Students step to the beat of safer sex

A new co-ed organization on campus, the Egami S.T.E.P. team, hopes to promote safe sex among the public in light of the increasing AIDS population.
“Our main goal is to advise teenagers about safe sex in an entertaining way,” said Chaireline Lundi, vice president of S.T.E.P.
“This is for a good cause-to help save lives,” said Mahala Dar, president and Step Master. “If we can change people’s mind to use protection or abstain, especially teens, then the rising rate of 11.8 million youths currently living with AIDS/HIV would decrease.”
Egami is image spelled backward and S.T.E.P. stands for Students Taking Education Personally.
Dar and other students recently formed the organization and began creating original step routines under advisor Deena Richardson, who works in the Office of the Vice-President of Student Affairs.
Stepping involves a group using synchronized rhythmic movements while singing, chanting or speaking.
It originates from Africa and was a form of expression for slaves. Historically Black Greek organizations traditionally practice stepping, but it is increasingly being adopted by other groups.
Egami is looking for different races and ethnicities to join the co-ed team.
Although the organization has 25 participants so far, Dar stressed the need for more diversity.
“We want everyone to know the team is not only for minorities,” Dar said. “It is open to any student.”
Egami is also open to students with or without experience.
“Stepping is something I like to do and Egmai has a positive purpose,” said freshman Idline Etienne, who is excited about joining. “I want to gain more knowledge and skills – I’ve never stepped before.”
“Everyone who learns is eager to help each other,” said S.T.E.P. secretary Titilayo Paris. “It will be a positive experience for everyone.”
Egami is scheduled to perform on Dec. 2 on the UC patio at 7 p.m.
They also plan to have a teen summit on Mar. 1, 2003 which high school students will attend. There will be workshops about abstinence, protection and statistics on AIDS, along with food and games throughout the day.
A step competition will also be held between the high schools and prizes will be given at the end.
For more information about Egami S.T.E.P, contact Mahala Dar at 305-598-1721 or via e-mail at

Marquita Bell can be contacted at