Poorly maintained and nausea-inducing facial hair is a tragedy for a large amount of people. McMaster, while not as bad as some universities, e.g., Western, is a common ground for students to attempt to express themselves through the inability to actually grow a good looking mustache. 11 months of the year, this is terrible.

November is the singular month where these previously appalling acts of hair have become tolerated and encouraged for the greater good. With the rising relevance of “Movember” on a global and McMaster scale and the work involved with raising awareness and donating to prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health research, even the smallest mustaches can become fashion statements for advocacy.

Though Movember is fairly common knowledge at this point, especially compared to its grassroots beginnings back in 2003, it remains an important contribution towards these areas of research. While a large portion of people will participate in spreading awareness, a more significant amount of effort continues to be placed by the MSU on the fundraising aspect of the month. The correct decision to continue to encourage students to do more towards relevant causes is commendable.

While there are a large amount of charities and causes on campus, the barrier to entry for Movember remains extremely low — not shaving is easy to do. It would be easy to ignore the issue and let the people do as they please from an MSU standpoint as it has enough traction and popularity as is.  The adjustment from just another cause to a large-scale event, however, demonstrates the ability of student leaders to recognize and advocate for popular issues its population deems important. This gives a large amount of hope to other campus causes to reach the level of Movember.

This shift most likely began in 2014. McMaster received $200,000 over a two-year term from the Movember Discovery Grant, which allowed two researchers, Gurmit Singh and Khalid Al-Nedawi, to further research depression relating to prostate cancer and hormone therapy resistance. It was also during this year that the transfer of promotion responsibilities began to shift from the relatively small “McMO’sters” campaign that began in 2012 to the substantially larger MSU Campus Events banner.

While spreading awareness and general accessibility, mainly in encouraging women to contribute in ways that do not involve facial hair growth, has been a substantial part of Movember’s growth, the MSU have shifted substantially since that period in time towards actually raising funds.

The number of events has rapidly increased. This year includes bake sales, a comedy night, a gamers night, an open mic night and five dates slotted for an information table in MUSC. These, in addition to custom made t-shirts specifically for Movember at McMaster, add a substantial amount of legitimacy and fundraising to the cause.

While I will also be participating in the growing of a hilariously bad mustache, this is the first year since high school that the desire to actually donate to the cause has been apparent. Observing student leaders put effort towards common causes and having this effort so apparent in the culture of the campus is incredibly encouraging for the participation in more global issues through campus initiatives.

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