By Melissa Natividade Staff Writer
Taking razors to their full heads of hair, the brothers of Phi Alpha Delta fraternity held their annual fundraising event to aid victims of and support research for pediatric cancer on Friday, April 1, in the Decker Social Space. The “Brave the Shave” event marked the culmination of an awareness week for pediatric cancer. Phi Alpha Delta raised over $20,000 for the cause.
Organized by sophomore business major Brendan Harshman and junior business major Tim D’Armiento, the “Brave the Shave” event raised a total of $21,098 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. According to its website, the volunteer-driven charity funds more childhood cancer research grants than any other organization besides the U.S. government.
“I was really impressed and surprised with how easy it was to raise money and how much people wanted to support the cause,” sophomore business management major and Phi Alpha Delta member Brian Ely said. “We just shouted out to friends and family and got money almost instantly. We raised over $20,000 when our goal was really only to meet last year’s $6,000.”
Fifty people, including returning alumni, such as 2013 graduate Ed D’Armineto, officially signed up for a shave — almost twice as many as last year, when the fraternity first held the event on campus. The actual number of shavees this year, however, surpassed this number as members of the community both on and off campus caught wind of the event.
Freshman psychology major Hannah Lemke saw the event posted on Instagram and rushed over to join the cause, while Ewing, N.J., resident Selina Schlegel brought her son in for a shave after learning about the event on the St. Baldrick’s website.
“Having a niece diagnosed with thyroid cancer, the St. Baldrick’s cause is near and dear to us,” Schlegel said. “We try to support it as much as possible, so this event was perfect for us.”
Participants such as Schlegel and her son are what make getting this event on campus so worthwhile to the brothers of Phi Alpha Delta fraternity, who have been working with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for six years now, according to senior biology major and Phi Alpha Delta member Luke Pasick.
“We used to travel down to a firehouse in North Plainfield that already hosted the same event,” Pasick said. “So it was a lot more complicated to get all of the brothers to join in, not to mention everyone else who might not know about the cause but would be interested if they did.”
This was the last event that finished out Phi Alpha Delta’s weeklong fundraising and awareness efforts. Baldrick’s Week also included a “Bumps for Baldrick’s” volleyball tournament, a lifting competition and the “Crazy Cuts for Cancer Research” event, where the fraternity brothers were all given outrageous haircuts a day before they were to shave it all off.
“The Crazy Cuts event is why some of us still have these crazy looking things on our heads,” Harshman said. “In that event alone, we raised over $250. We know that childhood cancer is something that affects a lot of people, but because a lot of times people don’t know that childhood cancer is completely different from other cancers, it’s extremely underfunded and that’s why the cause is so important to us.”