Music was playing in 202 East in Brower Student Center last Wednesday night, not for a dance, but something even better. Cuts for Cancer, co-sponsored by Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) and Sigma Pi Fraternity, was in full swing – music, snacks, haircuts and all.
For $1 to enter and $25 for a haircut by a professional stylist, students could donate to the American Cancer Society. Caitlin Coyle, sophomore communication studies major and vice president of CAC, and Daniel Fernandez, sophomore political science major and representative of Sigma Pi fraternity, worked together avidly with help from their student organizations to put this event together.
“The idea was brought up at a meeting as a fundraiser done at a high school. We decided to bring it here and add a college twist,” Coyle said. Coyle has been participating in events that spread cancer awareness since before she came to the College.
Sigma Pi volunteered its time and DJ equipment. “Even though it was outside of our national philanthropy, it was something all the brothers were behind. It touched a lot of the brothers’ lives,” Fernandez said.
JoAnna Wilson, freshman elementary education and psychology major, who also helped organize this event, has been elected as the new advocacy chair for CAC. She is also involved in similar organizations like the Make a Wish Alumni Committee, and participates frequently in cancer awareness events such as Relay for Life. As a cancer survivor, Wilson volunteered to speak at Cuts for Cancer, sharing her experience and receiving a haircut herself.
Students were not the only ones who donated their time to spread cancer awareness. Great Cuts, located both in Nassau Park and in Hamilton Marketplace, provided the professional haircuts.
Melissa Lomiguen, sophomore nursing major and survivor chair of CAC, contacted Caryn Hoffman, manager at the Nassau Park salon. After talking to the salon owner, Hoffman and two other hair stylists volunteered their time and skills.
“Nick and Denise Schiera, the owners of the salons, jump at the chance of giving back,” Hoffman said. Great Cuts also participates in Locks of Love at its salons, in which stylists provide haircuts free of charge for those who donate 10 inches or more of hair.
Maddy Dempsey, who has been a hairstylist at Great Cuts for five years, shared her reaction to the event while taking a break from cutting hair.
“We’ve never done something like this before, and I think it’s great,” she said.
Reactions like this were common. Many people at the event were pleased with the crowd of supporters. With only an hour left, there were still students waiting in chairs to receive haircuts.
Among the food, music and haircuts, a table was set up promoting the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and encouraging students to sign up on a team or create their own. Relay for Life will be held in the Student Recreation Center on April 11 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
With the number of supporters who attended the event and the immense optimism shown by everyone involved, Cuts for Cancer was a success.
“(The event) went really well. I’m happy with the turnout,” Fernandez said. “Sigma Pi did a lot for publicity, putting banners up and spreading the event through Facebook and e-mail.”
The success of the event was apparent to Shannon Heger, senior health and exercise science major and president of CAC.
“It’s going really great,” she said during the event. “Twenty-three people have already received haircuts and there are a lot of people going in and out.”
The organizations ended the night making $965 in donations to the American Cancer Society, and instilling a sense of awareness and optimism in the hearts of students at the College.
CAC holds its weekly meetings Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. in Social Sciences Building room 321. Certain weeks will be set aside for Relay for Life-specific information. The group can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. The event will be an influential way to unite students in the fight against cancer.