Campus responds to Chico’s nomination for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Anthony Gallino, president of Associated Students, along with 11 other students, jumped into a pool in response to Chico State challenging Sonoma State to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at 3:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon. 

“Thank you very much, Chico, for challenging Sonoma State.  We accept your ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” Gallino said right before jumping into the pool. 

Within the past few months, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge have swept the nation, with many participating, including colleges.  According to the rules, the person or group who is being challenged must dump a bucket of ice water onto their head within 24 hours of being challenged and donate $10 to the ALS Association.  If they fail to respond within 24 hours, they must donate $100 instead.

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” According to alsa.org, ALS is progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spine.  As motor neurons stop working, they can no longer send impulses, which would normally result in muscle movement.

The progressive degeneration of motor neurons in ALS eventually result in death. On average, there are 15 new cases of ALS diagnosed in the United States each day.  ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.  There is currently no cure for ALS.

The ice bucket challenge originated as a fundraiser and a way to spread awareness, but has recently received a lot of backlash.  Some people think the Ice Bucket Challenge is a waste of water, while others think that the money donated is not even helping the ALS community.  Sonoma State students have other concerns as well.  

“I’m glad people are donating, but I do not think people are doing it for the right reasons. I feel like it’s more of a popularity contest now,” said junior, Clara Stewart.  

Stewart participated in the Sonoma State response, but admitted she did it more for fun and because of the competition aspect of the challenge.  She also expressed concerns about the amount of water being wasted.  

Chico State and Sonoma State both used pools to participate in the challenge in order to save water and participate in a more sustainable way. Brandy Gilliam, a freshman participant on Friday afternoon, agreed it has turned into a popularity contest.

“I will definitely donate, but I feel like most people are not even donating. They just post a picture or video on social media to get a lot of likes,” Gilliam said.  

Even though not everyone who participates in the challenge donates, the ALS association has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. By Sept. 7, the ALS association received $110.1 million in Ice Bucket Challenge donations, which is over four times more than their yearly expenses from 2013.  

In 2013, 32 percent of the funds through the ALS Association went to education, 28 percent supported research, 19 percent helped patient and community services, 14 percent went back into fundraising and the remaining 7 percent funded the administration.  

“I was personally challenged but didn’t have the means to donate,” said junior, Max Vicas, who also participated “I am going to donate eventually.”

Although Gallino has donated and asked all participating students to donate, he is more focused on helping Sonoma State students become more aware and educated about the disease and its effects.  He emphasized education and awareness are more important than actually donating.  

“I think spreading awareness is the whole point behind [the Ice Bucket Challenge],” Gilliam said.  “Even if you don’t participate, even if you don’t donate, you are now more aware of what ALS is.”

Although there was a small turnout, Gallino wanted to make sure that Sonoma State responded within the given 24 hour allotted time following the challenge rules.  However, Gallino plans on getting a bigger group together to re-do the challenge.  The time and place of the larger response video is not yet decided, but will be available on the Sonoma State University Facebook and Instagram (@ssugram) pages.  

 “Right now, I am going to jump in the pool, but in a couple of weeks, you’re going to see the real Sonoma State response,” Gallino said in the challenge video. Gallino, and the rest of the Associated Students, plan on challenging all of the other Bay Area campuses, which include San Francisco State, Cal State East Bay and San Jose State.

To donate to the ALS Association, go to alsa.org/donate.