Dozens of candles lit the Sculpture Garden outside the Lory Student Center Thursday night, each held by students and community members in remembrance of local victims of HIV and AIDS.
Somber images of children living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) filled a projector screen before the World AIDS Day candlelight vigil began.
"Many people are afraid to be connected to those with the disease, but they shouldn't," said senior computer engineering major Dino Triolo. "A family friend about 10 or 11 years ago died of AIDS. He made me understand the disease and he was no different from anyone else."
Local HIV patients Dave Mason and John McGlynn took turns relating to the audience their diagnoses with the disease and the daily struggles that have followed. Both men said the way society treats people with the disease is especially harsh.
"Take control and get tested," McGlynn said. "Don't go through the hell I wet through."
The crowd then took up candles and moved outside to the Sculpture Garden where a trio of African drummers performed – HIV was first discovered in Africa, and the drums signified a tribal call to action, or in this case a call to AIDS awareness. Organizers read names from list people who have died from the disease to show they have not been forgotten.
"It's important to speak for the millions who can't or who have died," said senior technical journalism major Josh Gold , an event organizer.
The names came from a list provided by the Northern Colorado AIDS Project as well as from those attending the vigil. The evening continued indoors with a partial showing of the movie, "A Closer Walk." The film, narrated by Glenn Close and Will Smith, showed the stories of adults and children living with HIV/AIDS.
"I felt the event had its own life," said Jacqueline Sene , a coordinator for international education. "The people who participate make the event what it is. It's a moving experience."
Matthew Helmer , director of the Lory Student Center Arts Program attended the vigil and organized the Day Without Art as a part of World AIDS Day.
"We work with everyone for AIDS awareness, and Day Without Art gets people's attention, and that's what it's supposed to do," Helmer said.
Several from the crowd of more than 60 who attended the candlelight vigil stayed around to converse with guest speakers and organizers after the film. However, an overarching theme noted by several different presenters and coordinators the issue's importance and continuing relevance.
"I want to make sure people don't look at this as a one-day thing," Gold said. "This issue needs to be addressed all year."