Marathon dance raises funds for AIDS, HIV prevention


By Sean Robinson – Senior Staff Writer

UNO seniors Kevin McKenna and Kelly Robinson felt sweat drip down their cheeks as they danced through the early morning hours. In a throng of hundreds of other dancers, the two busted a move in hopes of busting HIV and AIDS.

Starting at 5 p.m. on Nov. 20 and lasting until 7 a.m. on Nov. 21, a World AIDS dance marathon was held in the Milo Bail Student Center to raise money to benefit Nebraska AIDS Project and Camp Kindle.

Tickets were $20 and included unlimited food, activities, music and a T-shirt.

Fifteen dollars from each ticket went toward the prevention of AIDS.

“It is important to promote awareness about AIDS to college students because AIDS is an epidemic we often don’t think of in a local sense,” said UNO graduate student and Student Coordinator Lindsey Scott. “But it greatly affects many people in the Nebraska community every day. There is such a stigma about people who have HIV or AIDS, and it is important that we educate students about this to spread awareness in order for them to protect themselves.”

The dance was an attempt to ignite excitement for national and global World AIDS Day events on Dec. 1.

On UNO’s campus, some of these events will include a health fair and panels at Milo Bail Student Center. Later, a sunset candlelight vigil will be held along Dodge Street. Open to all local high school and college students, the event is being organized by the UNO Service Learning Academy.

Team formations are encouraged in order to boost attendance and fundraising.

During the dance, the ballroom was lit up as DJs and bands cranked out energetic beats. A different vibe, however, could be found in the Mav Lounge as students made pillow cases, letters and bracelets for those affected by HIV or AIDS.

Rock Paper Dynamite and Backer’s Blues were just two of the local bands that played at the fundraiser while participants played a root beer pong tournament and relay races.

The food served included sloppy joes, chips and salsa, and soda.                

 “My favorite thing at the dance was actually the testimonials,” McKenna said. “From Camp Kindle, they had the camp counselors come up and speak about their experiences with the disease. It was cool to see them talk about how this camp is a way for them to not be judged for being associated with the disease.”

On the chilly Sunday morning, McKenna and Robinson stumbled out into the growing sunlight with sweat freezing upon their faces.

Over the night, the two friends wore their soles out and emptied their wallets in hopes of preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS.