Students raise malaria awareness with flash mobs

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Harvard’s Defeating Malaria initiative, spearheaded by Harvard School of Public Health, sponsored a student-led event called “Mob Malaria” in commemoration of World Malaria Day on April 25. Two hundred students gathered in the Science Center Plaza to participate in a synchronized flash mob designed to raise awareness of the need to eradicate malaria.

Dyann Wirth, director of the Defeating Malaria initiative and chair of HSPH’s Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, attended the event, along with the chief of staff for Ray Chambers, the UN Special Envoy for Malaria and a member of the HSPH Board of Dean’s Advisors.

The two Harvard College students who organized the event, Stephen Turban ’17 and Lily Zhang ’17, wanted it to be a global project and reached out to students in Beijing, China and Harare, Zimbabwe; a total of nearly 350 students participated in their own versions of Mob Malaria in the two cities.

In addition to the flash mob, the Defeating Malaria initiative supported a number of other student-led activities. HSPH students organized a photo exhibit called “Malaria Matters,” and a 5k fundraising run. Harvard College students ran a masquerade fundraising party called “Masquerade for Malaria.” All of the day’s activities were ideas submitted to the 2013 Harvard Malaria Competition, which sought innovative ideas for raising awareness to defeat the disease.