Mustaches adorned many faces on St. Bonaventure’s campus this November.
More than 80 students, faculty and staff members participated in a global cancer awareness initiative called Movember, which raised awareness for men’s prostate and testicular cancer.
St. Bonaventure participants raised $2,373 for this cause, and they were just one of nearly 15,000 teams to participate in this global challenge.
Dr. David Hilmey, faculty coordinator of Movember, said this initiative enabled participants to openly talk about things men do not like to talk about, such as going to the doctor.
“These mustaches gave us a reason to talk about getting checkups for prostate cancer,” he said. “If we are just a little more open about our health, maybe we will start to take care of ourselves a little better and avoid bigger problems down the road.”
Michael Robinson, a junior biology major, decided to participate because Movember adds a twist to the normal “No-Shave November,” when men typically grow just beards. He also participated because he had a family member affected by cancer when he was younger.
“My grandfather, many years back, had prostate cancer,” he said. “Luckily, they were able to detect it early on, but for others that is not always the case.”
Br. Kevin Kriso, O.F.M., staff coordinator of Movember, said something unique about the SBU team were the “Mo Sistas,” women who were able to educate the campus community about the cause and support the men throughout the mustache growing process.
Regina Penepent, a junior “Mo Sista,” said her guy friends at SBU kept talking about the event throughout the month of October, and she wanted to figure out a way to get involved with the cause as well.
“Aside of shaving mustaches, I wore a bracelet around my wrist this whole month to spark conversations with people about the cause,” she said.
Devin Phaguda, a junior biology major, led the team in donations with this year’s challenge. He singlehandedly raised $600 for the Movember initiative.
“It is difficult to ask other college students to donate their money because a majority of us are full-time students with no real income,” he said. “However, I hoped that when people saw my ‘fashion statement’ of a mustache that they were curious enough to do their own research and stumble upon the great philanthropic charity.”
Hilmey said in next year’s challenge he would like to see alumni join the SBU Movember team so they can support the effort further in their communities. He also hopes for more faculty and staff to participate in the challenge next year, since the majority of participants were students.
“Students at Bona’s continue to amaze me in their concern for others and in their persistence,” Hilmey said. “They were fantastic, and it was a real pleasure to work with them.
Pictured, some of the SBU community members who grew moustaches in November to support men’s health were (seated, from left) Fr. John Coughlin, O.F.M., Dave Hilmey, Br. Kevin Kriso, O.F.M, Angeline Pham (who helped raise money and supported her friends who grew moustaches), Clarence Picard, and (back row, from left) Devin Phaguda, Greg Faughnan, Nick Turgeon, Howard Spear, Brad Smith and Aashish Abraham.
Photo by Tom Missel