Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the past few months, you’ve probably seen a lot of people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads lately. The Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the Internet by storm, and it’s next to impossible to scroll through your Facebook or Twitter feed without seeing it mentioned. But the Ice Bucket Challenge is more than just a hilarious way to cool off: it was launched as an attention-grabbing way to raise money and awareness for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a debilitating, degenerative, and so far incurable disease that affects roughly 30,000 Americans.
According to the ALS Association, the Ice Bucket Challenge has generated a huge spike in donations. As of this week, they’ve received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year. The challenge has taken off in part thanks to the help of the many celebrities who’ve doused themselves and used their fame to spread the word, including Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, Martha Stewart, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey. Former President George Bush even took part in the effort (and nominated Bill Clinton)!
Not to be outdone, the students, faculty, and staff at several colleges and universities have also stepped up to the plate.
At Kent State University, President Beverly Warren, athletic director Joel Nielsen, and head football Coach Paul Haynes recently took the challenge.
Warren was challenged by Rebecca Windover, an assistant residence hall director whose father-in-law is battling ALS.
“My brother’s best friend lost his life to ALS after a valiant five-year battle, so I didn’t hesitate to agree when Rebecca sent me the challenge,” said Warren. “This is about taking a stand together to help others, and I’m glad that we can donate to such a worthy cause.”
Warren, Nielsen, and Haynes challenged Ohio University to follow suit.
At the University of Texas at Austin, head football coach Charlie Strong accepted the icy challenge in the sweltering summer heat.
Strong nominated UT football greats Kasey Studdard, Ricky Williams, and Vince Young.
At Swarthmore College, the entire men’s soccer team did an epic job of taking part in the challenge.
They called on Swarthmore athletic trainer Allison Hudak, the Garnet Valley field hockey team, and Matt Poole of Widener University’s men’s soccer team to take the challenge next.
And at Shenandoah University, President Tracy Fitzsimmons accepted the challenge on freshman move-in day:
Fitzsimmons used the challenge as an opportunity to call on students everywhere to spend the next year donating their time, money, and talents to the charities of their choice.
Fun fact: even the team at Carnegie Communications (the awesome folks behind CollegeXpress) has joined the fun!
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