Events promote UNICEF initiatives on BU campus

Health-conscious Boston University students turned out by the dozen last week for events promoted by BU’s United Nations Children’s Fund Campus Initiative to raise money for the UNICEF headquarters in New York. The events, including a four-day screening of the PBS documentary series Rx for Survival: A Global Health Challenge, culminated with fitness classes at the Fitness and Recreation Center Saturday.

“UNICEF’s role on campus is to promote awareness and fundraise,” UNICEF Campus Initiative President Tiffany Rothwell said. “We held these events during National Public Health Week to promote awareness of the problems with world health care.”

UNICEF held three aerobics classes taught by FitRec employees Saturday to raise money. Between 10 and 15 students attended the classes, which included “Step n’ Kick,” “Hi-Lo Combo” and “Pilates.”

“The Office of Residence Life and Wellness Center at BU also donated fruit platters, bottled water and ‘healthy’ cookies for the event.” Rothwell, a College of Arts and Sciences junior, said.

“People were excited to participate and ended up staying around for a second class. It was good to give students an option to participate in a workout course to promote healthy lifestyles, especially on a Saturday morning.”

Rothwell said the event was a success because it helped raise awareness for UNICEF on campus while giving students a chance to participate in fitness classes during National Public Health Week. UNICEF plans to hold similar events in the future.

The free screening of Rx for Survival: A Global Health Challenge, was held Monday through Thursday and showed four episodes of the six-part series. The screenings were held to promote awareness for UNICEF while giving students a focus on the basic needs of public health, which Rothwell said includes water and malnutrition.

UNICEF Publicity Chair Vidya Venkataramanan said the roles UNICEF exhibits can be reproduced by any college student.

“It’s how we use our spare time and the things we do with it,” the CAS junior said. “College students have the resources, the time and the responsibility.”

Two of the events also included lectures by School of Public Health professor David Hamer and Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences professor Alison Books. Hamer’s lecture emphasized that public health needs to focus on basics, including access to clean water and bed nets to protect from mosquitoes in African countries.

“A death from malaria occurs every 30 seconds,” Hamer said during his lecture. “If the resources are available, bed nets should be distributed throughout Africa.”

About 50 people attended the documentary screening and lecture with Hamer Thursday night. Venkataramanan said while attendance was disappointing for some of the events, UNICEF is thankful for everyone who did attend.

“I think disease prevention is where public health has made the most progress,” CAS sophomore Kim Griffin said after Thursday’s screening. “UNICEF wanted us to get a more global health perspective on issues. People need to change their attitudes to affect change in the world, even when it doesn’t directly affect them.”

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