I don’t know very much about AIDS right now. Can I still join?
A. Absolutely! Many people involved with Yale AIDS Watch learned much
of what they know about AIDS from working with the group. And this
year, we are offering a series of meetings designed to give everyone a
“crash course” on AIDS. You’ll learn about the virology of how the
disease actually works, about the spread of the epidemic worldwide, its
history, and about important political issues that affect AIDS right
now. Feel free to come to as many sessions as you want.
Q. AIDS seems like such an overwhelming
problem – what can a small group like Yale AIDS Watch actually do?
A. First, YAW believes that the most important step a college
organization against AIDS can take is to increase awareness as much as
it can. Our goal is to make information about AIDS easily available to
people who otherwise might not be able to learn about what’s going on –
people first just need to know the true size of the problem. Also, so
many people have become involved with YAW that we are expanding rapidly
and will soon be working not only with other universities around the
country, but also with groups in countries like Zambia and South
Q. I’ve found that a lot of activism is
just people sitting around talking. It’s great that Yale AIDS Watch
does such a good job of making people aware of the problem, but what do
you actually do to solve it?
A. YAW was founded exactly because we felt that many AIDS activism
groups, while extremely important for spreading the message, weren’t
taking real action against the disease. YAW is different. If you want
to be involved directly, we’ll help you volunteer with other Yale
students at a local hospice for AIDS patients. If you’re interested in
politics, you should work with us on our letter-writing campaigns to
members of the government who can make a difference. One of our focuses
is going to be on reducing the extremely high prevalence of AIDS in
America’s prisons. We’re also going to be launching fundraising
campaigns on behalf of groups that we work with in Africa, helping AIDS
patients there to secure housing so that they don’t remain homeless.
And if there’s something else that you want to do, just tell us! YAW
will support you in every way that we can so that your project really
Q. It sounds like YAW does so many
things! I’m taking 41 classes, I play two varsity sports and the cello
and I run my own lampshade company; do I have time to join?
A. Yes! Meetings are just once a week, and though we’d love you to come
to them all, definitely feel free to make as many as you can. We’ll
send out emails about once a week too, so if you miss a meeting, you’ll
still know what’s going on. Then, when a project comes up that really
excites you, just join right in.