Nearly 500 Hoyas took time out of their weekends to attend Sunday’s Lecture Fund event featuring Hayden Panettiere in Gaston Hall. The turnout speaks for itself in terms of what the Lecture Fund seeks to achieve: to educate, to enlighten and to entertain the campus community. It just so happens that this event accomplished all three. Hayden Panettiere is a legitimate activist, even if she is not a scholarly expert on the topics of saving the whales, or getting out the vote. Oftentimes, celebrity activists shape popular culture as much – or more than – politicians and academics. Should the Lecture Fund deprive Georgetown students the opportunity to form their own opinions on the causes these activists promote merely because of their status as celebrities? Perhaps the Lecture Fund should refocus its efforts and only invite speakers with PhDs to campus. Should the Lecture Fund revoke all of its invitations to attractive women? Evidently, the Hoya Editorial Board believes that they have nothing special to say. The Lecture Fund realized the possibility that many students would attend the “Save the Whales Again!” event for Hayden Panettiere, and not for the content of her speech. However, it is incontestable that the majority of students left that lecture more aware of an issue than they had been previously. Certainly, that seems to be the whole point of celebrity activism – employing fame and name recognition to increase awareness of an issue or a cause. The Lecture Fund recognized that there was significant interest for this event among the student body and sought to cater to that interest. If the Editorial Board considers that motivation a fault then perhaps it needs to reevaluate its thoughts on the role of student groups at Georgetown. With that in mind, the Lecture Fund is always interested in receiving students’ suggestions for speakers. To suggest a speaker, or to find out more about our organization, please e-mail us at lecturefundgeorgetown.edu. ahen Gunaratna (SFS ’08), Chair Jessica Schachter (COL ’08), Vice Chair for External Affairs Georgetown University Lecture Fund Jan. 31, 2008

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