Internet challenge ignores awareness

Illustration by Rachel Dugo

“You have been challenged. You have 24 hours.”

We’ve all seen videos of celebrities on YouTube, dousing themselves with a bucket full of ice water in the name of spreading awareness and raising money for the ALS Association.

Typically, people tagged to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge are given 24 hours to respond. If they complete the challenge they are asked to donate $10 or more. If they refuse, or don’t meet the deadline, they must donate $100.

But is the challenge really that successful?

Sure, the ALS Association has received over $53.3 million from celebrities, YouTubers, sports teams and regular Joes since issuing the challenge, but has anyone who has done the challenge or watched one of the videos learned anything about this disease? Many patients suffering from ALS claim that this challenge is helping spread awareness, but I personally didn’t know what ALS was until I went looking for information on the ALS Association’s website.

And what about the severe drought in California? It doesn’t take much to see the effects that a dry winter has had on Chico- just look at the creek and the campus farm. The farm has had to make cutbacks on their dairy program, selling around 20 or more cows because of high feeding costs linked directly to the drought. The creek is the lowest it’s been in years.

So why should we partake in this challenge when we’re not really spreading awareness and we’re wasting precious resources?

A better solution would be to personally research ALS, make a donation to the association and try to educate fellow Wildcats about what ALS is and how they can help.

After all, I personally would rather have a large donation than just a puddle of wasted water on the floor and 10 lousy dollars. Every penny might count, but when you’re just throwing money at something that you don’t know much about, is it really helping the organization that just really wanted to spread awareness in the first place?

Megan Mann can be reached at [email protected] or @meganisthemann on Twitter.