Photo Illustration / Kyle Bailey

Photo Illustration / Kyle Bailey

November is the month to break out the hats and gloves and throw out the razors.

The month has been nicknamed No Shave November, promoting the idea of growing out facial hair and leg hair in order to promote cancer awareness since 2009, according to the website.

The idea has taken Keene State College by storm.

Daniel Declan McAuliffe, KSC student and first time participant in No Shave November, said he last shaved three weeks ago.

“My girlfriend loves beards,” McAuliffe said of why he’s participating, “I think beards are awesome.”

While McAuliffe’s reason for growing a beard this month has little to do with raising awareness for the cause, his facial hair is getting publicity of its own.

“I get a couple girls a day who come up to me who ask if they can touch my beard,” McAuliffe explained, “They always ask if it’s real.”

McAuliffe added, “I think No Shave November is a great thing. It gives people an excuse to geek out over beards while raising awareness for cancer.”

Like McAuliffe, this is also Matt Ownes’ first year trying out No Shave November. Now a first year at KSC, Ownes was unable to participate in previous years because of his high school’s dress code. “It’s a cool thing to be a part of,” Ownes said, having last shaved three weeks ago.

Ownes noted that most of his friends who are able to grow facial hair are participating alongside him, as well as his family, who makes a yearly donation to the No-Shave organization.

According to the website, the organization encourages participants to donate the amount of money they would have otherwise spent on grooming their own hair.

The website states, “If just for November, those individuals gave that cost (ranging from a few dollars for razors to a $100 salon visit) to a cancer charity instead, friends and family alone could pool together a sizable chunk of change to help cancer patients and their families.”

Ownes explained the importance of No Shave November to his own family.

“My brother’s frat does a fundraiser for the cause,” Ownes explained.

He continued, “So my whole family usually ends up donating.”

Before this month, first-year student Kevin Aruilio was unaware of the organization associated with No Shave November, though he knew the event was a tradition to promote cancer awareness.

This is Aruilio’s second year participating in No Shave November.

“I tried doing it last year for the first time, but I caved in and shaved in the middle of the month,” Aurilio explained. This year, however, Aurilio is determined to make it to the end of the month without shaving.

“I really want to see how much facial hair I can grow. I’ve never made it as far as a month and a half,” Aurilio noted of why he chose to participate again, “Plus, I think it’s for a great cause.”

The No-Shave organization encourages participants to get involved by signing up online to start fundraising.

Participants are able to create teams or go solo for the event as they start to donate. Proceeds to go to the American Cancer Society to help cancer patients and their families.

For Jesse McNeil, a KSC senior, No Shave November has become more of a family tradition than an attempt to raise awareness.

“Me and my brothers do it together, up until Thanksgiving, just to see who can get a better beard,” McNeil explained, “Then we shave, so we don’t look like bums.”

McNeil agreed with KSC first-year Chris Oblon, who said that the event gave him an excuse to be lazy and not shave for an entire month.

This year is Oblon’s first time participating and while he has not yet donated to the cause, he plans on looking into the organization later in the month.

“I just hope [my beard] looks good when it’s all said and done,” Oblon said.

According to their website, No Shave November was started by Rebecca Hill in 2009, with less than fifty participants in their first year.

Hill first had the idea to start the organization when her father passed away in 2007 after an eleven year battle with cancer.

The website states that, “With every whisker grown and dollar raised, No Shave November celebrates the hair that many cancer patients lose and gets one step closer to eradicating the disease.”


Jill Giambruno can be contacted at

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