Student Spotlight: Henry Li

May 5th, 2014 at 11:35 pm


Meet a group of dedicated students and draw inspiration from their stories in the monthly blog series, FACE AIDS Student Spotlight!

Name: Henry Li

Chapter: West Linn High School FACE AIDS

Position: President

Why are you a FACE AIDS student?

I am a FACE AIDS student because I want to help the global community, as well as create awareness in my community and improve my leadership skills.

The progress you’ve made since you founded your chapter last year is incredible, including an over 800% increase in fundraising! To what do you attribute this success?

I think that the most helpful thing for the chapter was the increase in organization and follow-through. We planned  events and projects in more detail, and held everyone accountable for staying committed. We also used our large membership to simultaneously plan fundraisers, which allowed us to hold many different events.

You have one of the larger memberships in our student network. How did you build and continue to motivate such a dedicated group – particularly when it comes to fundraising?

We networked through our close friend groups to put together people that got along and enjoy working together. The chapter is very cohesive and this helps motivate members to participate in different projects and fundraisers. Friends work on fundraisers together and this makes the whole experience more enjoyable for everyone.

What kinds of obstacles have you faced since starting your chapter? How have you overcome them?

The toughest obstacle was getting through all the guidelines and administration at school. We had to go through a lot to set the club up and get our projects started last year. This is mostly not a problem anymore, just by being patient and working through it.

What has been your favorite FACE AIDS moment this year?

My favorite moment was our Burgerville fundraiser. Five members got together at a Burgerville and helped out for a night, and we got to keep a percentage of their profits. The five of us sat around in a booth, hung out, and did some errands every once in a while. We had a great time being together and helping the word, which I think is the greatest thing about our chapter.

Any advice you would give your fellow FACE AIDS students?

Have a great time with friends. Everything we do is so much more fun when we do things with people we like to be around. We do fundraisers and projects either as an entire chapter, or in small groups of friends. It makes our chapter more meaningful to everyone and everything that we do.



Student Spotlight: Monica Willoner

April 7th, 2014 at 7:05 pm

student spotlight 2


Name: Monica Willoner

Chapter: University of California – Los Angeles

Position: Education Committee

Why are you a FACE AIDS student?

I wanted to support and make a difference in fighting the AIDS epidemic. FACE AIDS is a wonderful cause to be a part of and I think it is a great way to help and motivate others in making a difference as well.

Starting a personal fundraising campaign for the first time is a pretty bold move. What made you decide to try the Spring Ca-Ching?

Raising funds for this cause turned out to be easier than I thought; my friends and family jumped at the opportunity to contribute, and some of them surprised me by giving more than I would have expected, given what I might know about their financial situation.

What is the major lesson you’ve learned from participating in the Spring Ca-Ching?

Participating in this event has given me great satisfaction and I plan to take key learnings from it and put them into future fundraising campaigns for AIDS and other causes.

What has been your favorite FACE AIDS moment this year? 

I think in all the instances where we have been able to fundraise and see big progress in our campaign. Projects such as doing bake sales and raising awareness to other students on campus are great because not only are you raising money, but you’re informing them about how they’re making a difference in the world.

What keeps you excited and passionate about this work?

Remembering that all the fundraising and support goes to an excellent cause. I find it extremely rewarding that I am making an impact on people who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. I feel really fortunate to be in a position to help these people in Rwanda and other African countries.

Any advice you would give your fellow FACE AIDS students? Especially those trying personal fundraising campaigns for the first time?

I think it is definitely hard trying to begin fundraising any campaign, but I think other FACE AIDS students will be pleasantly surprised at how much people are willing to help out, regardless if they have a lot of money or not. Again, this is a great cause worth fighting for and supporting, so spread the word!

Email if you know a student who should be featured on FACE AIDS Student Spotlight!

Student Spotlight: Audrey Hanson

March 3rd, 2014 at 5:10 pm

   student spotlight 3 

Meet a group of dedicated students and draw inspiration from their stories in the monthly blog series, FACE AIDS Student Spotlight!

Name: Audrey Hanson

Chapter: University of Wisconsin, Madison

Position: President


Why are you a FACE AIDS student?

I am a FACE AIDS student because I want to contribute my skills and passion for global health to the fight against HIV/AIDS. I also want to help make a difference and mobilize other students to help too.

What are some of the unique benefits and challenges of being a new chapter? How have you addressed these challenges and leveraged these benefits on campus?

One benefit of being a new chapter is that we have complete freedom to try out different organizational models for conducting meetings and events on campus. Being a new student organization on such a large campus also gives us a lot of opportunities to become involved with different institutions on campus. A large campus also poses some challenges in advertising ourselves and getting our names out there without getting lost. We’ve addressed these challenges by utilizing different academic departments to help us advertise and partnering with other related student organizations.

You’ve done a great job building a large and strong chapter, especially considering the high volume of global health clubs on your campus. What is your recruitment strategy?

Our recruitment strategy is to target any students interested in global health or social justice. At UW-Madison, there is the opportunity to gain a certificate (minor) in Global Health and the group of students interested in this field is growing every semester. We’ve also targeted a lot of the younger students by being completely transparent about the leadership opportunities available to them, since our entire executive board is graduating this year.

What has been your favorite FACE AIDS moment this year?

Our first bake-sale. It was so awesome to see all the members come together and contribute their time and baking talents. It really solidified our identity as the FACE AIDS UW-Madison Chapter.  It was also really satisfying to raise a relatively large amount of money our first time out on the street.

Your chapter has already raised nearly $1,000 in the middle of your first year. How have you done it?

We’ve had a couple members take on personal fundraising campaigns, I myself raised money as I trained for my first half marathon. We also held a bake sale, restaurant fundraiser, and continued to sell pins or take donations throughout our first semester. I think of good mix of fundraising strategies is key to keeping the funds flowing.

What keeps you excited and passionate about this work?

Knowing that I am contributing to something bigger and more important than me. I feel very strongly that health is a human right every person in the world should have easy access to quality, comprehensive health care. FACE AIDS has given me and other students a platform to help make a difference and contribute to the global health movement.

Any advice you would give your fellow FACE AIDS students?

Remember why you joined or started FACE AIDS, I think the primary motivators are important factors in our efforts to change the world.

Email if you know a student who should be featured on FACE AIDS Student Spotlight!

#Giving an Identity

December 3rd, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Dear Friend,

Today, thousands of organizations have joined together to promote #GivingTuesday, a day to ask not what savings we will get at the mall or online, but instead what can we give.

To participate in this day of #Giving, we will be sharing pictures of FACE AIDS students on our Facebook page, which answer the question, why do I give?


On #GivingTuesday, we ask, what does FACE AIDS give to our students?
We certainly ask a lot of our students. We ask them to take risks, to experiment with new leadership styles or new events, even if they are scared they may fail. We ask them to strive towards higher fundraising goals, especially when it pushes them outside of their comfort zone. We ask them to educate other chapters, and to share their successes and challenges with peers across the country.

But in asking all of this of our students, we give them an opportunity to act. We give our students a community of peers who share their passion for building a better world. We give our students an identity, as leaders committed to social justice, as global citizens who recognize their responsibility to be part of the solution.

This past Sunday was the 25th World AIDS Day, and this week FACE AIDS chapters across the country are leading events on their campuses to raise awareness and funds to address the HIV epidemic. Whether we address HIV any other global issue, it is clear that any solution will only be possible with the cooperation of many.

Our mission at FACE AIDS is to inspire this community of many who are committed to building solutions. Our mission is to inspire a generation of leaders who ask not what will I get, but what can I give.

Thank you for joining us in spreading this identity, and inspiring a movement of #Giving, this Tuesday, and every day.

With gratitude,


Margo Watson

If you have already made your end of year gift to FACE AIDS, thank you for you support! We are so grateful to have you be part of this movement.

If you have been waiting to donate, make a #GivingTuesday contribution today, and inspire a generation of leaders who believe in the power of giving.



Student Spotlight: Shayla Minteer on World AIDS Day

December 1st, 2013 at 4:14 pm

This year FACE AIDS National asked students, “what does World AIDS Day mean to you?” The two student pieces shared this week reflect on the significance of World AIDS Day, as well as their work with FACE AIDS. We’re hearing first from Shayla Minteer, Founder and Chapter Leader at the University of Rhode Island. 

World AIDS Day is a realization of the impact of our work, a somber salute to those who have come before us, and a look ahead at the long journey through which we will persevere. At this time of year, I often think of the over 1,000 individuals from my home state of Rhode Island who have died from AIDS-related illnesses. Although I may not know all of their names or recognize all of their faces, I know that their energy will carry on through the many lives that will be saved because of the passion that they have inspired- passion that is realized through organizations such as FACE AIDS.

We are FACE AIDS. We are empowered young activists and we have the cure for AIDS: Prevention. But preventing HIV transmission is not as easy as wearing a condom every time. HIV is entwined in social factors, in discrimination and miseducation and most of all, in poverty. AIDS and its determinants are not confined to one localized area, but effect all parts of our world. Fortunately, through FACE AIDS we have the ability to think globally and act locally- to fundraise for the most AIDS ravaged countries while raising awareness in our own communities,to be local leaders yet global contributors. We may be young, but we have the power to end AIDS.

“AIDS does not fall out of the sky and onto people’s heads.” At the 2012 Boston FACE AIDS conference, Joia Mukherjee, Chief Medical Officer of Partners in Health, discussed the correlation between AIDS and poverty. She said that people living without roofs over their homes were more likely to be infected with AIDS than those with roofs. She spoke of women in Rwanda who transport water to their homes to feed their children, often being sexually coerced in route. Joia’s words had a profound effect on how I view the intersection of local and global poverty and on my actions as a FACE AIDS chapter leader.

Although we may not have to transport water on college campuses in the United States, we face another type of poverty- a lack of awareness. Youth in the US currently face the most rapid increases in HIV transmission of any age group. In addition, states such as Rhode Island have been faced in the past year with severely restricted government funding for HIV prevention.

At URI we believe that if one of us has AIDS, we all have AIDS. It is our turn now to lift up our peers and neighbors with empowered education, to fill the gaps in HIV prevention, and to ensure that our generation will be the last to do so. It is time for us to support our brothers and sisters in Rwanda who need the comprehensive healthcare that we have to offer. We have so much to give to each other- so much love. We are FACE AIDS and we have the cure. But we must stand together now and become more than FACE AIDS- we must become the end.



Giving a Face and Voice to the Global Fund: An Interview With Joyce Kamwana

November 22nd, 2013 at 6:08 pm

By: Kate Bjorklund

What does it mean to not only recognize, but to honor World AIDS Day? At FACE AIDS, we believe that in addition to acknowledging the local and global impact of HIV, we must also take decisive action to both prevent the spread of HIV and improve the quality of life for those who are living with HIV.

For FACE AIDS students across the United States and abroad, World AIDS Day is a time to screen films, moderate expert panels, engage their friends and family through personal fundraising campaigns, and invite speakers who are living with HIV to share their stories.

For President Obama, World AIDS Day is a time to ensure that the United States commits five billion dollars to the Global Fund at this year’s Replenishment Conference on December 2nd and 3rd.

Organizations like RESULTS are working to ensure President Obama honors his role in creating an AIDS-free generation by fully funding the Global Fund. RESULTS mobilizes ordinary citizens in a chapter model (similar to FACE AIDS) to lobby their legislators and write op-eds, editorials, and letters to the editor around the issue of poverty. Through these actions, grassroots volunteers of all ages and backgrounds educate their communities while holding their elected officials accountable to creating and supporting legislation to end poverty and improve health outcomes at home and abroad.

It was at a RESULTS meeting in the Bay Area that I was introduced to Joyce Kamwana, an international HIV and Global Fund advocate from Malawi, and Blair Hinderliter, the Director of Communications and Operations at RESULTS. Together, they are on a RESULTS-led media tour to promote the Global Fund. While Blair is leading this tour as part of his role at RESULTS, Joyce traveled to the U.S. to join this tour in order to “give a face and voice to what the Global Fund has done.”

meeting 1 office 1

Joyce tested positive for HIV in 1988. Three years later, she lost her husband to an AIDS-related illness. Soon after, she lost her job due to HIV related stigma and was therefore unable to afford HIV treatment for 15 years. Her low immune response led her to contract TB in both 1998 and 2001. Finally, in 2004, Joyce found out about free medication available through the Global Fund. Her treatment has since been uninterrupted. Joyce now works with a civil society group called Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi (COWLHA) and trains people living with HIV/AIDS in positive living to help them in their new lifestyle. She has also worked for the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, and Dept. of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS, and has developed materials on HIV, human rights, and gender for the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation.

Last week, I had the good fortune to host Joyce and Blair at the FACE AIDS National Office. I spoke with Joyce about her work supporting people living with HIV, how she has benefited from the Global Fund, and the role of students in the fight to end AIDS.

Here are some of the highlights of our conversation:

On her work in Malawi with the Coalition for Women Living with HIV/AIDS:
J: Way back in 2006, we sat down as women with HIV/AIDS and decided to say … HIV impacts us differently because we are women…

[In Malawi] We have support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS […] I could be sitting with my partner and I may be having problems with my partner and I may not be able to air that out because in Malawi there’s still a culture of male dominance. So we wanted to have a conducive environment where we could sort of compare notes, air out our issues, and work out solutions. So the areas we’re looking at right now are women’s rights, empowerment of women through income-generating activities, also some HIV/AIDS programs, and how to combat gender-based violence, especially against women.

When one tests HIV positive, we say that is not the end of life. In a sense, it’s the beginning of a new life. A new life in the sense that now you have to live like someone who is HIV positive and there are certainly do’s and don’ts that you need to follow. Positive living is like a package which includes nutrition, positive prevention in order to not get re-infected, having a stress free mind so that you don’t lower your immunity further, and also joining people in support groups where you can sort of encourage each other, and also commit yourself to God in prayer and maybe have a healthy relationship with your creator. Because when everything else fails, people tend to turn to god. Also, in the positive living package, you have to be kept abreast about what is happening—the new developments that are happening around HIV/AIDS and also encourage each other to get treated for the mildest sign of illness. You might have the flu, just an ordinary flu or cough yourself, and can will clear away just by drinking lots of water. But with me, if I neglect that, it might turn into something serious and end up being life threatening.

On the situation in Malawi before and after the Global Fund:
J: AIDS was discovered in Malawi in 1985. Malawi has a population of 15 million and about 1 million is infected with HIV. 63% of the people who are HIV positive are also infected with TB. Before […] the Global Fund in Malawi, we used to have 10 people dying every hour due to AIDS related illnesses. After […] the Global Fund, we only have about one person dying per day. With TB, whether one is HIV positive or not, if you get the right treatment and adhere to the right treatment we have a success rate of more than 85%. [Before the Global Fund] HIV itself was looked at as a death sentence. You’d get treated for TB and cured but then if you didn’t manage the HIV part, most likely you would die due to lowered immunity or other opportunistic infections. And out of the one million people who are HIV positive in Malawi close to half a million are accessing free treatment through the Global Fund.

On the role of the U.S. in the Global Fund:
J: For each and every dollar the United States contributes toward the Global Fund, it translates to two dollars from other donor countries. So the U.S. is sort of looked at, for lack of a better word, as the super power. I think in so many ways it has been leading by example. People might […] have negative attitudes toward the U.S., but we sort of look at the U.S. as the leader […] in so many things.

On the role of students in HIV/AIDS activism:
J: Age is of utmost importance, because […] HIV does not discriminate. HIV doesn’t look at how young one is, or educated, poor, rich, fat, thin, or whatever. HIV affects everyone […] You might not be infected but you are affected. If you leave out the young generation […] they might not have the information in regards to prevention and also might not have the information as to how the virus is transmitted.

The past few years we’ve been talking about an AIDS-free generation […] I would say it’s high-time the younger generation committed themselves to say yes, we are going to take part in creating an AIDS free generation.

[…] We say the youth are the leaders of tomorrow. If we are to wait for tomorrow, tomorrow might never come. So it’s right and proper that they start now and assume a leadership role while they are still young.

B: I would imagine most of your students are able to vote or will be able to vote in a year. So really, they hold important power in the districts where they live. And we have an important election coming up next year so they should be meeting with their members of Congress or at least writing them letters saying that look, this is an important issue to me. Or they could write an article in their student newspaper.

On how students can take action for the Global Fund Replenishment Conference:
B: For students in the US, they should go to They can easily submit a letter to the editor of their local paper in support of the Global Fund leading up to the replenishment. We’re asking the U.S. to commit to five billion dollars over the next three years, so to make a five billion pledge at that replenishment conference which will lead to fifteen billion dollars total.

Obama has been supportive of this issue over the past five years and came out with the largest pledge ever back in 2010, so we’re counting on him to pull through again. […] The more we’re talking about this, the more attention the U.S. government will give to it.

For more information on the Global Fund and what you can do leading up to the Replenishment Conference, visit and

The Return to Real Life

September 5th, 2013 at 8:00 pm

I did it.

It’s something that I still can’t believe. After the tire dipping ceremony, I called my mom.

With a shaky voice I told her, “I finished, Mom,” before bursting into tears.

I never finish anything in my life; my homework, my dinner, books, you name it, and I have yet to complete it. But this, this insanity, I finished? I’m still baffled.

It’s so hard to explain, these 63 days of my life. Yes, I rode a bike and it was tiring, very tiring. It was hot. We got lost, frequently. We slept little, and ate much. We fundraised (or at least tried). Then, we biked some more.

But, most importantly, I experienced America while broadcasting my indefinite support for the fight against HIV/AIDS and global healthy equity.

But, what does this mean for me now? After the ride ended, I flew back to Ohio with one day to spare before starting the fall semester. Now I’m back at school, pursuing my undergraduate degree in Public Health.

Sometimes we associate college with the abandonment of life, especially ‘extracurriculars,’ for the books and papers. For me, this time back at school is about much more than just losing mass in my recently gained leg muscles and ignoring the existence of all bicycles; it is the true test of my personal fight against HIV.

Anyone can bike across the country, I truly believe that, but do we really believe that anyone can join the fight against HIV?

I believe yes, I know yes.

This is my new mission; my magna carta; my creed.

My classmates, friends, family, and neighbors are my new coworkers in this fight; they just don’t know it yet. We all have a piece that we need to play in this fight, or we’ll watch progress submit to tragedy. My new mission is to help people figure out what that piece is.

The reality is that the fight does not start with HIV, it starts when we, as a people, believe that life is worth fighting for, regardless of cost and we DO SOMETHING about it.

So here is to the continuance of DOING SOMETHING. Will you join me?

Written by Amanda Feairheller

Colorful Colorado

July 29th, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Sunday July 28th, 2013

On July 6th, the team crossed the greatly anticipated Utah-Colorado border into the quaint town of Dinosaur, CO. After taking the necessary “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” team photos, some members celebrated with homemade milkshakes at the highly-recommended souvenir shop. Although energy levels were low, spirits were high with anticipation of beautiful landscapes, legendary hosts, and plentiful rest days in Edwards and Silverthorne.

Lying down to rest in Dinosaur National Monument Park at 6,000 feet, I dreamt of the mountain passes that we would face: Vail Pass at 10,662 feet and Loveland Pass at 11,990 feet. It didn’t take a calculator to come to the conclusion that we were about to do some serious climbing.


The preceding months presented many obstacles and challenges to every team member on the individual level and the collective level: balancing kick-off fundraising with final exam studying, purchasing a bicycle and wearing in the seat (the battle continues), and building relationships and the sense of team through technology. Without a doubt, bicycling above 10,000 feet became an enormous obstacle for every RAA team member.


Taking each day at a time, the team focused on one climb at a time until it was summitted only to then fly down a hill and start grinding upward again. Before we knew it, we stood next to our bikes as tall as we ever had before atop Loveland Pass elated with relief and adrenaline. The team hollered in triumph, hugged in happiness, and smiled ear to ear for the camera.

Looking back at Colorado, by far my favorite state to date (yes, I WILL return), our accomplishments extended beyond mountain passes. During our first rest day in Edwards, Colorado, Dana and Eric made the teams’ first television and radio appearance, broadcasting our mission to be a powerful force in the fight to end HIV/AIDS in our generation. A sponsored event at the Vail Resort owned bar called the Fitz followed that morning’s media coverage. Two days later in Silverthorne, CO, Kate, Laura, and I entered the local radio waves and announced our future presence at the outdoor amphitheater concert that evening where we spoke with the community about our purposeful sense of adventure. We were welcomed with smiling faces, American currency, and encouraging wishes for the following mountain passes.


When asked what my greatest challenge has been on the ride, I now must explain every aspect of the Ride Against AIDS because each day does not end at the summit of mile high mountain passes or the moment my saddle sores cease contact with my seat. It is the downtime off of the bike when the team steps up, reaches out, and goes the extra mile to carry out the mission of FACE AIDS that impresses me most. It is one thing to ride a bicycle from San Francisco to Boston, it is another to raise $44,561, spread HIV/AIDS awareness, and to build indivisible bonds with six courageous cyclists.

To donate to the 2013 Ride Against AIDS team, visit

 Written by Max Smith

Rest Day in Provo, Utah

July 11th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Rest Day in Provo, Utah

Our rest day in Provo was anything but restful. We went grocery shopping, jumped in a river, and even partook in the annual July 3rdevening bike ride. However, the most meaningful part of the day (in my opinion) was spending an hour sitting on the floor of a gym with a bunch of kids from the Boys and Girls Club. There were about fifteen of them, ranging in age from six to eleven years old. When spending all of your time with people over the age of eighteen, it’s easy to forget how insightful and impressive younger people can be. We explained to them what we were doing, played some icebreaker games, and answered a whole bunch of questions. The hour flew by, and at the end we asked the students to reflect on what they had gotten out of our brief visit. One of the younger, quieter boys – his name was Cannon if I remember correctly – raised his hand first. He said: “It’s good to help others.” The conversation ended with one of the oldest girls, clearly quite thoughtful and mature, saying, “It’s important to do what you like to do, and if you can do it for a good cause, that’s even better.” It was simple. These kids got it. For the first time – despite all the money I’ve raised and the adults I’ve talked to – I felt like I really was making a little bit of a difference.

-Laura K.

Each kid signed their name on a red ribbon and pinned it to our sign. We hope to continue filling it up as the Ride goes on.

Scenes From Highway 50 aka “The Loneliest Road in America”

July 1st, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Saturday, June 29th, 2013:


Team Ride Against AIDS 2013 has been trekking through Nevada since reaching Carson City on Tuesday after a beautiful descent from Lake Tahoe. We spent a refreshing rest day in Fallon, Nevada on Wednesday, “The Oasis of Nevada,” with our wonderful hosts Patty and Tom Fleming. Their neighbors Penny and Jay and Sara and Jim were amazing hosts as well, treating us to two lovely nights of wonderful home-cooked meals, great conversation, and comfy beds to sleep in.


Thursday morning we made sure to leave early as the sun was rising around 5am, because we knew we had a long day ahead of us and it was going to get HOT. And we had 114 miles to go to Austin, NV. So we rolled out early and started our journey on Highway 50.

Though we have been traveling a pretty desolate route through Nevada along the Loneliest Road, the highlights have come from the friendly people we’ve met along the way.


Leonard, a Eureka resident who was born in Ohio and raised in Indiana, met us this morning (Saturday) around 6am to see us out of Eureka. He joined us for the stretch out of town uphill towards Pinto Summit and left us at the top for a great start to the day.

Can’t forget fellow cyclist Daniel who we crossed paths with in Eureka. Though he was headed west and our crew east, we got some great advice from his self-supported journeying self, having started from Chicago and taken a similar route westward which we are planning on following east. It was great to share stories with a fellow cyclist, especially the one he told us of a guy he came across walking from Seattle to New York with a goat!

Lastly, our 80ish mile journey towards Ely along, you guessed it, Highway 50, brought us upon Jonah. Jonah has been traversing the United States for 10 months, having started in Delaware at the water on August 31, 2012. He brought out his travel guitar he carries on his person and treated us to a fantastic version of “On The Road Again” before we parted ways.

Highway 50 has been a pretty lonely stretch but the people we have met and the stories we have shared along the way have definitely made up for it.


-Kate P.

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