Video Campaign for #bringFLOTUS2UCLA

From Daily Bruin October 29, 2015

Nursing students danced in classrooms to garner attention for their campaign to bring first lady Michelle Obama to UCLA for the School of Nursing’s commencement ceremony in June.

About 70 nursing students demonstrated five ways UCLA and the School of Nursing improve campus community members’ health in a YouTube video uploaded Oct. 19, said Kia Skrine, a doctoral candidate at the School of Nursing who directed and edited the video. Skrine made the video in response to Obama’s #GimmeFive campaign, which prompts community members to list five healthy habits.

web.ns_.flotus.COURTESY-640x371“We wanted to find a way for us to easily pull together as a community,” Skrine said.

In the video, Linda Sarna, interim dean of the School of Nursing, discussed UCLA’s Breathe Well initiative, which strives for the campus to be smoke-free, and its Live Well initiative, which includes providing fitness courses and promoting healthy snacking, among other healthy programs. The video has since accumulated more than 1,200 views.

Brittani McCullough, a graduate student in the School of Nursing, said she launched the campaign in July because she thinks Obama’s healthy lifestyle initiatives align with the School of Nursing’s core principles. Since the launch, McCullough and 11 other students have campaigned on social media, posted a video to YouTube and written to White House officials.

In the past, the School of Nursing selected speakers in nursing-related leadership roles based on recommendations from the dean, said Laura Perry, director of communications at the School of Nursing. The campaign, which uses the hashtag #BringFLOTUS2UCLA, is the first student-driven effort to invite a speaker for the school’s commencement ceremony, Perry added.

Past commencement speakers include Lois Capps, congresswoman and co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, California State Senator Ed Hernandez and Patricia Grady, director of the National Institute of Nursing Research.

McCullough said Obama’s healthy living and higher education campaigns, such as her Let’s Move! campaign for children’s health, correspond with the nursing school’s goals.

Sarna said the School of Nursing aims to educate nurses to be leaders and to inspire people to live a healthy lifestyle.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to draw attention to the important roles educated nurses can play,” Sarna said.

Two weeks ago, the campaign team mailed a signed board, filled with about 150 students’ signatures, to the Office of the First Lady. McCullough said the team decided to send out monthly signed boards showing student support because other successful campaign teams sent out similar cards.

Sarna said she met Rep. Capps in Washington D.C. Monday to ask for her support for the campaign and to show her the YouTube video.

Students sent two official letters addressed to the President and first lady in September, McCullough said. They also wrote to Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and California Rep. Ted Lieu to ask for their support. McCullough added they received replies from White House officials, who said they will answer on a later date.

McCullough said she hopes to become a nurse in primary prevention and child care to help teach overweight children to live and eat healthily.

“I would be very inspired (if she comes) because of what she stands for,” she said. “Her work affects other people’s lives and shows we have to help one another.”

Perry said the campaign strategy is modeled after successful campaigns at other universities, such as UC Irvine and UC Merced, that brought Barack or Michelle Obama to their commencement ceremonies.

McCullough said posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts using the #BringFLOTUS2UCLA hashtag is a major component of the movement.

If Obama speaks at the School of Nursing, UCLA would make arrangements to ensure her safety when she visits the campus, said Brittny McCarthy, UCLA assistant director of Federal Relations.

The School of Nursing commencement ceremony is scheduled for June 11 at 8 a.m. in Royce Hall.

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