|Photo by: Matt Anderson (illustration)|
When pop queen Lady Gaga first came on the scene over two years ago, many doubted her potential skills and staying power. Yes, she did have catchy dance beats and funky little costumes, but dozens of other starlet-wannabes did as well. The world wasn't sure how to interpret this new singer--was she going to become another part of the pop machine or the next Madonna?
Time has proven that Gaga was certainly more than just a flash in the pan. Her influence has extended into every part of culture, from television and fashion to humanitarianism and charity work.
The mix of Lady Gaga's cultural impact and philanthropy is what brings her influence here to Ohio University. The OU Little Monsters, founded by Parker Rom, is a student organization on campus that is taking the style and music of Lady Gaga and using it to raise money for charities for which Gaga herself works and for causes similar to those she would support.
Little Monsters as a group is relatively new, but it is a hard-working, intelligent and dedicated group of students trying to improve not just the local community in Athens, but the nation as a whole. Though some may scoff at the idea of a Lady Gaga club (and this idea is not lost on the founders of the organization), OU Little Monsters is more than just a place to worship Gaga.
"It all started out when I was bored in class. It was right after the [MTV Video Music Awards] this year, and I was just thinking, 'Oh my gosh, Lady Gaga is so awesome, look at everything she has done!'" said Rom, now the president of the club. "Then, I thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we could get her charities to Ohio University and make a name for Lady Gaga down here?' Then, I sent out Facebook messages to the people I thought who would be interested."
However, Rom wasn't sure others would be quite as receptive to the idea. "I was extremely nervous and on edge, thinking, 'They're going to think this is such a horrible idea!' But everyone just turned out to be extra supportive, and I really appreciated that."
The good they hope to do is donate to Lady Gaga-approved charities as well as local organizations while having a fabulous, fierce and fun time--hence their tagline: "70% Charity, 30% Glamour."
"The charities we're going to donate to are extensive. It's like, Alzheimer's, cancer, homeless youth, every single thing you can think of. She's done a lot, and people don't realize the extensiveness of the charities she's given to. Everybody just thinks it's LGBT stuff, but it's not. She cares for everyone and everything. I think it's because her fans are so diverse and she is so diverse," Treasurer Sarah Chadwell explained.
"Our goal is to donate to two charities a month. One nationally and one more locally," PR representative Adam Bialek added. "October, for example, is LGBT history month and with the recent teen suicides in the news, we're going to be donating to The Trevor Project and Kaleidoscope, which is based out of Columbus. They're charities for gay teens and gay youth who are facing suicide issues or just need support that they may not be getting from other places."
The new student organization will be raising money for their selected charities using a variety of creative, Lady Gaga-related ways. They stressed that they wanted to put the "fun back in fundraising" and make memories in addition to helping charities. Through bake sales, fashion drives, dance nights and dance workshops, the OU Little Monsters hope to raise money and bring together students on campus who may not typically hang out.
Not only do the Little Monsters want to bring together the student body through pop music, but they also want to follow in Lady Gaga's footsteps of encouraging her fans to be themselves and not worry about what others think. This message of individual expression and self-love is something that the Little Monsters hope to promote at OU.
Under the name of Lady Gaga, the OU Little Monsters hope to support individuality and charity here on campus. To get involved with this new and intriguing student organization, fan them on Facebook or go to their meetings on Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. in Bentley 306.
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