will speak at 5 p.m.  A longtime fitness and fashion model in the 1990s, numerous magazines including “Men’s Journal,” “Men’s Fitness,” “Paper,” and “Envy” have featured Mackenroth.  A Seattle native, he earned degrees in fine arts and sociology at the University of California at Berkeley before moving to New York City in 1991 to study fashion design at the prestigious Parsons School of Design. 

After completing his education he opened a menswear store bearing his name in the West Village and in 1997 began designing for Tommy Hilfiger and later for the Levi’s brand, Slates, and was design director at Weatherproof Activewear.  He’s also appeared on Project Runway’s fourth season, has dressed various celebrities, landed cover shots on numerous magazines including “POZ,” Instinct,” and “Metro Weekly” while various magazine ad campaigns include his fashion illustrations. 

He has earned three All-American titles as a swimmer, setting a national record for the breaststroke in the 4 x 50 meter relay at the Gay Games in 2006.  And he serves as a commentator for LOGO network covering fashion events, has the blog NewNowNext! and co-hosts with Robert Breining a POZ/AM Internet radio show on Wednesdays.

Mackenroth, who has been HIV positive since 1990, participates in numerous events around the country to dispel HIV myths, educate the public and increase public awareness.  He works with HIV/AIDS charities including God’s Love We Deliver, Project Open Hand, AIDS Service Center, amfAR and created an HIV awareness T-shirt for Clothing of the American Mind with proceeds of the shirt sales benefitting HIV/AIDS organizations. 

Mackenroth’s presentation is “Living Positive:  My Life with HIV.”  Everyone is welcome and there is no cost to attend.

“Jack Mackenroth’s work as an activist, athlete and professional designer demonstrates the kind of engaged work that we should model for our students and community members.  As a leader in the GLBT community, Mackenroth is an inspiration and I am confident he will spark valuable conversations on campus and in the community,” said Wendy Weinhold, coordinator of the GLBT Resource Center at SIU Carbondale.

After Mackenroth ( speaks, he’ll lead the candlelight AIDS walk at 6 p.m.

“We can learn a lot from Jack Mackenroth.  As SIU Carbondale works to promote civility and advocacy on campus and across the region, his lecture and participation in the Carbondale AIDS Walk represents an exciting step forward in our efforts to signal that this is a place where all should be respected and included,” Weinhold said.

The World AIDS Day commemoration ends with an awards presentation at 7 p.m. at the Student Health Center.

To sign up for the AIDS Walk, visit

Sponsors of the University’s AIDS Day activities include the GLBT Resource Center, Student Health Services Wellness Center, University Housing, Student Life and Intercultural Relations, Jackson County Health Department, Saluki Rainbow Network, Undergraduate Student Government, Student Activity Fee, Sports Clubs and the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department.

For more information about what’s happening at the University contact Christy Hamilton, Student Health Center wellness coordinator, at 618/453-4431 or Weinhold at 618/453-6804.