Men on campus support prostate cancer by growing out facial hair

'No Shave November' is an opportunity to support a cause.

For some, it is an excuse to be lazy.

But in the end, the results are always similar: a bushel full of facial hair not as common during the other 11 months of the year.

Grand Rapids sophomore Mitch Hoogland is participating, with several other new pledges of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, to help raise awareness of prostate cancer.

“Our pledge class wanted to be active in the community, and we thought this would be a good way to do that,” he said.  “It’s inconvenient for us (to have the facial hair), but it could be a lot worse if we actually had prostate cancer.”

Hoogland said 11 pledges agreed to do it at the start of November, but only four pledges remain.

“I’m going to really try and do the whole month, but it is starting to get pretty itchy,” he said.

There are certain remedies he is trying to help make it less irritating.

“I shampoo and wash my face twice a day to keep the itch minimal as possible, and try not to touch my face to keep it less greasy,” Hoogland said.

For Rochester senior Brendon Riha, this might be the last November he will be able to partake in the tradition.

“It’s a fun thing to do and it’s probably the last time I’ll be able to do it before I get into my career,” he said.

Riha has done 'No Shave November' before, but this will be the first time he will complete the whole month.

“I’m hoping it doesn’t get too bad, but at this rate, it could be pretty rough,” he said.

However, his girlfriend is not a big fan.

“It looks really rugged,” Davison senior Erin Calhoun said. “I like the goatee but I don’t like the beard, and I don’t like the mustache because the whiskers go up my nose when he kisses me -- and it’s awkward.  But I still love him, though.”

Plymouth senior Mike Kowalski endures a month long of scruffiness for social factors.

“It is the only month that is socially acceptable to walk around and look like a lumberjack,” he said.  “No matter how dirty it comes in, it’s just totally cool.”

Kowalski said he does not listen to anyone’s input if they try to persuade him to shave it.

“Around like one to two weeks in is usually the time where kids are like, ‘Oh my girlfriend made me shave it or it’s itching me,’ but you just have to man up and push through it,” Kowalski said.

Although some might do certain things to maintain their facial hair throughout the month, Kowalski lets his grow naturally.

“You’re not allowed to touch it,” he said. “You’re not allowed to trim; you’re not allowed to shave your neck — nothing.  You just got to let it go.”

'No Shave November' is also a time for Kowalski’s competitive side to show with his buddies.

“When it comes to hunt camp, on Nov. 15, we just go up there and see who has the best one,” Kowalski said. “We always give each other crap for whoever looks the dirtiest.”


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