University students may notice a few more mustached classmates than usual walking around campus this November, or rather, Movember. A men’s health initiative, Movember aims to use the spectacle of newly grown mustaches to start conversations that may lead to the early detection and treatment of the three health issues that affect men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental illness.
Jesse Galganov ’17, who is serving as the University’s campus representative for the campaign, hopes to see a significant increase in participation from the previous two years.
“What I’m trying to do is get as many people involved as possible,” Galganov said. “It’s incredibly easy: you sign up on movember.com, grow a mustache, raise money, and that’s essentially it.”
Movember began in 2003 in Australia and has since spread to 21 countries with over four million participants. In total, more than $500 million has been raised on behalf of the movement. This year, Galganov is part of a roster of campus representatives who will encourage further participation at the university level.
According to Galganov, participation requires a few simple tasks that have the potential to have a large impact. All male participants must begin the month with a clean-shaven face and must grow and maintain a mustache throughout the month. The instructions, which have a humorous tone, also state that fake mustaches—even goatees and beards—do not count in the accumulation of facial hair on which Movember is based. Additionally, the Movember website specifies that “Each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true gentleman.”
By taking a light tone with such a heavy topic, Movember aims to make it easier to have serious conversations about health problems and preventative measures.
Movember has conducted studies in order to determine how effective its campaign has been. Nearly all participants claimed to have used the “power of the mustache” in order to start a conversation about men’s health. Additionally, over half of participants reported becoming more aware of health issues and either went to see a doctor about problems they were experiencing themselves or encouraged someone else to seek treatment for their ailments.
Currently, Wesleyan has a few “MoSpace” pages where supporters can donate to individual students representing campus groups or to pages representing entire groups themselves. This year, Galganov has recruited six teams to participate: DKE, Psi U, and the men’s lacrosse, squash, crew, and wrestling teams. With the addition of these participants, the University’s fundraising goal will be somewhere between $3000 and $5000.
DKE member Terence Durkin ’16 is looking forward to participating this year for his third time.
“Not only is Movember a great conversation starter, and a humiliating process for those like me with little or no facial hair, but also a great way to raise money and awareness for various men’s health issues,” Durkin wrote in an email to The Argus. “After taking part in Movember for the past few years I have seen it grow more and more popular, and hope this trend continue[s].”
In past years, Galganov has single-handedly raised thousands of dollars, and he believes that the University’s fundraising goals are realistic.
“[My first year,] I planned to raise $1000 in 30 days,” Galganov said. “I raised that in three days. I raised over $5200 that year, and I was the top Canadian high school fundraiser. Last year, I raised over $6000 dollars. I have two pages set up, one in the U.S. and one in Canada.”
Galganov stated that his involvement in Movember was motivated by a personal connection to men’s health issues.
“Two years ago was my senior year, and an alumnus of my high school approached my hockey coach,” Galganov said. “His dad had just passed away from prostate cancer. He and a few friends raised over $100 million in one year, and he wanted to get us involved.”
Anybody can sign up to participate on Movember’s website, creating a MoSpace page where donations can be sent. Though Movember focuses on raising awareness about men’s health and involves growing mustaches, women are encouraged to participate as well. The Movember website refers to women who support men’s health as Mo Sistas, as male participants are referred to as Mo Bros. Mo Sistas are encouraged to set up their own fundraising pages, and to encourage friends—males and females—to participate as well in order to start conversations about men’s health with those important to them.
John-Henry Carey ’18 is planning on participating, and he emphasized the importance of the health issues that Movember focuses on.
“Movember is a great cause,” Carey said. “These issues really need more attention in our society. I’m all in, and I can’t wait to participate.”
Galganov also spoke to the potential effects of more widespread awareness about these health issues.
“Early detection of cancer and early acknowledgement of a mental illness can be huge in saving someone’s life,” Galganov said. “It’s important to have the conversations, even if they’re started by mustaches.”