“Movember” raises awareness for men’s health on campus
Growing mustaches in November is fun, but it also benefits a mission for men’s health. The “Movember” movement took place on campus this year for the second time.
Movember is a global movement aimed at raising funds and awareness for men’s health by encouraging participants to grow unique mustaches. The participants promote their mustaches through social media to raise money and awareness for men’s health. The Movember foundation also hosts various events throughout the year to raise awareness and funds for the cause. It was brought to the UO campus by Eric Garcia last year.
Nikita Ramakrishnan, a senior at UO and the Movember coordinator on campus, worked with the counseling center’s Outreach Coordinator Suzie Stadelman to create an inclusive event on campus for all genders to support men’s health.
At UO, there are several events throughout the month of November aimed at raising awareness and making a lasting impact on students, according to Ramakrishnan.
“The college age is hugely about identity development,” Ramakrishnan said. “I think that it’s a pivotal time when we are developing relationships intimately, with friends and family, creating our identity and growing.”
Movember was created during 2003 in Australia by two friends as a way to bring the mustache trend back into fashion and has since expanded into a global charity raising money and awareness for men’s health, according to the Movember website. They have focused their efforts to combat testicular cancer, prostate cancer and suicide through fundraising and awareness events across the globe. By 2030, they plan to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25 percent, the website states.
Ramakrishnan said that Movember on UO’s campus is similar.
“We’ve just added additional focuses for men’s mental health and men’s identity development. Movember encapsulates men’s different identities outside of what’s standard or normative in society,” Ramakrishnan said.
The movement encourages people of all genders to participate in raising awareness for men’s health.
“It’s important for everyone to know this information because we all have men in our lives,” Stadelman said.
At UO, the main focus is raising awareness, rather than funds because, according to Stadelman, there are certain rules about faculty and staff asking students for money.
“If funds are raised on the side then that’s great, but the main goal is to start conversations and destigmatize seeking help,” Stadelman said.
Ramakrishnan’s major is women and gender studies. Coordinating Movember serves as her required internship credit for the major. She started planning the event in July by contacting the various departments within the university to hold events and participate in Movember.
Each department created its own events based on what its target audience would want to go to, Ramakrishnan said. For example, the UO rec center is hosting a yoga class for men’s health on Nov. 12, and the Duck Nest is hosting a Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder workshop on Nov. 16. A complete list of the events can be found on the UO event calendar online.
On Nov. 9, Common Grounds hosted a Movember event called Speak Easy, an open mic night in support of men’s health.
Collin Hannatty, a freshman who attended the event said, as a man, “being hurt or injured makes you seem weak.” He said it’s important to talk about this issue at the college level “because we’re still in that age of trying to find out who we are.”
One of the ways they are engaging students to participate in Movember is through a photo contest.
According to Ramakrishnan, there is an ongoing photo contest throughout the month of November open to all students. After submitting a photo and brief description of what healthy masculinity is to the student through the UO Calendar page, they are entered into a raffle to win ten dollar gift cards to EMU vendors. One person will win a Fitbit as well, Ramakrishnan said.
“It’s a really important message to send to men, that if you’re struggling, it’s okay to reach out for help,” Stadelman said.