Seniors Gio Seawood and Tracina Williams hosted the North Carolina Student Global AIDS Campaign State Conference at NC State.
When Gio Seawood (2005) and Tracina Williams (2005) applied for a GRASP in 2003, their thoughts were only of attending the National Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC) Conference in Washington, DC. Little did they know, two years later they’d be hosting a conference of their own.
Inspired by what they learned at the national conference, they returned to NC State to found their own SGAC chapter. With the support of Health Promotions, the Park Scholarship and the HIV Task Force, they’ve hosted AIDS panel discussions, movie viewings and a sexual empowerment party. Recently SGAC participated in the Pan-Afrikan Festival, presenting Wrapping It Up: You, Me and HIV.
This past weekend marked the culmination of Gio and Tracina’s work, as NC State hosted the State SGAC Conference. The theme was one close to the organizer’s hearts: Educating, Organizing and Mobilizing Students to End the Global AIDS Pandemic.
“Because young people aged 15-24 made up 50% of new HIV cases around the world last year, it is apparent that the response of our generation to this disease is going to help decide the outcome of this war,” says Tracina. “It is empowering to know that as a student, I too can make do my part in ending the AIDS pandemic.”
Spanning Saturday and Sunday, the conference was open to all North Carolina students. Saturday’s sessions focused on education, with workshops presenting worldwide and state statistics that demonstrated the impact of AIDS and the roadblocks that are set up for treatment in North Carolina and beyond. Sunday’s discussions centered around action, as students from across the nation led sessions about becoming advocates and activists for the cause.
Both seniors have already made plans for next year. Gio will attend law school, with the goal of becoming a family law attorney and children’s advocate. Tracina plans to attend public health school and obtain a Masters of Public Health degree with a concentration in health policy. Afterwards, she hopes to work in the nonprofit sector providing access to treatment for those living with HIV and AIDS.
Above, Tracina Williams (2005) and Gio Seawood (2005).