AIDS quilt blankets Rider with awareness

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By Emily Klingman

For World AIDS Day, Rider honored the cause on Nov. 18 by presenting its own AIDS awareness quilt.

The quilt, which was created in 2004, featured patches and panels made by different clubs and organizations on campus. Each panel represents support for those who suffer from HIV/AIDS.

“Those clubs were the initial panel makers of the quilt. There’s one from the Latin American Student Organization and the Black Student Union and other clubs,” said Vickie McLaughlin, administrative specialist in the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

This year, in addition to the quilt, there were posters presenting facts and statistics about the disease and those who suffer from it.

The goal, said McLaughlin, was to inform the Rider community.

“For students, we’re trying to draw awareness still. There may be students that have had a loved one suffer,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a reflection and it’s a prayer, and it’s a thought of hope.”

Pamela Pruitt, director of multicultural affairs, believes that the quilt is meant to represent support to anyone affected by the disease.

“The quilt signifies our sorrow for those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS; our empathy for the families and friends who have lost their loved ones; and hope for a cure,” Pruitt said.

Both Pruitt and McLaughlin emphasized what an important symbol the quilt was to Rider.

“The quilt is important to us because we want to bring awareness to our Rider community about the seriousness of HIV/AIDS,” said Pruitt. “We need to remind everyone to adhere to safe practices in personal relations with others, remembering the vital message that AIDS does not discriminate.”

“Students just need to be educated,” said McLaughlin. “When you read the facts, every nine and a half minutes someone contracts HIV, and HIV, when undetected, goes on to AIDS. It’s not just one group of people. Everyone can get it. I didn’t know any of this until I researched for myself.”

According to McLaughlin, organizers hope to update the quilt by adding new panels to it.

“They’re going to try to rejuvenate this for next year,” said McLaughlin. “You should see new panels, possibly smaller, to bring new interest and to update it for current students and new clubs and organizations.”


Printed in the 11/19/14 edition. 

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