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Reality star, author first ULS lecturer

Although students may be living away from home, they will have the opportunity to hear some motherly advice at the first University Lecture Series (ULS) event of the semester.

Jill Zarin, the outspoken personality from Bravo’s reality show “Real Housewives of New York City” and author of the book “Secrets of a Jewish Mother,” will speak Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center’s Oval Theater.

Kristie Gerber, director of student activities, said that because the order that speakers appear is dictated by availability, Zarin will give the first lecture of the series this year.

Zarin will receive $15,000 for her appearance – a portion of the $230,000 budget Student Government allocated to ULS from student-paid Activity and Service fees.

“(The committee) was looking to put together a series that was both educational and entertaining,” Gerber said. “This event is more on the entertainment side; however, (Zarin) does do a lot of philanthropy work that I know she will talk about (Tuesday night).”

Zarin has worked with charities such as the Jeffrey Modell Foundation, which funds research and treatment of immunodeficiency disorders, and People Reaching Out, a substance abuse and violence prevention program. Her children’s experience with arthritis has also propelled her to raise money and awareness for the disease.

The lecture will be structured as a series of questions and answers, some contributed by audience members.

“We will have a moderator interviewing her,” Gerber said. “Then we will have ULS collect the questions and pass the appropriate ones to her.”

Nicole Kummer, program director for the ULS committee, said Zarin was selected after surveying students that attended lectures last year for the seven people they would like to see. After narrowing the list of speakers to those within the ULS budget, students received an e-mail of specific categories, such as “pop-culture/reality star,” from which to choose.

She said ULS surveyed students and faculty at Bulls Night Out, Movies on the Lawn and suggestion boxes located in campus housing.

“From all of those suggestions, the committee looks to see which ones are viable options, what dates work out for the university calendar, which ones students would like to see and what works out for our budget,” Kummer said.

Once the suggestions were in, the committee contacted Burns Entertainment, the talent procurement company that represents Zarin.

“I’ve been getting a lot of great feedback from people, and students seem really excited,” Kummer said. “It’s our first event this year, and it’s right after the football game, so it’s kind of an exciting time.”

Gerber said she expects between 500 and 600 people to attend the event.