Northwest students cut off at least eight inches of their hair Friday in Bearcat Arena for Cut Loose, an event arranged by Northwest’s Up ‘til Dawn organization.
Up ‘til Dawn is an organization that raises awareness and funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. It hosts various events throughout the year to reach its fundraising goal of $40,000.
Cut Loose was an event organized by side events chair Liz Conard. She had donated hair before with events in high school.
“It’s great for a rally against cancer,” Conard said. “It’s just a simple aspect. Sometimes you can’t always give money, but hair grows back, and I just feel like it’s an easy thing for us to donate as broke college students.”
When the event started, 55 students registered to donate their hair to Children With Hair Loss (CWHL). Conard was excited for the turn out because it surpassed her “shoot for the stars” goal of 50.
The event was publicized using posters, social media and a booth in the Student Union. Freshman Elizabeth Skelly heard about it when executive board members stopped her and said she should donate her hair.
“The more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be a good idea because my hair has gotten so long and I don’t need that much hair,” Skelly said. “There are people and kids that need hair more than I do. I just thought it was for a good cause and a good time to do it.”
Senior Evan Brown was another student who donated his hair. He had known about the event months in advance, so he grew out his hair so he could donate it. In the past three years, he had only cut his hair once. It ended up being about six inches long but he hadn’t donated it.
“I’m excited that my hair’s just not going into the trash can this time,” Brown said. “It’s actually being donated to something good, so I may as well help. It’s just extra hair for me, but if I can help anybody look normal and feel good about themselves, then why not? I just hope it goes to someone that needs it more than I do.”
CWHL is a non-profit organization that provides kids with free wigs every year until they turn 21. Before cutting their hair, students watched a video that showed how important the wigs are for the children that receive them.
There were about 200 people at the event because each person donating their hair brought a friend to cut their hair, and others came to watch. At the end of the video, there was a countdown so they could all cut their hair at the same time. People from the stands ran down to watch and record their friends getting their haircut.
After the majority had finished the process, Conard said that anyone else who then wanted to donate their hair could do so. About 20 more people decided to, making a total of 74 hair donations.
One person who decided to cut her hair last minute was graduate student Lucy Hilliard. She had never donated her hair before because it had been short since her senior year of high school. Seeing the video and the impact the donations had helped her choose to participate.
“It’s just hair, it’ll grow back,” Hilliard said. “I might as well do it for somebody who doesn’t have that ability. Just seeing everyone’s reactions and just knowing that it’ll mean something to someone else is really worth it.”
Cut Loose was also an event to fundraise toward the goal of $40,000. Conard had pointed out the executive board had already raised almost half of it before the semester had ended. Students were encouraged to donate with two different raffles.
The University Police Department gave away four two-week faculty/staff parking passes and President Jasinski would invite one student with five of their friends to a home-cooked meal at his house. Every $5 donated was one entry into both of the raffles.
The event raised a total of $402.