Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Celebrities to smile on campus—for a good cause

Celebrities like Jessica Simpson get to show off their smiles on a regular basis but not everyone is that lucky — something the pop star and International Youth Ambassador for Operation Smile knows.

That’s why Simpson will give the opening night keynote address for Operation Smile’s 18th annual International Student Leadership Conference, which is being held  August 1–5 at the University of Denver.

Simpson’s address will focus on the conference’s theme — Be the Change! —empowering students to make a difference in their communities.

Operation Smile is a medical charity that provides free surgery for children in developing countries who were born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities.

About 400 college and high school students from 13 countries are participating in the conference, says Suzanne Unger, director of student programs and curriculum for Operation Smile.

“The bulk of its purpose is its focus on the individual — we want students to really grow and gain the confidence that they can make a change for themselves and in the world and inspire others to do so as well,” Unger says.

Although no DU students are participating in the conference, some are volunteering to help the conference run smoothly.

In addition to attending workshops, conference participants will hear from Dan Clark, a New York Times bestselling author, and program founders Bill and Kathy Magee. Electric violinist Caitlin Moe, who just finished a tour with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, will perform. Events and speeches are for conference attendees only.

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