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MISSAids-Poster.jpgBy Morgan Schutters, a sophomore from Berea, Ky.

WILMORE, KY— On April 29, Acting on Aids (AOA) is collaborating with Johnson Hall Residence Life and Student Congress to show a documentary titled MISS HIV in Reasoner 214 at 7:30 p.m. Along with the film, there will also be a panel discussion with Professors and staff in order to encourage a more holistic view of the AIDS issue, empowering students to make educated decisions.

The film explores the ideologies surrounding the AIDS pandemic. Governments have taken different stances consequently effecting AIDS victims in different ways. Acting on AIDS at Asbury College is working to encourage the student body to have a holistic view of the AIDS issue and empowers students to make educated decisions.

Around the world, government has taken different stances consequently affecting AIDS victims in different ways. Mary Grace Rumford, a sophomore Asbury College student and a member of AoA said, “How we see HIV/AIDS is very important. How do students perceive AIDS? This is a great chance to try to understand HIV/AIDS.”

This year the money that AoA raised will be going directly to Swaziland through Children’s Hope Chest. They are working with Children’s Hope Chest president Tom Davis to insure that money will be used for community development in a village that is affected largely by HIV/AIDS. Davis spoke in chapel in December 2007 and focuses on making sure that help gets to victims. The money Asbury College collected will help provide education, clean water, and agriculture for the community. Hunger and poverty are both key factors in the fight against HIV/AIDS; helping to reduce these will help in reducing AIDS.

In high school, Rumford became aware of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. “It grabbed my heart right away,” she said. “I believe God has called me to Africa in some capacity and that definitely means working with HIV/AIDS.”

She has found that AIDS kills thousands everyday – not just in Africa. HIV/AIDS are rampant in America. “This is the biggest crisis of our generation,” Rumford said. “If we as a society and I believe as a church, do not take a stand and act, than we will be seen for all of history as the generation that sat back and allowed millions of humans to suffer and die. AIDS is not just about a disease, but about poverty, hunger, orphans and crime. This is such a huge issue. We must try to see as much of the big picture of the world as possible as well as be effective in serving in the small picture – our local areas.”

Lisa Harper is a staff advisor for Acting on Aids. “The students involved with AoA have a real heart for opening the eyes of fellow students and the community to the devastation of the AIDS epidemic,” she said. “This group has a soul longing for inclusiveness.”

AoA is trying to involve other clubs and organizations on campus in efforts to inspire awareness, as well as reaching out and serving with other clubs. Harper says she is involved with AoA because she is excited about the Asbury College students’ involvement and initiative to make a difference. “I love our students,” she said. “Their passion is contagious.”

Harper knows that the group needed ‘a champion;’ an adult leader for support. “I really just feed them (occasionally), listen, bounce ideas off of the students, and encourage them,” Harper said. “Getting involved with making a difference in our world through Acting on Aids is definitely not hard neither is it too demanding. The biggest bonus is that it keeps students connected in a common goal of helping others.”

Asbury College AoA Co-founder Caleb Sigler said, “Acting on AIDS does not presume to be the solution to the problem of HIV/AIDS, nor do we believe that this is a club for everyone. We believe in uniting people for real, tangible, God ordained changes. Christ told us to love others while loving Him. This is our way to love actively. If AoA can inspire you to love others like Christ loved the orphan, the sick, and the widow, then we’ve effectively done our job. The HIV/AIDS problem is not the focus, it is simply where we saw the greatest need for action.”

Interested in AoA leadership? Help is needed. AoA is looking for passionate people to join them. Contact Harper for more information.