November, also known to some as No Shave November, is a month where men opt out of shaving their beards and mustaches in support of men’s health.
Four students have used their environmental science class project as a vehicle to promote awareness and raise funds for the Movember Foundation.
The Movember Foundation was started in 2003 and has since raised more than $650 million by advocating for men’s health awareness. With an emphasis on testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and men’s inactivity, Movember provides ways for anyone to be an advocate for better health by providing groups with posters and other mustache-related paraphernalia.
Tryce Prince, Erick Koster, Preston Wall and Dawson Spencer have chosen to use their faces as a means to make other students aware of men’s health. The group chose this foundation because its campaigns are designed to target college- to middle-aged men.
“We chose the Movember Movement because we felt it was extremely relevant to the ACU campus,” said Prince, freshman political science major from Ada, Oklahoma. “Men’s health is something that is oftentimes overlooked by college-age males. We wanted to educate our peers on the health disorder that could affect them.”
The project was introduced in Dr. Jim Cooke’s environmental science class with a purpose to investigate an environmental problem and how students can bring forth awareness, education and action. Prince said his group’s focus was on awareness, though they are taking donations as well.
“The goal of our project was to first raise awareness, then raise money,” Prince said. “We felt it was important to educate our peers on men’s health so they could better their lives, which would in turn better the lives of those around them. We think any amount of money we receive whether big or small will help that cause.”
Koster, senior marketing major from San Antonio, introduced the idea to the group after some friends of his were involved in support of a friend who was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
“Mental health is a big problem for college students with the stresses and cultural changes as well as expectations placed on college students,” he said. “We oftentimes opt to focus on grades, organizations and relationships while forgetting to take care of ourselves both mentally and physically.”
Koster also has a personal connection to his motives, as he has struggled with his own health in the past.
“Personally, I have seen this in my life struggling with depression through my freshman year. I am thankful that I was able to recognize and speak out about my issues to solve them, but I know many students have gone undiagnosed and untreated with serious mental issues,” he said.
With a goal to start conversations among students and make their male counterparts more aware of their health, these men used their faces as billboards.
“A mustache is rare to see in society these days, especially among college students,” said Wall, sophomore accounting major from Carrollton. “So by growing a mustache, people would look at us strange or ask us why we had a mustache, and we were able to tell them about what we were doing and how it was changing the face on men’s health. Not only were we able to share insight about men’s health with others, we were able to learn a lot about it as well through this process.”
Before the project, Prince, Koster and Wall said they weren’t as aware of men’s health as they have become through the project.
“Looking into what the Movember Foundation does and some of the statistics attached to the issues of mental health, testicular and prostate cancer were alarming because I had no understanding previously to how common these issues were,” Koster said. “We also found these issues to be prevalent to college-aged males, and understanding them makes taking them on so much better.”
Prince said the project has made him more aware of his own health and the importance of advocating good health.
“I see nonprofits and men’s health advocates as something that is necessary to support now that I have been a product of their efforts to raise awareness and plan on supporting the Movember foundation for years to come,” he said.