|Annual Warner House Gala Will Support AIDS Care and Research At Home and Abroad
November 11, 2009
by Kelly Beggs
Warner Hall eating house at Davidson College will host its fifth annual Red and Black Ball on Saturday, Dec. 5, to benefit organizations involved in AIDS patient care and research. The event begins at 8 p.m. and ends at 1 a.m. in the Lilly Gallery of Chambers Building, and features the band "Sunset Drive," complimentary desserts, a cash bar and a silent auction.
The event is open to the public. Tickets are available in the Alvarez College Union, or by emailing Kelsey Lilley. The cost is $35 for community members and $15 for students. Prices increase by $5 if purchased at the door.
Silent auction items include a signed football from the Carolina Panthers, a Wii Guitar Hero, a Coach handbag, pieces of handmade jewelry, original artwork and photography.
This year's keynote speaker will be Davidson's Dolan Professor of Biology Verna Case. Case is the director of a Davidson summer research and service program for students in Mwandi, Zambia. The program's activities center on a United Church of Zambia mission hospital in Mwandi, and a portion of the proceeds from the Red and Black Ball will benefit that facility. The other beneficiary is the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Case said, "About 90 percent of the patients in the Mwandi hospital are HIV positive, and by the time most of them come in, it's just too late to do anything for them. HIV has such a stigma there that most people are afraid to come to the hospital, and they just ignore the symptoms. But we're hoping that by making improvements to the hospital, more people will come in time to be helped."
Money raised over the years at the Red and Black Ball have financed large renovation projects at the hospital. Case said, "So far, we've refurbished the entire infectious disease ward, but parts of the hospital are still in disrepair. We're next going to refurbish the surgical suite, which includes the maternity area, and then work on areas in the women's ward."
Emily May '10, president of Warner Hall, said, "In recent years, HIV/AIDS has increasingly impacted women and children. That's a significant reason that we, as a women's social and philanthropic organization, are committed to this global health issue in particular."
In 2007 almost 63 percent of adults infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa were women. Globally more than 1,000 children under 15 are infected with HIV every day, mostly as a result of mother-to-child transmission of the virus.
The other beneficiary organization from the Red and Black Ball, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, is an international organization dedicated to preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
"The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is one of the most well-known organizations out there," said Betsy Lyles '11, the community service chair for Warner Hall. She and co-chair Hannah Bohbrink '11 have already raised more than $3,000 this year through a babysitting service, a charity concert and a date auction. Last year, the Red and Black Ball raised about $17,000, and the goal for this year's event is $20,000. The organizers expect 400 to 500 people to attend.
Bohbrink said, "A lot can be done when you unite the 150 people in our house around one goal." Each house member has committed to putting at least three hours of volunteer service toward the Red and Black Ball this semester. House president May said, "Our members recognize the severity of the global AIDS crisis and are committed to combating it."
During the week preceding the ball, other student organizations will collaborate with Warner Hall to increase campus awareness of HIV/AIDS issues. A biology seminar on AIDS/HIV will show the film "Philadelphia" on Wednesday, Dec. 2, in the Smith 900 Room. On Thursday, Dec. 3, the Health Advisors will sponsor a lecture by an HIV-positive speaker.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,800 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.