Gaga to Bring Boot Camp, Symposium

When Lady Gaga travels, paparazzi and packed concert halls typically follow.

However, when the pop sensation blazes through Harvard Yard on Wednesday, she will bring a research symposium and a youth boot camp in her wake as well.

Lady Gaga will announce the creation of her new charity, the Born This Way Foundation, at an event in Harvard’s Sanders Theatre on Wednesday afternoon. The foundation’s launch will be marked by a series of events around Harvard throughout the day which share the foundation’s focus on bullying in the 21st century.

In the morning, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society will host a symposium on the manifestation of bullying online, according to Graduate School of Education Director of Communications Michael G. Rodman.

Next, the California Endowment, a health organization which is sponsoring the new Born This Way Foundation, will hold a Youth Advocacy Boot Camp at the Ed School. The boot camp, which California Endowment spokesperson Brandon Hersh described as a leadership summit focused on the theme of bravery, is open to any attendees from the Harvard community. Eighteen young people from various regions of California have been invited to the program.

“The key idea is how to create change in [the participants’] community,” Hersh said.

Hersh said that his foundation decided to support Lady Gaga’s effort in order to bring its health-focused message to a wider audience.

“We want to reach a few million kids. Health happens in our school, in our neighborhood, in our grocery stores. Everything we do affects our health. We want to get our message through,” Hersh said. He added that in Lady Gaga, the California Endowment “found not only a great megaphone, but also a genuine supporter living as who she is.”

The Ed School will host a second youth summit that same day on the theme “Prevent Bullying, Create Caring Communities.” Students from Cambridge and Boston will participate in this forum. The youth who will be flown in for the California Endowment’s event will also attend the second summit to share their personal stories of bullying, according to Rodman.

The main event of the day will feature guests from a variety of fields: entertainment magnate Oprah Winfrey, author and speaker Deepak Chopra, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen G. Sebelius, and Harvard Law School professor Charles J. Ogletree.

Rodman declined to state the format of the event or answer the question on the minds of many—whether Lady Gaga will sing.

The Ed School raffled off a few coveted invitations to the event through a contest on its Facebook page. About 2,100 people entered the raffle for just five tickets.

The Undergraduate Council is also raffling off an undisclosed number of tickets to College students.

For those who do not get tickets, the event will be simulcast at the Ed School in Askwith Hall and Larson Hall, at the Berkman Center in Austin Hall, and online.

The Born This Way Foundation will also park a bus outside of the Science Center to distribute information about the organization throughout the day, according to Rodman. Whether or not Lady Gaga sings in Sanders, the bus will blare music.

—Staff writer Laya Anasu can be reached at layaanasu@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Elizabeth S. Auritt can be reached at eauritt@college.harvard.edu.

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