University of St. Thomas Campus News
- Ice Water and Donations for ALS Expected to Flow on Lower Quad Thursday Afternoon
The John P. Monahan Plaza on the University of St. Thomas campus is expected to be a sea of purple buckets, ice water and shivering participants who show up for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Thursday afternoon, Sept. 4.
St. Thomas students, staff, faculty and neighbors are all welcome to participate. Buckets, water, ice and even towels will be provided. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is designed to raise awareness and research funds for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”).
The challenge will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. outside the Anderson Student Center.
Registration starts at 3 p.m., and the mass ice-water dousing is scheduled to take place at approximately 3:30 p.m.
If you want to participate, here’s how:
- First, go to the John P. Monahan Plaza starting at 3 p.m. and look for the two registration tents that are next to the plaza fountain. To register and participate, you must sign a waiver. When you do that, you’ll receive a purple UST bucket.
- Once you have a bucket, volunteers will direct you to a trough where you can fill your bucket with water and ice. It’s up to you how much you want to pour on your head.
- After you have your ammo, volunteers will show you where to stand. The idea is to have participants line up to form the letters “UST.” Once the letters are formed, any extra participants will form rows underneath the letters. The diagram below shows how things will look.
- At this point, wait for further instructions. As you can see from the diagram, the second and third floors of the Anderson Student Center will provide a good bird’s-eye view of the action.
Dr. Carol Bruess, professor of communication and journalism, director of the university’s Family Studies Program, and an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge veteran (you can read her Newsroom blog here) will be the emcee and introduce St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan and Dr. Deb DeMeester, director of St. Thomas’ Public Safety and Law Enforcement Leadership Graduate Programs.
DeMeester is a friend and colleague of Dr. Bruce Kramer, former dean of the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling. Kramer has ALS and frequently has been interviewed about living with the disease on a series of programs broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio with Cathy Wurzer.
When Kramer heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at St. Thomas, his reply: “My face hurts from smiling.”
Tommie, the St. Thomas mascot, has the honor of launching the first bucket of ice water. Tommie’s target: the head of President Julie Sullivan.
And now’s when the ice water really starts flowing. Dr. Richard Plumb, executive vice president and provost, will be the first to go. He’ll be standing at the top of the “U”in “UST.” Participants will be asked to dump their buckets in a wave, starting the top of the letters and progressing toward the bottom. Once the wave reaches the bottom, it will continue to the lines formed beneath the letters.
After everyone is soaked, volunteers will distribute purple UST towels. Participants are welcome to keep their buckets and towels as souvenirs.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenges usually are filmed, and the St. Thomas challenge will be no exception. Film crews from Web and Media Services, and Photo Services, will be stationed to record the action. Videos and photos will be posted on St. Thomas’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles, as well as the Newsroom website.
Since most everyone will be soaked by the end of the challenge, the event will be held rain or shine.
Donations to the ALS Association are voluntary. Representatives from the association will be at a tent on the plaza. You can make a donation there, either before or after getting soaked, or later on the ALS Association website. You aren’t required to make a donation to participate in the event, and you aren’t required to dump ice water on your head to make a donation.
Concerns have been raised about participation in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because while the Catholic Church is not opposed to research using adult stem cells, it is opposed to research using embryonic stem cells. Signs posted at the ALS donation tent will state: “Donations collected at the Sept. 4 Ice Bucket Challenge at the University of St. Thomas will be sent to the ALS Association with the stipulation that the money will not be used to support embryonic stem-cell research.”
For more information about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, there’s background about it here on Wikipedia. As of late last week, the challenge has raised nearly $100 million for ALS research.
St. Thomas was “challenged” to hoist the bucket by the ALS Association Center of Excellence at the Hennepin County Medical Center and by Dr. Bruce Kramer’s congregation, the Good Samaritan United Methodist Church of Edina.
- The Scroll: We’re All Guilty
Yep, we are.
As humans, we all care about others. It’s indisputably in our nature and at our very core. Sometimes we don’t show it fully or properly, but it’s in us. Really. Deeply.
As most of you are well aware, our tendency to care about and for others has been witnessed in a viral way the past few weeks. If you have been one of those multiple millions of people who already have participated in helping raise nearly $100 million toward the devastating disease of ALS, you’re guilty of caring, too. You’re guilty of helping rid the world of another nasty, heart-wrenching, painful killer.
As expected in a world of smart, critical thinkers, there has been criticism of the infamous Ice Bucket Challenge: What about all of the other nasty diseases, syndromes and killers? What about the other causes that need and deserve funding? What about the way the millions of dollars will be used? What about wasted clean water? And related social questions: Are people participating and posting funny, ouch-worthy videos because they are narcissistic? Because they are mindlessly bowing to the social pressure to do what is trendy? Because they just want to get more “likes” on their video than the person before them?
Good questions. I don’t have all of the answers, but I can explain why I personally was among those happily doused with 20 gallons of icy water last week and donated funds to support the care of current ALS patients and their families: Our colleague Bruce Kramer, former dean of the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling, has the use of 0 limbs, 0 fingers and 0 toes because of ALS, and he can’t bounce his new granddaughter on his knee. Our family’s closest friend, Richard Johnson – grandfather to UST sophomore Janie Swingle – died last fall after his courageous battle with ALS.
Thanks, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, for giving me the chance to witness our friend end up with 0 use of his body while his mind was at 100 percent strength. Thanks for leaving us helpless and hopeless. Almost everyone I know has a story of _______ (fill in name and relationship) who is living with, has died from, is or has been affected by ALS. If you can’t fill in that blank yet, don’t worry; you will some day.
The UST community is guilty of caring, too. On Thursday (Sept. 4) at 3:30 p.m., hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alums and neighbors will gather on the quad with purple buckets filled with bone-chilling ice water. Why? Because we CARE! It’s not because we care about one particular disease more than others – but because we at St. Thomas care about reducing suffering of those we know and those we don’t know. We care about raising awareness about many diseases and the importance of ethical, life-saving research of all kinds … the very research skills we are teaching our graduate students and undergrads. We care about each other exactly the way our founder Archbishop John Ireland hoped and prayed we would when he founded St. Thomas 129 years ago this week.
We also care about teaching and learning. I see the lessons we are learning by watching a social and human campaign go so viral so quickly as an incredibly opportunity for studying how innovations, social change and messages can be effectively diffused across multiple populations, states, countries and even continents. Sounds like a great case study for a number of our courses and conversations in many corners of camps, eh? I for one will critically examine the nature of successful snowball messaging in my own communication courses; I’m confident we can learn much from the ALS Ice Bucket campaign to help us critically examine the power of social media to inspire (and/or thwart) multiple types of social action and change.
You might have objections to the Ice Bucket Challenge because some ALS research involves use of embryonic stem cells. The Catholic Church opposes such research, and the ALS association has agreed to UST’s request that funds raised in the Ice Bucket Challenge on campus will not be used for embryonic stem cell research.
If you still have objections, here’s a fact: You surely and absolutely care about many things that have to do with making life better for others, right? Yep, we’re all guilty as charged – of caring. Because we’re human, just the way we were designed to be.
See you on Thursday! Buckets, water, ice and towels will be provided, as will an inspiring message from President Julie Sullivan, who cares about humans and alleviating suffering.
And, seriously, how often do you get to see our president soaking wet? I, for one, am not going to miss the chance.