No-Shave November
John Carswell, a sophomore, marine vertebrae biology major, poses for a photo after an Organic Chemistry lecture on November 20, 2013. Carswell has been doing No Shave November for four years now. “I just like beards.” Photo by Heather Khalifa.

If you have seen an excess number of scruffy men this month, it turns out it is not because they are lazy, or suddenly turning hipster. The laziness factor may be a slight part of it, but the real reason behind the hairiness is much more honorable than that. The actual reason is to raise awareness for men’s health and prostate cancer.

“We’re doing No-Shave November to raise money for testicular cancer,” Jonathan Marinozzi, member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, said. Marinozzi and the rest of the fraternity are all participating this month in the hopes of raising money for men’s health and wellness.

No-Shave November has been the most recent trend in raising awareness for cancer. It began in the 90s, and has been increasing in popularity and practice with each passing year.

Not shaving for a month is one of the easiest and most effective ways to raise awareness for a good cause, which is why the popularity of growing out a beard in November has caught on for so many. Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among men, with very few symptoms to detect in its early stages, and with no clear answer as to what the cause is. So, to raise awareness to this disease, many men chose to not pick up a razor for the entire month of November. For some, the release of their inner Zach Galifianakis can have dramatic results. Not so much for others. But at the end of the month, their goal of raising awareness for men’s health has been reached.

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Some here at Stony Brook insist that growing a beard, like everything else, just takes practice. Ryan Burda, a senior computer science major, has seen an increase in how much hair he has grown in all the years he has participated, and credits this to patience and practice.

“I’m always embarrassed at how little I can grow, but this is the first year that I’ve grown something decent,” Burda, said.

John Giordano, anthropology major and a year-round beard enthusiast also believes that growing a beard requires years of experience and practice.

“I’ve been doing this since I was 18, and it’s been getting better and better ever year. It takes practice,” Giordano said.

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As for first-timers, they have found that they are enjoying this experience, even if it takes a while to get used to.

“It’s grueling right now,” William Sorge, sophomore cinema and cultural studies major, said. “But it’s worth it.”

Other first-timers discovered how convenient the self-insulating beard could be in the bitter beginnings of winter.

“Generally I hate facial hair, but it’s been brutally cold, and it keeps my face warm,” Aaron Watkins, senior sociology major, said. “Who knows, this might turn in to no-shave spring.”

No-Shave November has expanded to its own Facebook page, and also has shows like “The Today Show” with anchors Matt Lauer and Al Roker, along with Carson Daly, embracing their facial hair. Their participation shows that the month does not exclude any person or profession, even if you are make a living off of being on-camera. They, along with many other men, are broadcasting the cause by proudly wearing it on their face.

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Students at Stony Brook University are no different. At SBU, many found that they were unintentionally participating in the month-long event, while others have been willing participants since Nov. 1.

To get some of the insight behind No Shave November here at Stony Brook University, check out this photo gallery of 15 fellow Seawolves who have embraced their grungy sides for the sake of raising awareness for prostate cancer.

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