UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Scott Fried makes his home in New York, but for much of the year, he is on college campuses around the country speaking to students about HIV and AIDS education, sexual responsibility and consent, alcohol and drug misuse, coming out, body issues, and a number of other topics. He is captivated by the dual senses of anxiety and excitement he encounters in the age demographic.
“There’s this interesting mix of ‘I can do anything I want, but I’m kind of freaked out about that,’” Fried said. “‘I have my whole future ahead of me, and I am vulnerable.’”
Fried shared his “AIDS, Love and the Meaning of Life” program Tuesday evening at the HUB-Robeson Center, which was co-sponsored by the Presidential Leadership Academy, Penn State LGTBQA Student Resource Center, Penn State Gender Equity Center and the AIDS Resource Center. Earlier in the day, he met with several students from the Presidential Leadership Academy and encouraged them to empower others through “teachable moments.”
“What we need in leaders is emotional intelligence, the ability to see in others what they don’t see in themselves and to pull it out of them,” he said. “It’s not being the person in charge. It’s being the person who helps other people find their own power.”
Fried, who contracted HIV more than 30 years ago, has spoken at more than 1,000 colleges/universities and other spaces. He strives to educate students on current medical treatments for HIV and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and also to ensure students “are taking care of themselves.” He is an adjunct professor at Colby College, where he teaches a course originally called “A Multidisciplinary Approach to HIV and AIDS” before a student urged him to change it to “AIDS, Love and the Meaning of Life.”