Meet Our Fall 2015 Self-Improvement Section Opener: Layla Taremi

Layla Taremi has given clothing a bigger cause.

Taremi, a junior marketing major and president of the Penn State chapter of Sisters on the Runway (SOTR), developed her passion for combatting domestic violence at a young age. Taremi, the founder of two of the seven SOTR branches, was initially inspired by her older sister.

“My sister founded [Sisters on the Runway] in 2008 at UMass Amherst and that one is huge now, and then I started it my junior year of high school at Cambridge Rindge and Latin as well as last year here at Penn State. The whole idea is that it raises money and awareness for local domestic violence shelters,” Taremi says.

All year, the Penn State chapter fundraises to collect money for the Centre County Women’s Resource Center and then hosts a big fashion show in the spring.

“We get clothes donated from local boutiques and bigger stores. Lord & Taylor has donated, also Macy’s and a bunch of places like that. Student designers are also a big thing because we want to get students involved and so their designs are important,” Taremi says.

Taremi’s devotion to the issue of domestic violence and its prevalence in today’s world are what keep her motivated.

“I think domestic violence is a huge issue around the world. I think it’s a huge issue specifically to college campuses because a lot of times domestic assault happens when people are under the influence, and college campuses are a major place where that happens,” says Taremi. “The majority of people who are effected, I believe, are women ages 20-24, which includes a lot of college students.”

Taremi works endlessly to make her goals for this club a reality. Domestic violence is an issue she feels deserves even further recognition, and she’ll fight to earn it.

Ideally, we want to end domestic violence entirely, but that’s a huge goal. We really want to raise as much money as we can for the Centre County Women’s Resource Center as well as raise as much awareness as we can throughout campus because some people I think overlook it.

“For example, I’m super passionate about THON and have been on a committee every year, but I want people to know there are other issues, too,” says Taremi. “No issue is more important than any other and I want make domestic violence just as recognized.”

The Penn State SOTR chapter is near and dear to Taremi’s heart, and she won’t let it fade out after she graduates. She wants the Penn State chapter to grow even more and thrive under new leadership some day.

“For the most part, every branch president passes down the club when they graduate and I’m definitely going to do that to keep it going. There are so many passionate freshman, sophomores and juniors who I know could handle it. Specifically at Penn State, it will continue.”

Graduation isn’t the end for Taremi’s work, either. In addition to having the chapter continue here at school, she will also carry her passion with her into her post-Happy Valley life.

“In my future I want to be working with domestic violence shelters whether it’s on the side or my full time job,” says Taremi.

In addition to the fashion show coming up in the spring, SOTR also hosted the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” back in October. The event was a success with the help of the brothers of business fraternities PGN and PCT, and fraternity AKL, who trudged a mile in high heels to help spread awareness. All money raised went directly to the Women’s Resource Center.

Turning your passion into tangible results that do good for those in need is no easy feat, but that’s what makes Layla Taremi so unique. Her dedication to fighting an enormous issue like domestic violence reminds us all that we can make a difference for the better, no matter how challenging it may seem.