By ZOE FOWLER
The Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Ice Hockey Club at UT have joined forces in an effort to fundraise and raise awareness for the Movember campaign. Movember is an initiative that encourages men to get involved in the advocation for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and overall men’s health by growing mustaches for the month of November.
“We found that statistical study that said that men actually die six years earlier than women, which we think is crazy,” said Kyle Benus, a senior and president of Sigma Chi. “A lot of fraternities we noticed, too, don’t really focus on men’s health, so we think it’s a really important initiative.”
Sigma Chi and the Ice Hockey Club team created a GoFundMe page dubbed ‘Save a Man, Save a Mustache’ on Oct. 20 and and since then, 108 people have raised $4,675 out of $100,000 for their off-campus goal. Sigma Chi and the Club Hockey team chose to use GoFundMe as a resource in order to be able to give 90 percent of the proceeds to different charities.
Thirty percent of the proceeds will be donated to Huntsman Cancer Institute (Sigma Chi’s philanthropy), the Wounded Warrior Project (the Ice Hockey Club team’s philanthropy) and the Movember Foundation. Ten percent will go to another fundraising event in conjunction with Sigma Derby Days, an event hosted by Sigma Chi in which sorority members compete in sporting events and other activities in the spring. The proceeds go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
This is the Ice Hockey Club team’s second year participating in Movember, but this year they decided to further promote the cause. Alexander Carde, a junior and the club president, said that every member will be growing mustaches.
“This cause is important to the team due to the number of men that suffer from prostate cancer around the world,” Carde said. “It is the number one cancer found in men, and just like breast cancer month we find it a necessity to spread awareness.”
To reach their on-campus goal of $5,000, there will be a mustache contest to see who can grow “the most beautifully grown ‘stache.” Participants of the contest must adhere to the following rules: one can don an upper-lip mustache, a goatee or accompanying chin piece. One must not grow a beard.
The $5 fee for the contest is going towards the on-campus goal, in addition to donations and proceeds from t-shirt and tank top sales. Sigma Chi and the Ice Hockey team will be selling them for $15.
The contest will be held on Dec. 3 in either Reeves or Falk theater. The winner of the contest will be chosen by a panel of sorority members and awarded $250, a crown and 10 percent of the funds that were raised by the campus-wide initiative to donate to a charity of their choice.
“We’ve had a pretty good response so far,” said Dillon Decker, a junior and fundraising chair for Sigma Chi. “We’ve had about 15 men who aren’t members of Sigma Chi or the hockey team that have signed up to do our mustache growing contest. We pretty much wanted to get some student involvement. It’s tough to convince someone to grow a mustache all in November on a college campus.”
Jackson Wells, a junior and Sigma Chi brother, is participating in Movember for the first time. He’s well-known for his beard in his fraternity.
“I’ve always had a beard in high school, and this is my first time being clean shaven since freshman year, so it kind of meant a lot to cut it off,” Wells said.
As a part of Sigma Chi and the Ice Hockey Club Hockey team’s off-campus goal, they will reach out to family, friends, sports teams, alumni, celebrities and anyone else interested in supporting the movement. So far they have reached out to a close family friend of Decker’s, former St. Louis Cardinals and Mets player Keith Hernandez, who will send a 15-second support video to go on Sigma Chi’s Instagram page. Additionally, they will be reaching out to former Rangers ice hockey player Rod Gilbert, another close family friend of Decker’s, as well as Meghan Trainor, whose brother is a Sigma Chi alumnus from UT, and the rapper Nelly, who one of the fraternity brothers has ties to.
“For the support videos, we’re looking to get some social media attention,” Decker said. “But we will be going to many local businesses in the area looking for sponsorships for our cause. We will give them recognition and incentive to get involved. But other than that, we’ll also be contacting companies like Dollar Shave Club or just barbershops in general.”
Sigma Chi has a large alumni base, so they will be reaching out to the Sigma Chi headquarters for help with promoting Movember.
“I think it’s going to be a huge impact,” Benus said. “I think this school is going to look at us in hopefully a big, positive light. We’re trying our best here. We’re trying to do things that no other fraternity has done. We have big goals, and hopefully we meet them.”
Zoe Fowler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org