No-Shave November Checkup: A Fad or a Charity?

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by Jake Hollister, Contributing Writer

Most guys, as soon as they gain the ability to grow facial hair, mark the month of November on their calendars. To those who’ve been living under a rock, No-Shave November is a month long event where people go a month without shaving. To most it is fad — a fun game to see who can grow the wildest facial hair — but No-Shave November was actually started with good intentions. In 2009, a charity organization partnered with the American Cancer Society was seeking to create an awareness event that everyone (regardless of gender, race, income level) could participate in. As a result, they created “No-Shave November,” designed to raise awareness about cancer (specifically, prostate cancer) by growing hair, which many cancer patients lose. Anyone who takes a walk around UW-Madison’s Campus can easily spot newly sprouting beards. Curious as to the motives and what people actually knew about No-Shave November, I went around campus, spotting students’ premature No-Shave November scruff and asking them a few questions.

I interviewed three random students and asked them each two questions to help me discern whether No-Shave November is really just a fad or a charity to college students: Simon Henson (Left— Class of 2018), Tyler Pinter (Center— Class of 2017), and Travis Balcerzak (Right— Class of 2017).


Question: What motivated you to participate in No-Shave November?

Simon: Um, I don’t really know. My facial grows super fast, and shaving all the time is such a pain. I just kind of use No-Shave November as an excuse to let it all rage.

Tyler: My roommates were doing it so I just thought, “why not.” I also wanted to see how sad my facial hair situation is!

Travis: For me, it’s just a good excuse to be lazy and not shave.

Question: Did you have any idea that by participating in No-Shave November you are raising awareness for cancer?

Simon: I had no idea [chuckling], that’s awesome though! I had a feeling it had to be for some sort of cause!

Tyler: I did actually! It’s to raise awareness for prostate cancer, right? Then, yeah, I was aware of it.

Travis: I had no idea it was used to spread cancer awareness.

After interviewing these fellow Badgers and getting some mixed results, I came to realize that No-Shave November is not about whether it’s a fad or a charity. What it’s really about is participating in a fun event while, whether conscious of it or not, raising awareness for a good cause. I’ll be back on the streets in a few weeks to check out the final results of some of Madison’s finest No-Shave November beards. Until then, keep growing!

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