More than 150 students shaved their heads in Kogan Plaza Sunday as part of a charity event to raise money for children with cancer. The event, organized by student group Buzzing for Change, lasted all day and raised more than $15,000.
Students got their heads shaved throughout the day, in between relaxing and listening to tunes on Kogan Plaza. The money raised will be put toward laptops for the children’s oncology unit at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.
“It’s about giving these kids hope, so they’re not just sitting around in a bed, but making their lives just as successful as they would have been,” said junior Judah Ferst, founder of the organization and event.
Cartoon Cuts, a children’s salon in D.C. provided the five stylists.
Kathee Cassedy, head stylist, said “everyone has been pretty positive,” but noted most were scared to go under the razor.
Ferst said he has been growing his hair out for more than a year in anticipation of the event. His hair has become the symbol for Buzzing for Change. He was one of the first to be shaved.
“It feels weird, like someone just turned the air-conditioning on,” he said. “I’m afraid I’m going to get sunburned.”
Most participants said they were pleased with their contribution.
“I think it’s a good cause and a great experience,” senior Ben Block said.
Block, a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity was one of 15 members who shaved their heads for the event.
“It was sort of a sense of community for our fraternity,” said sophomore Rami Dover, another member of Alpha Epsilon Pi.
In addition to donating money through Buzzing for Change, it was also possible to make donations of hair to a separate charity organization called Locks for Love. Thirty-one donations were made to Locks for Love, which has a minimum donation requirement of 10 inches of hair. “People were just coming in off the street and donating their hair, it was amazing,” said junior Laura Mezer, who volunteered at the event.
Sophomore Mirabelle Oczkow was one of the 31 Locks for Love participants.
“I almost cried I’m not gonna lie, but some kid needs it more than I do,” she said.
The event was sponsored in part by the University; GW Tzedek Hillel, the community service arm of GW Hillel; the Ferst Family Foundation and the College Democrats.
Rob Goldberg, vice president of the International Hillel Association, with headquarters located in Washington D.C. said he gladly shaved his head in support of the cause.
“I feel you always have to put your money where your mouth is,” Goldberg said. “I’ve been very moved by these students’ contributions, and my hair, God willing, will grow back.”
Although organizers intended to break the Guinness Book of World Records’ record for the number of heads shaved, the group fell short by
about 70 heads.
Ferst said he would like to make Buzzing for Change an annual event.
“We’re going to market the idea to other schools and see if we can make it an annual event,” he said.