Student groups unite to support Shot@Life
The primary goal of last night's event was to recruit additional UN advocates
October 21, 2013, 10:34 pm · Updated October 21, 2013, 11:28 pm·
Nathaniel Chan | DP
What can young adults around the world have conversations about besides politics?
College sophomore Andriana Loukanari lists several topics, including food, music, fashion and art. She combined “all [these] other things that bring cultures together” to create Penn’s first annual Shot@Life event, held last night in Houston Hall’s Bodek Lounge.
Shot@Life is a national advocacy group that aims to prevent infant and child disease-related deaths through vaccination. A powerful opening poem performed by College sophomore Kimberly Lu and a short video illustrated the organization’s mission, followed by a variety of cultural events including a multinational fashion show.
Loukanari is the founder of the University’s chapter of the United Nations Advocacy council, a subsection of the Penn Government and Politics Association. She started the subcommittee last year, and it received its charter in September. “I started working for the UN at the age of 14,” Loukanari explained during the event. She underwent training and received an official position affiliated with the United States chapter.
About 50 people in total — including Penn students and adults from the Philadelphia community — attended last night’s Shot@Life event, whose primary goal was to recruit additional UN advocates, Loukanari said.
College sophomore Varun Menon, co-president of GPA, helped Loukanari plan and promote the event on campus. “This [event] serves as a way to engage the public,” he said, in a social atmosphere and demonstrates “how individuals in the public can show support.”
The program also featured Penn students as models representing several countries, both sponsors and recipients of UN aid. Each model walked out in a traditional or modern outfit, accompanied by cultural music, while Loukanari listed several facts about the country represented.
Model and College sophomore Carolina English walked the runway on behalf of Venezuela and Zimbabwe. English, who is Venezuelan, said she put together her traditional outfit with her mother and also contributed artwork to the event space. Loukanari “wanted to encompass all the different cultures,” English added, who specifically chose pieces “not commentary-driven,” or without any bias.
Other artwork was provided by the Penn Art Club and artist Leonidas Gelalis, a student at Parsons School of Design in New York City who regularly provides art for the UN.
To close the night, student a cappella group Dischord performed three songs.
Loukanari urged the audience to donate to Shot@Life and become a representative. “I’m satisfied with everything,” she said afterward, seeing that 20 people had already signed up. She will launch a one-month training program in November which will register participants with the UN.