Ice Bucket Challenge: Yea or Nay?

Michelle Peace Photos

By Sarah Home

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice… bucket challenge?

In case you’re new to the fundraiser that has now gone viral, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association created the task of nominating friends to donate money to the non-profit organization within 24 hours or suffer the consequences of being drenched with a bucket of ice water.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects and takes over brain and spinal cord nerve cells to eventually, and indefinitely revoke all control over muscle movement until death.

I have difficulty scrolling through my daily social media feed without coming in contact with at least a handful of friends’ freshly posted challenge videos. And come to think of it, I don’t know the last time I even got through a TV news segment without seeing clips of celebrities getting dumped on by the infamous bucket of water.

But what I find more difficult is understanding how the videos became such a trend, so fast. If the point of accepting and participating in an ice bucket challenge is to excuse yourself from donating money, how does ALS raise any funds? And even without the funds, is ALS really raising awareness?

Okay, sure, if everyone is participating in this ALS challenge then you assume that people are (at least) still hearing about and understanding the ALS association, even if money isn’t being donated.

But, by pouring a bucket of ice-cold water over our heads and calling out friends’ names, are we really learning about the cause and its importance of it?

Out of curiosity, I took the liberty of interviewing students on campus to get their take on it. What I found was quite interesting.

After asking 30 students what they knew about ALS, I received 27 answers that entailed something to the extent of “it’s an ice bucket challenge to raise money.”

Only three out of the 30 students were able to give the organization’s full name, and only two actually knew what Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis was.

Senior Rachel Frick took the opportunity to share her feelings about the fundraiser, as her grandfather is a carrier of the disease.

“I am honestly a big fan of the challenge. Granted, I don’t know that everyone is actually taking the time to donate [money] or learn more about it, but at least I know the topic is now out there in the public and being talked about – more so than ever before. People may not fully understand what this disease is, but at least they now know it exists, and is an ongoing problem.”

Senior Lauren Martin, though, expressed a different opinion on the matter.

“The ice bucket challenge has turned Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis into a social media trend. People are too busy posting their videos to research this repulsive illness and actually do something about it. It’s not being taken seriously, and I don’t agree with it.”

Regardless of your participation, or lack thereof, in the notorious ice bucket challenge, what’s your take on it?

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