Opinion

ALS CHallenge ISn’t Cool

ROSALINE QI

STAFF EDITOR

   Recently, video recordings of people dumping ice water on their head for the ALS campaign have been all the rage. Known simply as the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, the fad is clogging up all the social media sites. This is just the best way to raise awareness, right?

   Wrong. I’m not saying this because ALS is not a charitable cause (it is); nor am I saying this because doing the challenge makes you resemble a wet chicken (it does). Jokes aside, I believe it’s time the Ice Bucket challenge is put to a halt.

   First we have to consider the water waste. According to the State of California website, California is facing “one of the most severe droughts on record”. Our governor and the state of emergency are currently trying find ways to cope with this drastic situation.

   One might argue that a bucket holds no more 2-3 gallons of water. But first we have to look at the instances of people trying to outdo each other. Some have dumped truckloads of water onto themselves, others have launched helicopters of water just for
the event.

   Second, it is promoting the unfitting notion of being able to do anything as long it’s for charity. This is very insensitive and an insult to those suffering
from droughts.

   Many famous celebrities and icons within the media’s attention were the first to take part in this fad. Being so, the fans of said celebrities feel obligated to follow their idol’s lead.

   This whole situation creates negative societal pressure and also, a number of people doing the challenge have questionable motives. One of them is definitely self promotion. People are doing the challenge to get more “likes” on social media, or because it makes them seem “charitable” and “kind”

   Sometimes people who are nominated complete the challenge, not to raise awareness, but to receive praise or acceptance from their friends. Another key problem of this campaign is the amount of peer pressure that is put into it. People believe that if they “chicken-out”, they aren’t what the media defines as “good people”.

   “Charity, if you have the means, is a personal choice, but charity which is expected or compelled is simply a polite word for slavery.” This quote from author Terry Goodkind aptly summarizes what true and genuine
charity is.

   Just one more reason this challenge should be reevaluated, is the way that it is set with a negative connotation. People often start their recordings of the challenge telling their nominators how much they “hate” them. However jokingly said, it should never be of any “inconvenience” to support charities. A charity should make you feel better, it should feel like you’re contributing to society.

   Speaking of contribution, how does it really help at this point? Especially due to the fact that this challenge has inevitably morphed into a game, or some sort of entertainment. Even the contribution of money is being overlooked; people think it’s okay to “not donate” as long as you do the challenge.

   People have been going on with the trend for ages, surely everyone is already “aware” of the cause? The awareness is already spread, so people should understand that enough is enough. It is becoming excessive, pointless and losing its initial value.

   Lastly, isn’t it time we start showing some love to other charities? ALS may be a rare disease, but there are thousands and thousands of other “rare diseases” that we need to tend to. Numerous charities and good causes are out there, and we must not dwell on something just because it became viral. Good campaigning methods does not make a cause more significant than it already is.

   Spreading love is good, but we must keep our intentions clear, we must be mindful of our capabilities, and most importantly, we must not give foolishly.

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