Dec. 7-13, 2001
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Students promote healthy behavior

Casteen reflects on the University's achievements and the national tragedy in his annual message

In English, a new way to a B.A.,/M.A.
There is room for both science and religion in seeking to understand the universe, Trinh says
Off the Shelf -- recently published books by faculty and staff
Holiday open house
Important dates
Cross & co. create five-star experience at Carr's Hill
Students promote healthy behavior
Fourth-Year 5K race
Photos by Jenny Gerow
Saturday morning 442 runners, including 251 fourth-year students, participated in the Fourth-Year 5K race. Sponsored by the Office of Health Promotion, the run benefits the Leslie Baltz Foundation and offers students a healthier way to celebrate the last home football game than the dubious tradition of fourth-years drinking a fifth of alcohol.

By Anne Bromley

Besides cheering the Cavaliers to victory over Penn State in the last home football game Dec. 1, U.Va. students and others ran or walked, listened or lit candles to support two worthy causes: curbing alcohol abuse, specifically targeting the “fourth-year fifth,” and commemorating World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day

candlelight vigil
A walking candlelight vigil was held last week to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in the community.

The University community marked World AIDS Day — Dec. 1 — with several events around that date, from a talk by Ronald Bayer, a Columbia University professor and author of the 2000 book, AIDS Doctors: Voices from the Epidemic, to a banner-making contest sponsored by the Nursing School.

Since the AIDS epidemic began 20 years ago, more than 60 million people have been infected with the virus, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. At the end of 2001, an estimated 40 million people globally were living with HIV. HIV/AIDS is now the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. In many parts of the developing world, the majority of new infections occurred in young adults, with young women especially vulnerable. About one-third of those currently living with HIV/AIDS are aged 15-24. Most of them do not know they carry the virus. Many millions more know nothing or too little about HIV to protect themselves against it.

To help increase awareness about HIV/AIDS at U.Va. and in the Charlottesville community, a walking candlelight vigil was held Nov. 29, sponsored by the by AIDS Services Group and U.Va. Nursing School’s HIV/AIDS course. Participants met outside Harris Teeter that evening and walked to Carr’s Field. The event included remarks by nursing professor Reba Childress and others and the reading of the names of those who have died of AIDS. Students displayed banners commemorating World AIDS Day that they made for a Nursing School fundraiser. Twenty minutes of candlelight were meant to signify the 20 years since AIDS was identified.

Pieces of the AIDS Memorial Quilt were displayed in Newcomb Hall Monday through Wednesday. The quilt, begun in 1987, comprises more than 44,000 colorful panels, smaller portions of which make up traveling exhibits for prevention education. The AIDS Quilt is the largest ongoing community arts project in the world. The exhibit was brought here by “Promoting Negativity,” a student group dedicated to promoting an HIV-negative University.

Alternatives to the fourth-year fifth

Saturday morning, 442 participants, including 251 fourth–year students and other members of the University and local communities, arose early and went to the starting line at the Aquatics and Fitness Center for the Fourth-Year 5K race. Sponsored by the Office of Health Promotion and Peer Health Education, the run benefits the Leslie Baltz Foundation.

The race, held for the first time in 1992, was originally organized to offer a healthier way to celebrate the last home football game than the dubious tradition of fourth-year students drinking a fifth of alcohol. Then in 1997, fourth-year student Leslie Baltz died in an alcohol-related fall on the day of the final home football game, and her parents established a scholarship fund in her name.

A student group called “Fourth-Years Acting Responsibly” had more than 1,000 students sign pledge cards not to drink the fourth-year fifth, said Sarah Hobeika, a member of the 2002 Class of Trustees who helped organize the effort. The group passed out about 950 orange Project FAR cups with free Pepsi soft drinks by the beginning of the football game’s third quarter, she said. FAR also held a raffle, awarding prizes at the Lawn lighting ceremony Dec. 5, supported with a $1,500 gift from Anheuser-Busch.

Surveys have shown a decline in the number of students who’ve participated in the fourth-year fifth drinking binge over the past few years, according to Susan Bruce, director of the Center for Alcohol and Substance Education.

“The data does not come from the same survey, but the longitudinal study from 1999 indicated that 16 percent of fourth-years attempted or completed the fourth-year fifth,” compared to 13.2 percent in the Health Behavior Survey from 2001.


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