Bono back on campus for 2nd time in 2 years; plans to talk about his experiences in Africa
By Ross Avila
October 21, 2005
All 1,260 seats in Irvine Auditorium have been sold for tonight as Penn students and local fans alike will pack the venue to hear U2 frontman Bono speak.
The rock star will speak about his humanitarian work in Africa in his second appearance on campus in two years -- he last addressed the Class of 2004 at its Commencement.
One hundred Penn students will have the chance to see the event.
The lottery for the 100 tickets, sponsored by the Social Planning and Events Committee's Connaissance arm, was open all of last week. More than 300 entered to try to win a seat. At the end of the week, a computer randomly selected 120 of the hopefuls for the 100 tickets, which were then available on a first come, first served basis in Houston Hall.
Bono's visit -- which includes a speech and a question-and-answer session -- is sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, a nonprofit education group that approached Penn officials about holding the speech on campus.
SPEC Connaissance received the 100 tickets in exchange for the use of Irvine Auditorium.
"Those of us who are fans [of Bono] will see a different side of him" as he speaks about his work with aid group Debt AIDS Trade Africa which deals with African poverty and disease, World Affairs Program Manager Denise Bala said.
SPEC Connaissance co-Director Caitlin McElroy said that while Connaissance had little to do with the event, student feedback has been extremely positive.
"People have been very excited," the College senior said. "It's nice that we are included in part of the community that [Bono] wants to address, and everyone has been eager to be a part of it."
College sophomore Christina Catanese entered the lottery last week but did not get a ticket.
"I was pretty disappointed, but I wasn't totally surprised because there weren't many tickets," Catanese said. "I think [Bono] is a good role model that I would have liked to see."
Catanese said she still has faith in the lottery system, adding that she was one of the students who won a ticket to last fall's debate between Howard Dean and Pat Buchanan at Irvine Auditorium.
Bono has emerged as a determined social activist in the last few and has since campaigned for Third World debt relief, AIDS awareness and aid for Africa.