Lindsey Wagner

They can talk the talk, but this past Saturday Miami University students proved they can walk the walk as well, at the Walk to Stop AIDS.

Enlisting the help of her friends and other Campus Crusade for Christ members, Annie Milligan, a Miami senior speech pathology and audiology major, organized a group of 11 Miami students to participate in the AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati’s Walk to Stop AIDS, in order to help to raise AIDS awareness.

According to the Web site of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on major health care issues, Ohio was ranked 15th in the country with 6,722 cases of AIDS 2004 and between 1999 and 2003 Butler County had a total of 71 reported cases of HIV.

Those who walked expressed their reasons for participating.

“We want to show people that we love them by serving them,” said Kimberly Matchett, a volunteer and senior zoology major, about the aims of Crusade’s participation.

The annual five-mile pledge walk, previously known as Red Ribbon Walk for AIDS, was held Sept. 16 at Sawyer Point’s Schott Amphitheater and drew volunteers from across the tri-state area.

This year marked the first that Campus Crusade has put together a group to volunteer, but Milligan hopes it will not be the last of its kind.

“We don’t do things like this very often, but it’s really something we are trying to implement this year,” Mulligan said. “I want to get people together to do stuff for the community because I think it is really important – showing love through service. Hopefully this will not be the last thing that we do.”

Milligan’s group for the walk broke its goal of 10 members, gathering 11 participants. The group raised $175 in donations.

Milligan was inspired to create her own group after participating in the walk last year with a group organized by friends in Swing Hall.

“I decided making up my own group would be a good idea, so that is what I did,” Milligan said. “My goal was to get a bunch of people to participate in the group; outside members from Miami’s campus, not just members of Campus Crusade.”

Milligan sent out e-mails through the Campus Crusade and service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega’s listservs to help raise donations for the team. With a goal of raising $200, the team fell just short of its objective.

“I wish we could have gotten more people to realize how fun it is to be involved and I wish we could have raised more money, but I think it would have taken a lot more effort to do those things,” Milligan said.

The walk began along the Ohio River next to Paul Brown Stadium and continued across the river to Covington, Ky., down the Kentucky Riverwalk and ended back at Sawyer Point. The team completed the walk in about two hours.

“I really liked being a part of the walk,” Milligan said. “You get to walk with your friends and talk and yet still be accomplishing something at the same time. Not only that you get to hang out with friends but you get to help other people too.”

According to the AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati’s Web site, more than 90 percent of the revenues from the walk will go toward supporting the group’s programs and services; providing education, housing and counseling to those infected; and to increasing awareness about those infected AIDS and HIV. The group is currently Cincinnati’s largest local AIDS and HIV nonprofit organization and resource center.