Public heath awareness group enters video contest to win cash prize

The United Against Infectious Diseases (UAID) members may be celebrating more than Thanksgiving this week.

UAID entered the Johnson and Johnson Be Vital Challenge video contest. The contest asks registered student organizations across the nation to create a video about their impact to improve health and well-being on a local and global level.

The video had to be submitted by last Sunday. The five videos that receive the most votes by Sunday in the undergraduate and graduate divisions move onto the next round. A Johnson and Johnson committee will then make the final selections and choose two videos from each division.

The top video will win $10,000, and the runner-up will be awarded $5,000.

Ansh Grover, president of UAID, has not begun to imagine the effect of this amount.

“An amount of $10,000 can change how prominent our organization can be,” he said. “There is never enough money, so any money you can use effectively, the better it is.”

The voting period ends Sunday. Anyone who would like to vote must create an account otherwise the vote will not count.

According to Grover, voting is not enough. Comments on UAID’s Facebook page will be taken into consideration.

As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, UAID is the third most viewed and most commented video. The Kappa Delta sorority from the College of New Jersey is in the lead.

UAID’s UM chapter is part of the larger national organization with the same name. The chapter does not have any administrative costs like paying dues to nationals. All proceeds benefit the chapter’s events throughout the year.

According to Grover, the video took about a week to complete and often required the entire day. The video was created similar to a film trailer, featuring a fictional production company called Student Empowerment Films.

Though one might expect technical difficulties when making a video, this was not the case for UAID.

“UAID has a very powerful mission so getting all the facts within the two-minute guideline was the biggest challenge,” Grover said.

In the video, UAID emphasized its broad goal that extends beyond infectious diseases. The organization focuses on public health initiatives like free HIV testing on campus and in the community, education outreach to high school students, and promoting health literacy.

Gabriela Lins, vice president for UAID, says that people need to know what their health insurance options are and in what way the Affordable Care Acts affects them.

“It’s about teaching people the tools they need in the community and addressing problems from an education and outreach perspective,” she said. Lins is also the UAID national director of advocacy.

Grover stresses education as important to the “critical mass,” or a large percentage of people. He referenced polio and the role that education and awareness played in eradicating the disease.

“When a critical mass is reached through education, it can save millions of lives,” he said.

UAID will offer free HIV testing next week Tuesday and Thursday at the Rock from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information about UAID and to vote for the video challenge, visit the organization’s Facebook page at and