Georgie Stocks

Miami University students and Oxford residents supported HIV and AIDS victims Saturday night at Top Deck Bar through the purchase of $1 Natural Light beers.

On a typical Saturday night uptown, there were a group of students drinking at a bar.

But these students weren’t just drinking; they were drinking for a cause.

The “STOP AIDS and Start Drinking” fund-raiser was held at Top Deck Saturday night by Miami University senior Lindsey Shackelford. She is currently an active member of the

STOP AIDS organization, formally known as the AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati (AVOC).

Students and other members of the Oxford community were able to participate in the fund-raiser by buying specially designed reusable red cups decorated with the red ribbon that signifies AIDS awareness.

“I got involved with AVOC and it basically hit me like a ton of bricks that this was something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life,” Shackelford said. “So here I am, helping in any way I can.”

According to Shackelford, STOP AIDS is an organization strives to help those fighting HIV and AIDS through education. Services include housing assistance to individualized care.

In addition to the red cups sold at the event, $1 Natural Light draft beers were also available for the remainder of the function. For those who were not interested in drinking, donations were also accepted. Furthermore, Kim Traylor, the purchasing assistant for the chemistry and biochemistry department at Miami, sold handmade jewelry at the event and donated 15 percent of her profits.

The event made close to $700 in proceeds from the cup sales and donations, which will go to STOP AIDS. Another fund-raiser, similar to this one, is in the process of being planned for the spring.

“Since HIV/AIDS medications are so expensive, many people who are affected by the disease can’t afford both the medications and something as simple as their rent for the month,” Shackelford said.

Despite the fact that Shackelford worked as the main organizer of the event, she was not alone. Swocol.com; a Web site that helps students navigate the social scenes at the University of Dayton, Wright State University, Sinclair Community College, as well as Miami; was the sponsor of the fund-raiser.

Katie Wedell, a Miami alumni and the online content producer for the Web site, commented on the event.

“We don’t usually sponsor charity events … but it was a great way to partner with a student who was running her own event,” Wedell said.

Swocol has a calendar to let its users know what bars are holding an event, special festivals that are going on, certain movies that are playing and information on local concerts.

“Our main purpose is to help college students do whatever it is they are interested in doing and I think charity work is a big part of that,” Wedell said.

Shackelford hopes the event’s proceeds truly will make an impact.

“It’s about helping these people live as close to normal lives as possible because the disease is no longer a death sentence,” Shackelford said. “STOP AIDS is just a really great organization and I’m so proud to be a part of it.” 

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