Friday, April 4, 2008
Student Org Profile - Student Global AIDS Campaign
GW is full of students who believe in various causes and issues. We all want to get involved in politics to change the world for the better, but in all honesty, we are not a school of activists.
Therefore, I am impressed by organizations that actually take an active role in fighting for their causes. One such organization is the Student Global Aids Campaign (SGAC).
A week before World AIDS Day, my saintly roommate (and SGAC chapter leader) came home and told me that she was going to be arrested as part of an organized protest against the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The goal of these arrests was to bring the media's attention to the problems with PEPFAR.
It was refreshing to see students fight for a cause without being paranoid about how activism will affect their future political careers.
During the course of this school year, SGAC has sponsored or cosponsored over 30 events, including free HIV testing days on campus, education events, safe sex workshops, community service events, and demonstrations.
A few weeks ago, when PEPFAR was going into markup in Congress, SGAC made "snack packs with fast facts" for the Democrats on the Foreign Affairs Committee and snuck them into the Capitol. This was much more effective then a round of phone calls.
In addition to lobbying the federal government, GW SGAC members work closely with the DC community. DC has the highest HIV rate in the country: it is estimated that 1 in 20 individuals in DC is infected with HIV. To put this in perspective, If DC were a country, its AIDS rate would fall between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. SGAC plans community service events, participates in candlelight vigils, and helps to raise community awareness.
SGAC's record is much more impressive than GW College Democrats or GW College Republicans, despite that those two groups combined were allocated 22 times more funding then SGAC, despite the fact that they do not have 22 times the members or hold 22 times more events. But SGAC has the dedication that these other groups seem to be missing.
And if anyone is interested, SGAC meets Monday nights at 9:00 in MC 309. For more info about the national organization, go to www.fightglobalaids.org.