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Social work students, faculty take active role in the community

by Archives October 9, 2007

OTTAWA (CUP) — AIDS doesn’t discriminate.
That’s the message that Judy Girard and her team of social work students want to spread with their participation in the upcoming AIDS Walk for Life Ottawa.
“AIDS sucks,” says Nadia Blasutti, social work student and member of the team, matter-of-factly. “The thing about AIDS is anyone can get it.”
The memory of Maurice Moreau, a former colleague at the school of social work who passed away from AIDS-related causes, is Girard’s main reason for beginning the Walk for Life team.
“A lot of it has to do with Maurice,” said Girard. The 17-year anniversary of his death is on Nov. 13 and she said she wants to honour his memory.
The AIDS Walk for Life has been an annual event since 1989. It helps raise awareness and funds to support those affected with HIV/AIDS.
Girard and fourth-year student Lindsey Snow started the Carleton team for AWFL Ottawa. They recruited others from the Bachelor of Social Work Society (BSW) and organized the event.
Blasutti, Snow, and Danielle Sutherland, co-chair of the team, are all active students in the society.
“It’s really important for us to step up and get involved,” said Sutherland, a third-year student.
“[In] social work, we view social problems not so much as problems but as a social responsibility,” said Snow.
Girard says the spread of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s personally affected her when she lost many of her friends to the first wave of AIDS.
Roy Hanes, Carleton’s social work school director, sent out announcements last April to help draw attention and participants.
“We’re always recruiting,” said Girard, who walks every year.
Girard says she urges students to sign up, walk, sponsor or participate in any way they can. Students can join anytime, even for next year.
Blasutti, a fourth-year student, said that she is focused on bringing the faculty and students together.
“[We] wanted to have an event where students and faculty can do something collectively,” said Girard.
“There’s been a lack of involvement in the last couple years. [People] are not really doing anything visible,” said Sutherland.
Snow said she would like the school to be more united and more involved in the community.
Blasutti says that AIDS is one of the hardest causes to get people involved in.
“It’s one of those causes that needs support because there’s so much stigma around it.”
The group says that they want to continue urging the community to get involved.
“Two years from now when [AIDS] is passé, is when we’re going to need a lot of support,” said Blasutti. “AIDS will be vintage.”

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