By Michael Samuels 09F
World AIDS Day is Saturday, December 1, and one class is taking the opportunity to share what they’ve learned with the Hampshire community. On Friday, November 30, the students in HIV/AIDS: 30 Years Later are organizing free STD testing and safe sex supplies, student-led workshops, a ribbon campaign, student tabling, and a screening of Rent. There will also be a dramatic reading of The Normal Heart on Saturday.
“My students have been working all semester to understand the biological and social/political means for the epidemic, and why it is that we still do not have a cure,” explains Assistant Professor of Human Biology Megan Dobro.
The event will take on the subject of HIV/AIDS from numerous angles. A van from Tapestry Health will be on campus 10 a.m.–4 p.m. to provide free testing for HIV and other STDs. Students from the class will also distribute red ribbons to raise awareness, and free condoms and dental dams to promote safer sex practices, in SAGA during lunch.
Students will also lead an HIV/AIDS info session and gender norms workshop in Franklin Patterson Hall, room 106, 1:30–2:30 p.m., and again 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Finally, the students will address the cultural side of the epidemic. There will be a screening of the 2005 film adaptation of the musical Rent, in Adele Simmons Hall, room 112, 7–9 p.m. on Friday.
For Saturday, Erica Lupinacci 09F, the TA for the class, is directing a dramatic reading of the Tony-winning 1985 play The Normal Heart. The performance is a significant part of her Division III project, dealing with silence surrounding HIV/AIDS. It will be in the Music and Dance Recital Hall at 7 p.m. After the performance, the audience will have the chance to discuss the play with Lupinacci and the actors.
“Most important to us is to get the word out that it's World AIDS Day,” says Professor Dobro, “so people can keep the epidemic in their minds and be educated that the fight is not over.”
“There will be plenty of outreach opportunities in the local area that we will be promoting for students to get involved in,” she adds. “As in Hampshire style, when we increase our awareness for something, action should follow.”