The students are raising awareness for AIDS week, but it might as well be tobacco or cholesterol or speeding on the highway. "Raising awareness" is a laudable goal, but I suspect the people walking through our lobby already know a fair amount about health issues. What's more, I doubt these poor employees appreciate being told they're ignorant if they're not perpetually outraged. As Meyers asks in the Atlantic , is this about persuasion... or punishment?
These organizers have plenty the facts about AIDS in Africa, but a dim understanding of human nature. They are no doubt gathering some signatures for future mailings and meetings, and maybe even raising a little money along with awareness. But I'd wager they'd be more successful if they adopted a less confrontational, jarring approach. Unfortunately, though a soft sell approach might be more successful, I think the organizers would find it less satisfying. I don't expect things to change at next year's AIDS week.
UPDATE: blogborygmi has learned that Al Roker's colon was on national television this morning, as part of the colon cancer awareness campaign. I haven't decided if this approach fits with "gentle persuasion", "shock and rattle", or if it needs a new category altogether.