November has begun and people everywhere are putting down the razors to grow both facial hair and awareness for no-shave-November, also known as “Movember.” Even with all its publicity and participants, not many know the event’s origins.

Prostate cancer affects a male’s prostate, a structure located within the reproductive organs. Usually beginning as benign tumors, the cancer can break away from the prostate and begin spreading by blood vessels.  If the tumor remains unnoticed, it can become a malignant growth, which is often fatal.

The idea for Movember originally began during 1999 in Adelaide, Australia, where a group of men came up with the idea to raise money for prostate cancer by growing moustaches for the month of November.  The idea spread quickly, and soon another group from Melbourne Australia in 2004 began growing moustaches for the sole purpose of raising awareness for prostate cancer and depression. Eventually it became a worldwide phenomenon, and now RIT has its very own Beards Enthusiasts club.

The club began as a small group of friends who happened to have substantial facial hair. Soon it turned into a club that began focusing on fundraising and bringing to light America’s second leading cancer through beard-related activities. The club currently has over 100 members and continues to grow even today.

“The idea of Movember is you grow a beard even if you can’t,” said RIT’s own Beard Enthusiasts club Vice President Tyler Schrodt. “And when people ask ‘why the hell are you growing that,’ you start talking about prostate cancer and it works as its own PR machine.”

The club began hosting fundraising events such as a 5k around RIT and a pancake breakfast served to RIT’s community. Each event’s proceeds go to the research for organizations such as the Roswell Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society. Other clubs and organizations they partner with RIT’s Physicians Assistants Club, Pre-med Association, lovin’cup, Roc Brewing Company, Rochester Beards and the RIT Alumni Association.

The “Beard Bounty” is an event hosted during November. Partnered with Center for Women and Gender, the participants will begin by growing their beards in a specific style. All donations contributed counts as votes, and the one with the greatest donation amount wins. Throughout the month, the club will be table sitting inside the SAU for votes placed for the most popular styles grown during Movember. Then in December finalists will compete for the best beard grown.

The club asks for many people to participate as possible, even if you can’t grow a beard. Check out the event’s webpage to learn more about the club and its event.