Second Gala for Change aims for end to AIDS

On Saturday, Nov. 10, Men of Action and Change and Face AIDS will present their second annual Gala for Change. This gala, which consists of an art auction and a traditional Kenyan dinner, donates all of the proceeds to Partners in Health and Faith's House of Hope. The event has been organized by seniors Charlie Elliot and Jose Rios of MAC and sophomores Sarah Bain and Kendall Schultes of Face AIDS.

The idea for a charity auction was formed last year within MAC, at which time Elliot was in Africa. "Helping the local community is great," Elliot said. "But we wanted to reach outside the scope of Geneseo. AIDS is such a huge issue all over the world. It seemed like a great cause to have a benefit for." Back at Geneseo, Rios began speaking with Lindsey Doyle, who was president of Face AIDS at the time. Both were seeking to raise money for a good cause, and determined to pool members and resources to execute the first charity auction gala last semester.

Having gained a few insights from last year's experience, the team behind this semester's Gala for Change is promising an even bigger and better event. Although they hadn't planned on having the gala so soon, time constraints compelled them to move quickly on organization of the event. "This was also mine and Charlie's last semester here," Rios stated. "This is something we both felt really strongly about so we decided to pursue this during this semester so we could still be involved."

According to Elliot, "We're hoping to see a lot more involvement from faculty and staff this semester. They all seem very interested in the event but there doesn't seem to be too big of a turnout on their part." So far, they said, things already appear to be in better shape for the second annual gala. "We have already received at least 17 RSVPs from community members outside of the college," Schultes said. "This is a great way to bring the college and the community together for a great cause."

For this year's gala, Elliot will speak about his time in Africa, taking people through his experiences in pictures. He'll also be helping a professional chef prepare traditional Kenyan food, including Ugali, a type of cornmeal, flatbread, Chicken Tika, Sukuma Wiki which is made from kale, and Irio, a rice and corn combination. "Sukuma Wiki is seen all over Kenya. It's cheap and affordable so even poor people can afford it," Elliot stated. "However even the very rich include it in their meals." Jonathan Reingold will return to the second annual Gala for Change to play piano during dinner.

After the dinner, everyone in attendance is welcome to bid on an array of artwork to further the charity. "It's a combination of student artwork and local artists," Schultes stated. "The student artwork is very well done…one of the student artists is even nationally known. He's planning on making a piece just for the gala." Bain added that, with the upcoming holiday season, "They make really great gifts too."

"It's a great alternative for a Saturday night," Elliot said. "It's a nice dinner you can go to, get dressed up, help people and maybe learn something new, all for a great cause."