[Fresh] AIDS Quilt at Villanova

Kelly Donio (kelly.donio@villanova.edu)
Wed, 30 Nov 2005 16:25:54 -0500

NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt
Stacy Andes: Center for Health and Wellness Education

Fresh@News: What is the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt Display?

Stacy Andes: The NAMES Project AIDS Quilt Display is the presentation of
a portion of the entire AIDS Quilt, which consists of 44,000 panels that
each memorializes an individual who was lost to AIDS. The Quilt travels
around the country and is put on display in various communities in order
to send its message of remembrance, awareness and hope. On Tuesday,
November 29th – Thursday, Dec. 1st, a portion of the Quilt will be on
display at Villanova in the Villanova Room, Connelly Center.

Fresh@News: What is the purpose of bringing the NAMES Project AIDS
Memorial Quilt Display to Villanova University?

Stacy Andes: The purpose is stated in our campaign for a
cure—remembrance, awareness, and hope. For remembrance, we memorialize
the people who lost their lives to HIV. Spreading awareness is our major
objective because many students or teens are becoming infected at high
rates; however they do not view HIV as an issue. Instead, they feel that
their generation is least impacted by it. We noticed this conflict and
wanted to increase awareness since this is a real epidemic in our
country. Our last intention is to give hope by creating a community that
is compassionate towards people who have HIV and to give people
opportunities to get involved.

Fresh@News: When and why was this program first established?

Stacy Andes: The AIDS Memorial Quilt program was first established in
1987 in San Francisco to memorialize those lost to the disease. Since
then, AIDS has spread so that statistically the majority of those
diagnosed with HIV are heterosexual. AIDS is a disease that is
indifferent to race, sex, gender or sexuality—anyone can become
infected. The AIDS Memorial Quilt has developed into a global art
international project.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt was brought to Villanova about a decade ago.
This is the 2nd time it will be here, but now we have a much larger
display—the largest in the country up to date. The Center for Health and
Wellness has only been at Villanova for three years, so we are doing all
we can to increase the level of awareness and attention.

Fresh@News: How does the AIDS Quilt educate students and faculty of this
disease?

Stacy Andes: The AIDS Quilt educates by putting a face to the disease
and making it personal to students and faculty. The Quilt raises
awareness that AIDS is a major issue and illustrates how many
individuals were touched by the loss of one life. A lot of hard work
goes into creating panels. Just because you or someone you know hasn’t
been infected, the AIDS Quilt makes shows it’s a real issue that many
people worldwide are dealing with everyday. It is rare for a visitor to
see this display and not be touched by it. Seeing the panel firsthand is
incomparable to just reading or hearing about AIDS. It is an indirect
way to get to know the people who have suffered and see why it is so
vital to find a cure.

Fresh@News: Do you believe that students are knowledgeable about AIDS
and AIDS-related issues?

Stacy Andes: Many students know HIV is a disease that affects the world
outside their individual spheres, but they don’t see the issue affecting
them. The most detrimental problem is that students fail to recognize
HIV as a serious issue that could affect them, even though it is most
rampant in their age group.

The first step is to increase students’ awareness of AIDS, since they
are conscious of it to a certain degree. However, there are a lot of
myths about this disease, including who is prone to it, how it is
transmitted, etc. Therefore, we want to untangle the facts from false
illusions. Our second step is to get people to take the information that
they know and translate it into their behavior. The goal is for people
to use this information and take the necessary precautions to better
protect themselves, while developing empathy for those suffering.

Fresh@News: What overall message is the Quilt Steering committee trying
to send out to Villanova students through this program?

Stacy Andes: The Quilt Steering committee ultimately wants to open up
the eyes of the community to the harsh realities of AIDS and make them
aware that this is a major issue for college students. We hope the AIDS
Quilt will inspire students and faculty to alter their own attitude
towards AIDS and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves
against this epidemic.

Fresh@News: How can students and/or parents become involved in this project?

Stacy Andes: Students and parents can attend any of our feature events,
which can be found on the Center for Health and Wellness website:
www.villanova.edu/healthandwellness/aidsquilt. There will be
opportunities to make donations to any AIDS related charity or to the
cost of the quilt. And of course, they can come to Villanova and see the
AIDS Quilt displayed at the Pavilion. The AIDS Quilt will be displayed
for 3 days—November 29th – December 1st. The last day, December 1st is
World AIDS Day.

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