Throughout the month of November, Lehigh students might have noticed an increase in men growing facial hair. “No Shave November” may seem like a social media trend, but it is actually for a charitable cause.
Beginning in 2003, the Movember Foundation encourages men to grow mustaches in November to raise awareness and money for men’s health issues, such as high suicide rates and sex-specific cancers. One of its main goals is to reduce premature death in men by 30 percent by 2030.
“Movember is a global phenomenon,” Alex Eney, ’09, said. “The organization does a great job to form a worldwide community that unites to support men’s health. It is more than a fundraiser.”
Eney raised $1,441 this Movember alone.
On campus, Phi Kappa Theta fraternity is a leader in the Movember movement. Philanthropy chair Jared Scharf, ’20, said the organization partners with the Movember Foundation annually to help its cause.
“Movember is important because it raises awareness for men’s health,” Scharf said. “We usually focus on other issues but put less emphasis on problems men face, such as a shorter life expectancy and prostate cancer. Movember puts that needed emphasis on men’s health issues.”
Phi Kap president Zack St. Romain, ’19, has a personal connection to Movember.
“A few of my family members had testicular and prostate cancer, so it feels great to raise money and rally for issues that impact me and my family,” St. Romain said.
Phi Kap members grew mustaches and hosted events for the charity. They had t-shirt and coffee sales and a Parent’s Weekend raffle. The fraternity also co-partnered with NAMI for the Mustacheo Basheo event, where a doctor came to campus to speak about men’s health.
In addition to Phi Kap’s efforts, other members of the Lehigh community took part in their own Movember fundraisers.
Phase Two, an alumni band, performed at the Funhouse on Nov. 17 for a concert to raise money and spread awareness for the organization.
The band formed at Lehigh in 2008 and consists of seven alumni who, for the third year in a row, reunited and performed in Bethlehem specifically for Movember.
The theme for this concert was “bangerz,” so the band performed covers of popular songs from artists such as Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, One Direction and Fall Out Boy.
All proceeds from the concert, including the $5 cover charge, went to the foundation. Prior to the event, the band raised $2,500 during November for the organization. Their current earnings total $5,121, which beats both their $5,000 target goal and the $4,379 raised last year.
Members of the band also grew mustaches.
“It feels great to be involved in raising awareness for issues that affect men around the world,” guitarist Jason Ackerman, ’09, said.
Ackerman raised $2,499 during Movember this year and a total of $7,481 since 2013.
“Our performance this year was the best one yet,” he said. “It was great seeing more students than I expected attend.”
Eney said he enjoys seeing the progression of the mustaches throughout the month.
“The mustaches are grown to help emphasize the point of Movember, but it is still hysterical to see the mustaches grown,” Eney said. “Some people look like they had them for years but others look like a patchy mess.”
St. Romain also liked seeing Phi Kap members grow mustaches. He said it’s a fun event with a clear physical representation.
Even though Movember is only a month, there are still things people can do year-round.
“The best thing is to get informed,” Scharf said. “The best thing you can do is become aware of the issues and spread it.”