In a flash, students come up with red-hot idea for Aids Day project

LOCAL students surprised eaters when they staged a lunchtime “flashmob” dance routine in a students’ cafeteria to mark World Aids Day last Thursday.

The event was co-ordinated by Heriot Watt University Students Union and Borders College Students Association and, as well as the dance, there was a variety of activities to raise awareness.

Flash Mob Heriot Watt students union.

Flash Mob Heriot Watt students union.

Other organisations, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum, NHS Borders and Waverley Care, gave their support. Waverley Care is Scotland’s leading charity providing care and support to people living with HIV and hepatitis C. In addition, it raises awareness of the conditions and prevention of their transmission.

Red ribbons had been on sale at the campus and other local venues during preceding weeks. In the days leading up to the event, supporters were busy creating red foods to donate to the cake bake tables – funds from both went to the National AIDS Trust.

Thursday saw many people supporting the red-themed day by choosing an appropriately-coloured item of clothing to wear around the campus. For the privilege of doing so, they were asked to donate £1 to the cause – if they chose not to dress in red, they were invited to pay £2.

During the lunch break, Tartan Monkey’ the mascot for Borders College Students Association – resplendent in his customised red T-shirt – and Heriot Watt University Students’ Union’s Red Dragon mascot showed their considerable dancing skills, encouraging diners in the union to join in the flashmob.

Following this, they led interested groups to hear a talk by Neil Bird from Waverley Care.

Students’ representative Katie Barr told TheSouthern the events raised more than £300 for the good causes.

“The whole thing went very well. We try to do various events for charity throughout the year and are always looking for different things to try.

“We’d never done a flashmob before so we arranged for Andrew Shields’ dance academy in Hawick to come and create a routine for us and we rehearsed this over the weeks leading up to the day.

“When students saw Tartan Monkey and Red Dragon they knew something was happening, but I think it still came as a surprise to most of them when the sounds of the track, Moves Like Jagger, came blasting out of the sound system!

“We had 15 dancers who kicked off the routine and everyone started clapping and a few people, including members of staff, joined in, which was great.”