SSAA Participates in AIDS Walk New York


Some members of SSAA plan to participate in AIDS Walk New York on May 16 in order to raise AIDS awareness throughout their community. | Photo by Devin Skolnick ’11

Some members of SSAA plan to participate in AIDS Walk New York on May 16 in order to raise AIDS awareness throughout their community. | Photo by Devin Skolnick '11During 2008, 33.4 million people were infected worldwide with HIV/AIDS. According UNAIDS, that same year, two million AIDS-related deaths occurred, despite recent improvements in treatments.

Since this disease has become such a prevalent aspect of society, Staples students have taken the initiative to raise awareness and participate in the 25th annual AIDS Walk in New York City. Since the event’s creation in 1986, the event has raised over $105 million for HIV programs and services in the tri-state area.

Nicolette Weinbaum ’12, the President of The Students Supporting AIDS Awareness Club (SSAA), plans to partake in the walk for her second time. “In the community that we live in, people are so sheltered. I feel obligated to inform people around about the infection and its consequences,” said Weinbaum on why she decided to participate.

She continued to explain how last year, “everyone came together for the same cause and for the same motive. It made me feel like a part of something much bigger than myself, and I knew I was making a difference.”

Yet, Weinbaum is not the only student who plans to support the cause. Approximately 15 other teenagers from the club will walk 10 kilometers together, with a common goal of raising AIDS awareness.

The club members set a goal for themselves to raise at least $200 for each participating walker. Yet, Nicolette Weinbaum ’12, Jamie Mcglynn ’12, Andrew Medina ’12, Amanda Piccolino ’12, Nevona Friedman ’12, Kelly Ebel ’12, Karin Schultz ‘12, Marco Romero ’12, and Courtney Barry ’13 exceeded that amount.

“So many people are infected with AIDS today that people should be aware of it. The walk raises awareness, along with money for research. I was glad I could help towards the cause, yet I would have liked to raise even more money,” said Mcglynn.

Like Mcglynn, Barry is passionate about the cause. “The topic deserves support that it doesn’t necessarily get all of the time,” said Barry. “While raising money for the walk, I informed my family members and neighbors about information that they may not have already known.”

Although she is unable to participate in the walk, SSAA Vice President Karin Shultz ’12 still accumulated donations, and has become an AIDS activist in the community. “The walk provides a way for people to get together for a common motive,” said Shultz. She furthered how AIDS is an “underestimated disease” and people need to become more knowledgeable about it, especially in this generation.

In order to teach other Staples students about AIDS, SSAA hopes to generate a seminar during the lunch waves in the library in the near future; a speaker would inform people about the infection, its consequences, and how to prevent it.

Romero and Weinbaum are also engendering more enjoyable ways to make the community more knowledgeable about AIDS and its ill effects.

The walk will take place on Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:00 a.m. It begins and ends in Central Park. Anyone is welcome to participate!