Piles of hair and newly shaven heads filled Kogan Plaza as Buzzing 4 Change celebrated five years of contributions to kids with cancer Sunday afternoon.
Buzzing 4 Change has grown significantly since GW alumnus Judah Ferst started the event – which allows GW students to donate their money and hair in support of children with cancer – in 2003. Other colleges are starting to hold the event and U.S. News and World Report ranks it as one of the most popular events at GW.
“It started off as a smaller event, and as things have gone on, it’s become a big thing here,” said Josh Kiss, the president of Buzzing 4 Change at GW.
Since 2003, Buzzing 4 Change has raised almost $75,000 for Special Love, a camp for children suffering from cancer. Before becoming president, Kiss served as the event’s coordinator and said Buzzing 4 Change could donate the money to cancer research, but chooses to focus on helping those living with cancer.
“We’re focused on making a day-to-day impact and improving the quality of life for kids who have cancer now,” he said. “We want to help them be kids again – at least for a little bit.”
As with every Buzzing 4 Change event, organizers encouraged students to buzz short hair, cut and give long hair and donate money collected from family or friends prior to the event. The event also had food, musical entertainment, a dance group, a comedian and a deejay for the donors to enjoy.
Ferst, who currently serves as president of Buzzing 4 Change’s national board, said he founded the organization in 2003 in memory of his mother. She died from cancer when he was 15.
“It’s about young people – human potential,” Ferst said.
In 2006 Ferst began working to expand Buzzing 4 Change and aimed to have other schools host the event along with GW.
Rutgers University hosted its first Buzzing 4 Change event two weeks ago. Drexel University is scheduled to participate on April 16 and Virginia Tech will hold its first event next fall.
“We’re trying to grow, slowly but surely,” Ferst said. “We really want to get the money to these kids.”
Even students who contribute small amounts of money, can still make a difference, Kiss said.
“If we could get most students at GW to get their parents to donate $30, we’d raise a lot!” he said. “It doesn’t take that much time to say, ‘Hey, Mom, what do you think?'”
Junior Sharon Segal donated her hair to Locks of Love for the third time at this year’s event.
“I think it’s a really good cause,” she said. “I got my parents and my friends and my sorority sisters to donate money.”
Freshman Stephen Muse had Buzzing 4 Change in mind long before he got his hair cut at the event.
“I decided about a year ago that I was going to do it, so I haven’t cut my hair for a year,” he said. “It’s so easy to do, so there’s no reason not to.”