You may have noticed the posters scattered across campus marked with a twisted ribbon symbolizing the fight against AIDS, each one noting, “What we do together makes a difference.” However, in a quick passing the true meaning and significance of this statement may be easily overlooked.By the end of 2003, it was estimated that over 40 million people worldwide 37 million adults and 2.5 million children younger than the age of 15 were living with HIV/AIDS. Narrowing down the statistics to national levels, it is estimated that 900,000 United States residents are living with this infection, and one-quarter of them are completely unaware of it. Of these infected people, half are younger than the age of 25. To put these numbers in realistic terms, multiply the entire student body of West Chester by 75. These startling facts conclude with 17,000 deaths annually caused by this disease.
To help support the worldwide fight against this devastating disease, the students of the West Chester University Theatre have dedicated their hearts, minds and talents to the very worthy cause. The evening of April 24, a night consisting of a silent auction and hour of entertainment, will hopefully create significant proceeds to dedicate towards this ongoing battle.
The annual AIDS Benefit has become a prestigious event within the theater department. Not only due to the large, cumulative donation towards the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS charity, but also because the event is entirely coordinated by students. This year, senior theater major Bridget Cook has undertaken the massive task. It starts by securing donations from local businesses, including gift certificates, merchandise, memberships, etc., to auction off at the affair. In exchange for their generosity, the businesses are noted in the program according to the size of their donation. When all items are collected, a common classroom within the E.O. Bull Center is transformed into a soft-lit, enchanting silent auction room.
The parallel side of the evening consists of student performances, ranging from musical numbers, to dances, scenes and original works. Organized by majors Angela Ricetti and Shelia Coyle, the entertainment aspects of this year’s Benefit are like nothing seen before. From Shakespeare to Broadway hits and the Hardy Boys, this comic, dramatic and sentimental show is one not to be missed.
Altogether, the basic facts are this: The West Chester University Theatre AIDS Benefit, April 24, Silent Auction at 7 p.m., Entertainment at 8 p.m., in the E.O. Bull Center, Mainstage Theater. For more information, call 610-436-3463.