Here’s a story about A Dare to Remember 2010 from The Peak, the student newspaper of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC.
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Dare to do more
By Kali Penny
It’s that time of year again — the rain seems never ending, the cafeteria food is starting to make you consider going on a cleanse, and the reality of three midterms and a paper happening all in the same week are combining to make life seem just a little lame. As students, it’s easy to get caught up in our own world of deadlines and exams, and we sometimes need to be reminded of how people live elsewhere in the world. The Stephen Lewis Foundation’s “A Dare to Remember” campaign aims to do just that.
Stephen Lewis is one of Canada’s loudest voices speaking out about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. A former Canadian politician, Lewis was appointed companion to the Order of Canada for his humanitarian work and gave the Massey Lectures in 2005. He founded the Stephen Lewis Foundation in 2003 to fund grassroots organizations working in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2009, Lewis challenged Canadians to step outside their comfort zone in honour of the millions of Africans forced outside of theirs by HIV, and initiated a campaign called A Dare to Remember. The nation-wide fundraising campaign encouraged people to think of a dare and to ask others to sponsor them to complete it. The dare could be anything: something funny, something sporty, something scary, anything to bring attention to the cause. When Dr. Rochelle Tucker, a health sciences professor at SFU, heard about the campaign, she took it upon herself to get SFU involved.
Dr. Tucker teaches HSCI 130, the program-wide mandatory introductory course in health sciences, most semesters and is known throughout the health sciences faculty for her unstoppable energy and her drive. Stephen Lewis could not have picked a better advocate for the cause, and last year’s results speak for themselves. SFU raised more money than any other university team in Canada. While Dr. Tucker initially set the optimistic goal of raising $15,000, students and faculty here surpassed all expectations and by the end of the campaign they had raised $22,584.18. That’s a lot of money, especially considering that a large portion of it came in the form of change donated by students impressed by the dares they stumbled across in the halls and classrooms of SFU. That is the essence of A Dare to Remember — get people interested in what you are doing, get them stopping to check it out, get them asking questions, and get them donating.
Lehoa Mak knows something about how this works. She and her friends from Club for the Cure got together last year to learn the Thriller dance. They then proceeded to perform it nine times around campus on the day before Halloween, in full costume. She describes the dare as a powerful experience. “People were giving us donations as we were performing, which was awesome. It was spontaneous, it was fun, and it was definitely a dare I will always remember.” That was her group dare — Mak also completed a personal dare, styling her hair in a different crazy hairstyle every day for a week and abstaining from any technology use (cell phone, computer, iPod, et cetera) for 24 hours. The technology break was a personal challenge and the hairstyle dare definitely generated lots of questions, which was precisely the point. “I was able to make people aware that something was happening on campus, that we can all do something to make a difference.” Mak is looking forward to this upcoming campaign, as are many of last year’s participants as it promises to be bigger, better, and more daring.
“Dare to do more” is the slogan behind this year’s initiative, and if anyone remembers some of the best dares from last year it is no small challenge. Dr. John O’Neil, the dean of health sciences at SFU, spent an entire day attending meetings and running the department dressed as a clown. Three senior male health sciences students — in leotards and heels — performed Beyonce’s hit “All the Single Ladies” throughout the Burnaby campus and in front of a few lucky lecture halls. Jenna McLatchy donned her wrestling gear and marched through campus while playing her bagpipes. The Hug Team dared people to hug them — and not just on campus; they took their campaign throughout the city of Vancouver, even inspiring people downtown to get out of their cars for a hug and to donate some change. Sound crazy? This year is promising to be full of inspiration and the hope is that even more people participate. Dares don’t all have to be crazy or high-profile either; something as simple as daring yourself to go without coffee for a morning and then donating your $2.25 to a Dare collection box is something that every single student and faculty member can do.
Dare to Do More 2010 starts October 19 and runs until December 1, which is the official deadline for dares to be completed. On the agenda for this year’s week-long kick-off party for the 2010 Dare campaign are the main campus-wide dares, which are great opportunities for people looking for an easy way to get involved and to get the feel of what A Dare to Remember is all about.
On top of all the fun and excitement of the dares there is another major event happening on campus November 4. The Stephen Lewis Foundation is currently traveling across Canada with the AfriGrand caravan, a group of African grandmothers and granddaughters orphaned by AIDS and making stops in cities and towns throughout the country. These women and girls have been affected by AIDS in a way that most people can’t fathom and we are lucky here at SFU Burnaby to have been chosen as one of 40 stops on their tour. On November 4, a grandmother and granddaughter will be speaking in one of the AQ lecture halls (exact location TBA) and will provide a unique opportunity for students and faculty to hear first hand accounts of how AIDS affects us all. The stories these women have to share are personal and their ideas and strategies come from the front lines of the fight against AIDS. Admission will be free but a ticket is required to get in. To reserve a free ticket for this event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. A reception will follow the event, sponsored by the Faculty of Health Sciences.