While UCAB’s Contemporary and Cultural Issues Committee has caught the campus’s attention with fashion experts and movie-inspiring authors, its upcoming event features an issue not just contemporary, but also dangerous to college culture. Going far beyond fashion and popular movies, UCAB will present “A Boy, a Girl, a Virus and the Relationship that Happened Anyway” featuring Shawn Decker and Gwenn Barringer, as they share their experience as a couple who fell in love despite Decker’s HIV-positive status. By Megan Doyle and Alice Hahn
p. Cosponsoring the event with UCAB is AFYA: Activism in the Fight Against AIDS. The idea for the event came when a friend of Decker and Barringer sought out AFYA as a sponsor for the couple’s lecture. AFYA’s commitment to spreading awareness about HIV and AIDS made the group a likely sponsor, but its limited budget forced it to postpone the event until next year.
p. Sophomore Meghan Dunne, a member of the contemporary and cultural issues committee heard the discussions about funding during an AFYA meeting and saw an opportunity to cosponsor Decker and Barringer’s lecture. “[UCAB] likes to help out fellow student orgs that have goals [and] missions, but lack funding,” senior Theresa Salcedo, chair of the committee, said. “We had not had a lecture or event on the HIV or AIDS issue, so when the idea was proposed, it seemed like a perfect time. … We knew we had the funding to get this lecture, so we took it upon ourselves to get them.”
p. Once UCAB committed to financing the event, it worked together with the AFYA to organize and publicize the issue. Both groups are enthusiastic about bringing to campus an event that addresses the serious issue of AIDS in a student-friendly format. Barringer and Decker were an attractive option because “they provided a frank and open discussion about HIV, AIDS, sex and relationships while being entertaining and engaging,” Salcado said. “We liked that balance and believe it would appeal to our peers.”
p. The sponsors said they hope Decker and Barringer’s lecture will be informative and open a forum for discussion on this serious topic.
p. After the lecture, students will have the opportunity to purchase signed copies of Decker’s book, “My Pet Virus.” The lecture will take place tomorrow in the University Center Commonwealth Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.