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Movember: Frat Boys Making A Difference, One Mustache At A Time

Alana Bracken |
November 17, 2014 | 3:04 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

The rules of Movember, as outlined by the organization (Twitter - @Movember)
The rules of Movember, as outlined by the organization (Twitter - @Movember)
As LA slowly makes its transition from sweltering summer weather into fall, one can see a change in its people with the change of weather. Girls have traded in high-waisted shorts and crop tops for comfy sweaters and knee-high boots, and guys have opted for…mustaches?

Though the changing weather cannot take credit for this style choice, November has become a time for men to ditch their razors and take part in a campaign known as “Movember.” Thousands of men participate every year by tending to a ‘stache for the entire month. This fleet of mustache-clad men is the face of the Movember campaign.

The Movember Foundation is a global organization committed to raising vital funds for men’s health programs. Started in 2003 by a group of friends in Melbourne, Australia, the campaign has raised more than $559 million to date. With this money, Movember helps men worldwide suffering from prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems get the care they need.

READ MORE: Movember Style Guide

Two fraternities at USC have committed to a house-wide participation in the campaign. Alpha Epsilon Pi held a sorority kickball tournament two weeks ago to raise money for their effort.

“At our philanthropy, every sorority paid a fee to participate in the tournament. In addition, the day of, we sold tank tops to those who participated,” said Ivan Porto, a senior in AEPi. “The money collected from both aspects of the tournament went straight to our fund for Movember.”

 Twitter - @LifeofDadShow)
Twitter - @LifeofDadShow)

Beta Theta Pi started taking part in Movember last year. Sean McCall, a junior, who organized the event for the chapter, has participated in the campaign three years in a row and has personal ties to the cause.

When I was a freshman in high school, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer,” he said. “He fully recovered and has been cancer free for 6 years now, but what I don't think people realize is how cancer affects people's lives even after they've had it. I started growing a mustache as a sign of support for men's health victims everywhere.”

Last year, when he started his fundraising page, a few fraternity brothers approached McCall, saying they wanted to do the same. By November 30, the chapter collectively raised $15,250, making them the top undergraduate fundraising group in the country. Considering the success Beta had their first year, the chapter thought it only seemed right to participate again this year.

Since, 65 brothers of the house have a Mo Space, which is a web page to collect donations. Members of the house reach out to family and friends to support the cause.

“We rely a lot on the support of our family, friends and fellow Trojans. We have a few events planned later this month, and people should definitely keep their eye out for those, but the majority of our donations come from us just reaching out to friends and family,” said McCall.

AEPi's Ivan Porto rocking his Movember 'stache (Facebook - Ivan Porto)
AEPi's Ivan Porto rocking his Movember 'stache (Facebook - Ivan Porto)
After two weeks of fundraising, Beta has raised over $8,000, putting them well on their way to reaching their $17,000 goal. AEPi has also made significant steps with their fundraising as every brother continues to collect money for the cause through their Mo Space page.

READ MORE: 5 Mustached Musicians for Movember

One of the most important aspects of Movember is to create a dialogue on men’s health. Considering college-aged guys don’t normally rock the mustache trend year-round nowadays, the campaign opens the door to the men’s health conversation with a simple, “Dude, what's on your face?”

Across the board, according to McCall, men’s health has a stigma around it. By growing mustaches and participating in Movember, he hopes to change that.

“The reality is, 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Whether it's caused by pride, or just sheer lack of knowledge, men need to step their game up for maintaining their health,” he said. “Just the same, we all need to support charities that contribute to the care and research of these diseases, so that men everywhere can lead long and fulfilling lives.”

If you want to make a donation to either team, click here to go to Beta's page and click here to go to AEPi's page.

This story is part of Culture For Change, a month-long Arts and Culture exploration of cultural activism in L.A. For the other stories in the collection, click here.

Reach Staff Reporter Alana Bracken here and follow her on Twitter here.



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