GVSU student project to screen “Girl Rising”

GVL / Courtesy

GVL / Courtesy

Erin Grogan

It started with an assignment from Lorie Tuma — break up into committees and work together to coordinate a major event. Now, a little over a month into the semester, Tuma’s section of HTM 240 (Intro to Meeting and Event Management) is planning to screen the documentary “Girl Rising” at Grand Valley State University in March to celebrate national women’s month.

The documentary explores the stories of nine girls who have gone against the odds and countered societal norms to receive education. Stories of girls from Cambodia, Haiti, Nepal, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Peru, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan are featured in the documentary. It was directed by Richard E. Robbins.

“Many millions of children around the world lack access to education, whether due to poverty, social norms or accessibility,” said Tara Abrahams, president of “Girl Rising,” in a press release. “Girls, especially, face significant barriers to the basic right of education, including obstacles such as early and forced marriage and gender-based violence and discrimination.”

In the beginning of the semester, Tuma’s class took personality tests and formed committees consisting of people who had different personality types. Tuma split the committees this way on purpose so her students would work with people who “work and think much differently than they do themselves.”

These three or four person committees were all given different assignments to complete before the day of the event. The different types of groups include a decorating committee, a public relations committee, a social media committee and a risk management committee.

Tuma said this project will be a valuable learning moment for the class because it is rare that a university class would be able to work to screen a film of this caliber. It is also the first time a project run by a section of HTM 240 has received financial backing from a major company. Charles Schwab, a brokering and financial company, has purchased screening rights to the film. They are hosting the event with the class and providing them with a significant budget.

Tuma said she is proud of the way her students have handled the challenges put in front of them. They have put in many hours both inside and outside mandated class time, showing her a lot individual initiative and group effort.

“They’ll be more than ready the night of screening,” Tuma said. “If this is any indication about what the future of event planning is going to look like, in terms of talent, I can tell you in most certainty that we’re in very good hands.”

Emily Barnum is a sophomore studying Hospitality and Tourism Management, as well as a member of the class’s PR and Marketing Committee.

“A film like this is important as it’s about women empowerment,” Barnum said. “It’s not very common to have a film with this much information. We watched it together in class, and there was not a single dry eye.”

The class plans on holding a question and answer panel after the film showing. Members of women’s rights activist groups Wide Open Wings and So Hope will take part in the panel discussion. GVSU’s Women’s Center will also be present.

The class will work on this project up until the screening of the film. The LIB 100 approved screening will take place in Loosemore Auditorium on GVSU’s Pew Campus on Wednesday, March 18 at 6 p.m.