University of South Florida

USF student group brings international film on educating girls to Tampa Theatre

An international film showing the impact education has on the lives of girls and women across the world was screened Nov. 10 at Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa.

The film, called Girl Rising, is a blend of a scripted story and a documentary, and is directed by Academy Award-nominee Richard E. Robbins and narrated by Cate Blanchett, Priyanka Chopra, Selena Gomez, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, Alicia Keys, Chloë Moretz, Liam Neeson, Freida Pinto, Meryl Streep, and Kerry Washington.

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In addition to a film, Girl Rising is a global initiative aimed at bringing awareness to the need for girls to get and finish their education and that investing in girls benefits everyone.

The local screening of Girl Rising, sponsored by Stella Artois and Pepin Distributing, is the work and first initiative of a newly formed USF student group, Disaster and Humanitarian Relief (DAHR) Student Collaborative, based in the Global Disaster Management & Humanitarian Relief program in the Department of Global Health, USF College of Public Health. The DAHR Student Collaborative started in Fall 2013 and now has nearly 30 members.

By bringing the film to Tampa, the USF DAHR Student Collaborative is spreading the message about girls’ education throughout Tampa Bay, said Savannah Moffet, co-president of the DAHR Student Collaboration and College of Public Health student.

“We are extremely excited to be working with the community for our first project,” Moffet said. “Girl Rising has a phenomenal message about the power of education and the impact that it can have on a person’s life.”

“I feel that the screening of Girl Rising was an amazing first project for us,” said Kaila Yeager, co-president of the DAHR Student Collaborative. “Not only does the movie convey a powerful message about education but it helps to raise awareness about struggles men and women go through just to pursue things they are passionate about.”

In addition to coordinating the film, the group also spearheaded a campus wide photo push about the efforts of the Girl Rising movement, finding various USF student groups and individuals to pose for a photo while holding a small chalkboard sign touting their support.

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Beyond the Girl Rising initiative, the DAHR Student Collaborative is working with local Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the fire department of Temple Terrace for basic training for community emergency response, and developing a survey that will measure collaboration among student organizations throughout USF.

But the screening of Girl Rising at Tampa Theatre was a great rollout of the student-run group, said Elizabeth A. Dunn, MPH, CPH, adjunct instructor in the USF College of Public Health and faculty advisor for the Student Collaborative. Dunn was instrumental in helping secure the film coming to Tampa Theatre.

“We might take it for granted that we are getting our education and have opportunities to hold jobs to help pay for that education,” Dunn said. “But many girls don’t have this luxury. They face barriers to education in this country and across the globe. This film shows how much an education will help break the cycle of poverty.”

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Story by Sarah A. Worth, USF Health Office of Communication. Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Dunn

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