On a humid October evening, Springfield’s Great Clips was busy and full of Wittenberg students waiting to have their heads shaved for cancer awareness.
The program “Shavetember” began last year when Resident Adviser (RA), Jake Ferrier, tag-teamed with fellow RA, Jeff Mengerink to create a program that encompassed a need for their residents, as well as a desire to support cancer awareness. This year, Ferrier and Mengerink opened up the program to the whole campus, and as a result doubled their turnout and had, for the first time ever, a female participant. In the two years of doing the program, junior Maggi Quigley became the first girl to get her head shaved.
Junior Adam Allbright said before his haircut he was feeling scared and apprehensive but excited. “I thought it’d be nice to show my support with such a commitment as this,” said Allbright.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “each year globally, 12.7 million people learn they have cancer, and 7.6 million people die from the disease.”
Ferrier said he thought that sometimes on a college campus we are not always aware of what happens. As an RA he said, “What better program to do to get people aware of the disease than to go shave their head to symbolize the battle that people go through when they have to go through chemotherapy.”
When Ferrier was in the fourth grade, his father was diagnosed with colon cancer. He battled for ten years, but two weeks before beginning his freshman year, Ferrier’s father passed away. “Cancer can sometimes be something that hits you at the worst time in your life,” said Ferrier.
The electric buzz of hair clippers filled the salon as tufts of different colored hair fell to the floor, each clump of hair representing a student’s commitment to cancer awareness.
As the ladies of Great Clips swept piles of blonde, and brunette, and Quigley’s flaming red hair into a nearby vacuum machine, the guys and Quigley each emerged from their chairs rubbing their newly bared scalps, feeling the softness of their buzz cuts, and complimenting and teasing each other on their new looks.
“I’ve never noticed my ears so much in my life,” said freshman Sam Archinal.
Ferrier himself had nothing left but his eyebrows and his thick dark beard.
The first thing Quigley said was, “I’m like a cat.” Quigley later said that she believes all women should shave their heads at least once in their lifetime.
Ferrier and Mengerkin plan on doing Shavetember again next September. It is their hope that someone will step up and continue the program after they graduate.