More than music

Aaron Vehling

After embarking on a 10-day journey to southern Africa to learn about the AIDS epidemic firsthand, Dan Haseltine, lead singer for the band Jars of Clay, began sharing his experience.

The band made its second college presentation on the AIDS crisis Saturday before its concert in Zorn Arena.

Haseltine said he wants to show the various ways AIDS is affecting the lives of African people. He noted problems related to the virus are hurting people at the family, community and economic levels.

Haseltine said one economic problem occurring frequently since the AIDS epidemic began to spread is a disrupted agricultural sector in many African nations.

“Every inch of land is farmed that can be,” he said. “The problem is, people get very antsy and harvest immature crops.” These immature crops are worthless to buyers and are often left to rot in barns, he said.

Another problem that Haseltine found on his trip to Africa was the lack of acknowledgement that an AIDS crisis is taking place.

“The fact that people aren’t talking about (AIDS) is a huge problem,” he said.

The band is particularly interested in making more AIDS drugs available to Africans with the virus and making drugs available to pregnant women with HIV/AIDS so the virus is not passed to their child.

While the main focus of the presentation was AIDS in Africa, the band reminded audience members that AIDS could directly impact their lives as well.

Matt Odmark, guitarist for the band, said that according to the Presidents Advisory Committee on AIDS and HIV research, American college students would be the next group hit by the virus.

Those who attended the presentation said they were able to take away added knowledge and understanding.

“(Volunteering) is something I really want to be able to become involved with, whether it be doing missions in Africa or (something else),” senior Ben White said. “It’s something I feel really drawn to. It’s good to know what sort of situation I’d be getting myself into.”

Junior Jamey McIntosh also hopes to engage in some sort of volunteer effort.

“I have aspirations of joining the Peace Corps and going to Africa,” he said, “so I was hoping to just learn a little bit more about (AIDS and Africa).

Odmark encouraged audience member to get involved to help fight the AIDS crisis by supporting various AIDS charities