Facebook news feeds have been filled with videos of mostly individuals doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. But, at Regent University, doing things in community means a lot. That's why about 250 people came out Thursday, Aug. 21, for a "mass" ice bucket challenge.
"We believe in serving together and this is a prime example," said Dr. Paul Bonicelli, Regent's executive vice president. "We came together for a great purpose, to help raise awareness and support a cause that has affected people in the Regent community. So many of us know family and friends diagnosed with this devastating disease. Today, we helped change the world just a little through our effort and our donations."
Bonicelli announced that Regent was making a generous donation, along with the participants' donations, to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute.
"We chose the John Paul II Medical Research Institute for several reasons," Bonicelli said. "First, they have a pro-life approach to research, which is consistent with our values. Second, their research has application to a wide variety of illnesses, including ALS. And finally, they devote more than half of their budget to research, which is more than many similar foundations."
The challenge began at the university's weekly chapel service on Wednesday, Aug. 20, when Jeff Brauch, the dean of Regent's School of Law, announced via video that a Regent alumna had challenged him. He accepted and challenged the Law School faculty, students and staff, as well as the deans of Regent's other graduate schools, along with its College of Arts & Sciences, and Bonicelli.
Word spread quickly around campus, and the turnout exceeded expectations. Besides the ice bucket challenge participants, at least another 75 people came out to donate and watch the dousing on the University Library Plaza.
At Thursday's event, Brauch extended another challenge, to the College of William & Mary's Marshall-Wythe Law School Dean, Doug Davis. Bonicelli challenged Dr. David Buckingham, vice president of student affairs at Virginia Wesleyan College, and Regent alumnus Pat McCarty, head of Norfolk Christian School.
The Regent community embraced the challenge, and afterward, many people asked if the university would consider a similar charitable group event each year during the first week of classes.
Activity and comments on Regent's social media channels confirmed the community's enthusiasm. "Awesome" was a common word describing the event. Student Christina Teasdale summed it up in her Facebook comment when she learned Regent was participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge:
"My dad was diagnosed with ALS this year. I'm proud to be part of a university that would support this cause."
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