Movember is the new November.
Around the world, moustaches have been sprouting on men’s faces, and hairiness is the style standard. The Movember movement began in 2003 in Australia, where “Mo” is slang for “moustache.” Mo Bros, supported by Mo Sistas, raise awareness and funds for men’s health by starting out clean-shaven on Movember 1 and pledging to not shave during the 30 days of Movember. The effort focuses specifically on prostate cancer, a major issue since one in six men is diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Emily Calandrelli, a second-year MIT graduate student, launched the Movember effort at MIT this year as the outreach chair for the Sidney Pacific Graduate Community. She reached out to many groups through avenues such as the Graduate Student Council and the Interfraternity Council to recruit Mo Bros and Mo Sistas.
Participating teams include groups from the MIT Sloan School of Management, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, the Technology Policy Program, the Department of Biological Engineering and several fraternities. According to Calandrelli, it was easy to convince people to participate.
"Most guys don’t want to look creepy by themselves, but in a group they’re very willing to do it,” she says. Mo Sistas are also playing an important part in the effort as team captains and organizational leaders.
The MIT Movember Network has 120 members and has raised $8,554 as of Nov. 28, nearly triple the original goal of $3,000. All funds raised through the Movember U.S. campaign support Movember, a national nonprofit organization partnered with the National Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, The Lance Armstrong Foundation. So far $174 million in global funds has been raised and 1.1 million people have registered for Movember.
In line with the goal of staying healthy, MIT Movember is holding a winter safety equipment raffle sponsored through the MIT Public Service Center to raise more money. Donations of $5 to any team or individual in the MIT Movember network can count as an entry in the raffle, which features eyewear such as ski and snowboard goggles and polarized aviators. The winners will be announced on Dec. 1, the same day a Movember Gala Parté will be held at Royale Boston.
Across the world, Movember participants will be dressing up in mustached costumes (e.g. Mario, Sherlock Holmes, Village People, etc.) to celebrate the month’s efforts. Emily Calandrelli plans on making this effort an annual MIT campus-wide event. Judging by its success so far, Movember may literally be changing the face of men’s health.