Thursday, February 16, 2012

Face AIDS to host second-annual benefit fashion show

Originally published in The Mac Weekly.

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FaceAIDS, a student organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds to fight HIV/AIDS, will host a fashion show next Friday to raise money for a Malaysian nonprofit. Organizers of the event are touting an expected $1,000 donation from President Brian Rosenberg.

“The most I was hoping for was that he would model something,” said Maria Rothenberg ’12, an organizer of the show. “The fact that he is willing to match donations up to $1,000 is really cool and generous of him.”

McLennan, another event organizer, emailed Rosenberg to inquire about donating or modeling for the event. Rosenberg declined to model; he is unsure if he will be able to attend and opted to donate instead.

The size of the donation is unprecedented for Macalester FaceAIDS.

“Last year my middle school gave us $200, but nothing like this from a faculty member,” McLennan said.

“I was motivated by the value of the cause,” Rosenberg said. “I am often inspired by the selflessness of students.”

FaceAIDS hosted its first fashion show last year.

“It was very successful,” McLennan said of the event last year. “We sold about a hundred seats and raised $1,600, which is way more than anyone was expecting.”

“Though people did come, the turnout was not that great,” said Jasmine Ball ’13, a model for the show.”

"It’s hard running a fundraiser on a college campus because there is a limit to how much you can ask for people to donate,” said Maria Rothenberg ’12, another event organizer.

Organizers expect stronger turnout and fundraising this year. One indicator of increased interest in the event is the number of participating models. Last year, the group struggled to find 20 models. This year, 65 have volunteered for the show.

“We feel confident we will out-raise what we did last year, especially with [President Rosenberg’s] very generous matching funds,” said Dinesh Rathakrishnan ’14, Co-President of FaceAIDS and another organizer of the event.

Proceeds from this year’s show will go to the PT Foundation, a nonprofit that provides education and HIV/AIDS care access to Malaysian communities. Rathakrishnan, who is Malaysian, interned for the group in the past.

The show is personal for some.

 “I am from Washington DC, where there is a very high HIV/AIDS prevalence, so it was a particularly [important] issue for me,” said Rothenberg. “The fashion show is another way to support people who are affected by HIV/AIDS.”

Rothenberg noted she is not much of a “fashion person,” but is willing to push her own limits for the cause. Though with different sentiments towards fashion, Ball also puts the cause first.

“I originally did it because it was supporting a good cause,” Ball said. “But it was also so much fun. That’s why I decided to do it again, a good cause and a lot of fun. Not to mention, I love fashion.”

Tickets are $5 each and will be sold before the event. The show starts at 7:00 p.m. on February 24 in the Smail Gallery of Olin-Rice.

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