‘No Shave November’ furthers awareness of cancer, Relay for Life

Halfway through November, many male students have put their razors to rest to participate in the first “No Shave November” contest held by Tufts Relay for Life (Tufts RFL). The contest is a play on the larger movement during the month of November, sometimes called “Movember,” that aims to raise awareness for men’s health.

Sophomore Benjamin Silver, the special events coordinator for Tufts RFL who organized the contest, explained the inspiration behind holding a “No Shave November” competition at Tufts.

“It is the male prostate cancer month,” Silver said. “[‘No Shave November’] is a movement that started off in the late ‘90s. We are trying to take advantage of that momentum and utilize it for RFL.”

Since its first event in April 2004, Tufts RFL has raised more than three quarters of $1 million in total for the American Cancer Society to fund cancer prevention, cancer treatment and cancer research, according to senior and co-Chair of Tufts RFL Jon Duval.

Andrea Hurwitz, the community executive and director of development for ACS and an advisor for Tufts RFL, told the Daily that Tufts’ fundraising efforts have been substantial.

“Tufts does an exceptional job with the fundraising and is an outstanding fundraiser every year,” she said. “Actually, in the last year, 2012, Tufts was one of the top five fundraisers for colleges in New England.”

Duval also noted the success of fundraising initiatives around campus.

“In October, we sold cupcakes and shot glasses at the Campus Center,” he said. “It was a huge success. We sold over 100 cupcakes … But more importantly, we raised awareness on campus about breast cancer.”

RFL events have become well known on campus, according to Duval and senior and co-Chair of Tufts RFL Caroline Kaufman, but they are always looking to increase the number of participants.

“People will form teams with their friends from sports teams, music groups or from dorms. So we usually get 75 different teams,” Duval said. “We are trying to reach out to the entire community, including the faculty and the graduate students.”

According to Duval, RFL’s “No Shave November” event has enabled the group to reach out to more students than in previous years. Silver said that although the event builds the community’s awareness about RFL and cancer, the more important focus is engaging students.

“We don’t really have a specific number in mind for how much money we want to raise,” Silver said. “I think the more important number to look at is how many people are registering for this event and forming teams. Because we know that once we rope them in and get them involved with the ACS and RFL, they will want to stick with it, and help fundraise and get more people involved, and become advocates for it.”

There is no deadline for signing up for the contest, Silver added.

“We want to open this to as many people as possible. So people can jump in whenever they want,” he said.

There are two ways to get involved with “No Shave November,” according to Silver, and anyone can get involved, regardless of team association.

“The first is the individual team. It is for people who are not in an organization and just want to participate,” he said. “The idea is to post pictures of yourself before and after. And you can either grow a mustache or a beard. We just want everyone to get involved. Whatever it means to them, they should get involved that way.”

Silver said that they are also looking for sponsors — such as fraternities, sports teams, art groups and cultural centers — to gain even more participation across campus. Tufts RFL also encourages involvement from faculty and staff.

“To help sponsor, we want at least 10 members of the organization to get involved,” Silver said. “We are also in talks with the football and baseball team[s]. Their coaches are very excited about that.”

Devyn Curley, philanthropy chair of Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp), an active sponsor of the contest, said that there are about 16 or 18 brothers getting involved in this campaign.

“We took a nice pre-November picture, and we are excited to see how we will look after Thanksgiving break,” Devyn, a junior, said. “[Brothers] are very excited to support the cause. We have actually done a really good job. Our team has already raised $580.”

Silver expressed enthusiasm about the contest’s three different categories — the best overall facial hair, the best mustache and the best beard.

“For the prizes, we have JumboCash, gift cards from local businesses and some bundles from the ACS, [such as] cups, mugs and the sorts of gifts they are willing to give to the participants,” Silver said. “And right now we are working with barber shops in Davis Square to offer free shaves at the end of the contest.”

At the end of the month, University President Monaco will act as the judge of the contest.

“The ‘November No Shave’ is an interesting and fun way to support the Relay for Life activities in support of the fight against cancer and specifically in this case, [for] awareness of men’s cancer,” Monaco told the Daily in an email.

Monaco said that he has already pictured what a winning beard will look like.

“I will be looking for style, grooming and who reminds me most of the Boston Red Sox,” he said.

Sophomore and contest participant Jem Wilner explained that although he is unsure of which mustache or beard to sport for the contest, he wishes he could do more to help with RFL’s cause.

“Obviously, RFL is an incredibly important foundation … for an incredibly important cause,” he said. “Even what I’m doing is such a small thing for them; I’m happy that I could get involved as much as possible … I encourage everyone to grow out a beard.”12