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Oxford students raise over £40,000 for Movember

Over 400 students at Oxford University have so far donated over £40,000 to the Movember campaign for men’s health. The total means that Oxford is currently the 5th highest fundraising university for the campaign and 15th overall in the UK for fundraising networks. 

Fourteen colleges have raised over £1000 and six have raised over £2,000. Lincoln College is head and shoulders above their competition having raised nearly £6000, Balliol and Brasenose are a distant second and third with £3,900 and £2,500 respectively. Then follow Wadham College and St Hilda’s with totals around the £2500 mark. The highest ranking non-college organisation is the Oxford University Rugby Football Club (OURFC) who have raised just over £2000.

Balliol’s Movember Campaign, Balliol does Movember, have created the instagram account @balliolbeards to coordinate their campaign. Fundraising milestones have been set up to motivate donors and document their mustache growth. At the £2000 milestone, which has now been surpassed, one college member promised to wax his legs. At £2,500, another said he would get frosted tips. Followers of the account have also been invited to vote for their favourite historical bearded figures, pitting Karl Marx against the Monopoly man. 

Movember is a charity initiative that takes place annually in November. Its focus is on raising money and awareness for men’s health issues from testicular cancer to suicide. People are encouraged to grow their facial hair, do challenges, or do exercise for the duration of the month in order to raise awareness and donations. 

Men’s mental health has be the subject of increasing attention in recent years. Although suicide and injury or poisoning of undetermined intent was the leading cause of death for both men and women in the UK aged between 20 and 34 last year, males had over three times the number of deaths compared to women in that age group, according to the Office for National Statistics. Prince William has championed men’s mental health causes for the past five years through campaigns such as Heads Together, aimed at challenging the stigma surrounding mental health. 

Oscar Lemmens, one of two Oxford University Movember ambassadors, is the highest individual donor at the university, having raised over £1200. He told Cherwell: “Movember this year has gone incredibly well so far! Oxford has almost 400 students participating and has raised over £25k in just a week. This is the best start to Movember that Oxford has ever had. It’s been more difficult to spread awareness because all the moustaches are in lockdown. So we’ve had to get much more creative when it comes to fundraising – buzzcuts, armpit waxing, eyebrow shaving, you name it!

“Anyone can get involved, regardless of gender or facial hair growth! We’ve seen people participate in any way they can, whether that’s getting a mullet or drawing on a moustache! At the end of the day, it’s meant to be a fun way of tackling serious issues by fundraising and spreading awareness!”

Jacob Marchbank, the other ambassador, stated: “I first got involved with Movember in 2018 when my friends organised a quiz in my college bar and I thought it was a fantastic excuse to slack off work.  After which, I successfully applied to become a Movember representative for the university. 

“Personally, I believe Movember occupies a unique and important space as not only a fundraiser for men’s health but also a vector to raise awareness and provide exposure for testicular cancer, prostate cancer and men’s mental health.”

You can donate to the university’s Movember campaign here.

Image credit: Movember Foundation / Wikimedia Commons

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