News and Events
YIFTU: Acting on AIDS – Raising Awareness About HIV/AIDS
Taking initiative to help others in need is oftentimes a daunting task many people are not willing to undertake. This is not the case for a group of Pepperdine University Seaver College students like Lindsay Joiner (Seaver '07), who formed the organization You and I For The Universe (YIFTU): Acting on AIDS. Nor is this the case for many people in the Pepperdine community who donated money and food points to offer much needed assistance to people tragically affected by HIV/AIDS.
YIFTU: Acting on AIDS is a Pepperdine University student organization, founded by Seaver College student Wondirad Asssefa Tsegaye (Seaver '06), seeking to stop the global spread of HIV/AIDS through awareness, education, service projects, and publicity. The members believe that as Christians, their calling in this world is to serve those in need and the club recognizes that those suffering from HIV/AIDS are amongst the most needy. The organization's members hope that their actions will call out to the Pepperdine community and draw others into the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
In conjunction with AIDS Awareness Week (March 27 through 31) at Pepperdine's Malibu campus, YITFU: Acting on AIDS reached out to the Los Angeles community and sought to raise money for Project Angel Food. The Los Angeles nonprofit organization is dedicated to nourishing the body and spirit of men, women, and children affected by HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses. Spearheading YIFTU:Acting on AIDS' efforts were Seaver College students Lindsay Joiner and YIFTU Founder Wondirad Assefa Tsegaye.
Recently, YIFTU partnered with Acting on AIDS, a program started by Christian college students to create awareness and activism at colleges and universities across the nation centered on the global AIDS pandemic. Joiner commented that YIFTU sought the relationship to "make people aware of HIV/AIDS and that it exists not only in Africa but in our backyards. Also, we want people to know that they can be active in the fight. This could mean flying to Africa to care for the millions affected or, more likely, volunteering at an organization such as Project Angel Food to minister to those infected in our own city."
Altogether, students donated 12,400 meal points in one week (1 point equaling 1 dollar), which paid for five pallets of food weighing approximately 5,000 pounds total. "These are points that would have been wasted by students but instead were turned into $12,400 worth of food for those in need," commented Joiner.
Joiner counted herself privileged to work with the Pepperdine dining services staff, including Anabelle Rose and Samir Khalil, in computing the total meal points and ordering all the food through Sodexho, Pepperdine's catering service. "It was the dream and determination of amazing Pepperdine students who put all of the events of AIDS Awareness week into action," reflected Joiner. Due to the sheer bulk of the food order, Seaver Junior Dustin Long and his father, Paul Long, volunteered their time to make sure the food would get to those in need. "They miraculously found Bruce Pistole and Brian Mudge, two awesome Pepperdine movers who donated their time and energy to deliver all of the food to Project Angel Food in Los Angeles. It would have been a long day with multiple SUVs loaded down making numerous trips without them," noted Joiner.
Joiner encourages every student to take action in the fight against AIDS, stating it is critical that people realize they have control over the virus' devastating impact. "I am passionate about AIDS because it is an epidemic that is stealing thousands more lives than it ought to," Joiner said. "AIDS is a disease that can be stopped but is instead rapidly spreading because of ignorance, poverty, acts of sexual violence and infidelity."
Lindsay Joiner, a Seaver College junior and San Diego native, played a key role in the coordination of the YIFTU: Acting on AIDS project along with many other giving individuals. "Everyone in YIFTU: Acting on AIDS worked extremely hard on the numerous events that made the whole week come together. I was overwhelmed by the desire to truly reach out to others and the generosity of Pepperdine students," said Joiner about her experience during AIDS Awareness Week.
By Molly Drobnick