Once again, Movember has brought out the many moustaches on campus.
For those who are not aware, the purpose of “Movember” — also known as No-Shave November — is to raise awareness for prostate cancer and raise funds for further research into the disease.
Since 2007, the campaign has increased almost exponentially in popularity as well as donations — from $545,759 to last year’s $22.3 million in Canada alone.
According to Keegan Epp, the USSU Pride Centre Co-ordinator, this growth has a great deal to do with the main website, movember.com, which has a familiar social-media feel.
The website allows users to post pictures of their moustaches at varying stages of progress, and both users and non-users can donate money to encourage the growth.
“You can sign up for a page under your own name on Movember’s website and link it to Twitter and Facebook,” Epp said.
He also noted the built-in competitive aspect of the website, which shows how each individual person, team and University ranks in terms of donations.
Members of the USSU including Epp have created their own “Mo Crew,” which this year has already raised $610 dollars. As a whole — meaning various campus groups included — the University of Saskatchewan has raised approximately $2,500 thus far.
Jason Kovitch, general manager of Louis, has been a longtime spokesperson for the cause, hosting Movember-related events since 2009.
“At first, we found that asking to donate a dollar was the quickest, easiest route” said Kovitch. “Last year, we developed other promotions and ended up raising $3,500.”
These events included contributing a dollar from every pint of Great Western beer to the cause, an event called the ’Stache Bash at the end of the month and the sale of Movember-themed buttons.
To date, Louis’ has generated nearly $4,000 in donations since ‘09. Although the restaurant has donated to other charities, Kovitch notes that Movember takes the cake in terms of popularity.
“Nothing comes close to the buzz of Movember,” said Kovitch, adding, “The female staff is really behind it, too. They have been engaging and extremely supportive — there’s been a lot of camaraderie.”
Elsewhere on campus, Help Center Coordinator Alex Werenka is donning a thick brown moustache even Tom Selleck would be proud of. Although the moustache is fake, Werenka sees the month-long event as a real, dual-purpose opportunity to promote the prevention of cancer while “transgressing gender binaries.”
She had originally intended the moustache as a joke, sending an email to USSU staff members, which then escalated into a bet between her and Epp.
“What happened was that I sent out an email with pictures of myself wearing a moustache, and then the staff started pledging money for me to do Movember. I also got the ladies of the USSU involved, and we did a poster photo-shoot with moustaches.”
Werenka believes the facial-hair phenomenon to be a “good challenge and cause,” in addition to promoting transgendered acceptance. She plans to sport the ’stache for the remainder of the month during work, and hopes to have a “Mo’ Sisters” event in the Arts Tunnel.
“I think that lots of people embrace the opportunity to grow a moustache in November, and I do think that many are unaware that the origin of Movember is to raise money for prostate cancer research” said Epp, stressing the importance of “remembering what the actual cause is.”
Whether its popularity stems from the marketing of Movember, current trends in facial hair or simply going au naturel, moustaches are having a substantial impact on campus consciousness, at least throughout the USSU. Moustache bets and simultaneous donations are being made throughout the month, all working toward preventing a disease that will affect 25,000 Canadian men this year alone.[box type=”info”]To make donations to the USSU’s Movember page, go to shf.me/ussumovember.[/box]