Shaggy Beards to Benefit Charity

Dec 18, 2009 6:59pm

ABC News on Campus reporter Chris Badders blogs: Five-kilometer races, specialty dinners and bake sales are events typically associated with Greek life when fraternities and sororities set out to raise money for  their respective charities. At UNC-Chapel Hill, the brothers at Pi Kappa Phi took their fundraising to, well, a hairier level. At left, fraternity brother Jordan Ransenberg on Day 1 and Day 11 of his no-shaving pledge. No-Shave November is an emerging annual event on college campuses nationwide – this past November there were hundreds of Facebook pages dedicated to the cause. Pi Kappa Phi chose that method to raise money for Push America, the philanthropy for all Pi Kappa Phi fraternities.  Push America's programs, according to its website, "were created to educate and provide a quality hands-on experience for members of Pi Kappa Phi while enhancing the lives of people with disabilities." Fraternity brothers volunteer for construction projects such as building wheelchair ramps and renovating playgrounds, and participating in events such as Journey of Hope, a 4,000-mile bike trip across the country to raise awareness of people with disabilities. And as part of the fundraising efforts, from November 1 until the end of the month, participants weren’t allowed to shave, no matter what. The fraternity brothers, who normally sport freshly shaved faces, modified  the rules so that the 16 brothers who participated could shave once they had raised $100. The event wasn’t mandatory, so not everyone participated.
According to Push America’s Director of Chapter Services Andrew Matznick,  the fraternity raised about $1,000 growing their beards, and the UNC chapter is the only one who chose this method to fundraise.
“Most fundraisers can range anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars,” Matznick said. “A thousand is definitely a good number and is definitely appreciated.” UNC Pi Kappa Phi philanthropy chair Drew Hammond, 20, said he created a website through which people could send contributions. Once the event began, he added, the money came in quickly. “Most of the guys were just begging their parents to donate the money because they wanted to shave,” Hammond said. Since most of the brothers in the fraternity normally shave every day, the long stretches without shaving produced some unsightly beards –  and the opportunity to pull a prank on a girlfriend.
“We only had like three or four guys that could grow legitimate beards,” Hammond said. “Everybody else was pretty patchy, they looked like pirates.” One brother in particular took the opportunity to scare his girlfriend before shaving off his November fur. The week of her sorority’s parents' day cocktail party he had raised the money but still hadn’t shaved. “He freaked her out for about a week and shaved the day of,” Hammond said.  “It was pretty funny to watch.”

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