ALS: Coolest Trend or Heated Debate?


Meredith Nash and Julia Barshak

Is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge really what it says it is? Two top student correspondents duel it out in this debate.

Argument for the Challenge:

Due to a variety of opinions about the one and only ALS ice bucket challenge, many people are debating whether it’s appropriate to take the challenge rather than donate to the cause. Unfortunately, not many are aware of the true rules of the popular foundation’s new challenge.

Upon seeing your first challenge videos you’d be led to think everyone’s dumping a small bowl of water with a few ice cubes over their head in order to avoid paying one hundred dollars to the cause. You’d think these people were against taking the money from their own pockets, but would rather dump take the challenge for free. As a matter of fact, that is not the case.

The correct rules were somehow misinterpreted with the many nominations that were made online. In fact, ALS has been accused of making it seem like they wanted people to avoid donating. However, directly from the ALS website, the rules include that once nominated you have to participate by either donating or dumping half ice half water over your head within 24 hours. If you choose to go the route of ice water, you must donate $10 to an ALS charity but if you choose to forego the ice, you are to donate $100 to an ALS charity. In one continuous video you must mention what you are doing, who you are donating to, who nominated you and who you will nominate. Three people must be nominated and you must post the video to a social media site.

Clearly, its not the charity’s fault for the misinterpretation. The challenge is simply meant to create an immediate and concise advertisement to bring awareness to the charity . Nonetheless, the small voices of reason are true because ALS reported that they had received nearly 94.3 million dollars since the challenge began.

ALS was one of the few charities to popularize their challenge through social media and clearly it has succeeded. Truth be told, if the challenge wasn’t good advertisement then why has so much money been raised? I can’t see any reason to put a poor twist on such a strong and willpowered charity. Even Nashoba’s taken part in the activity and nothing but an advantageous outcome came from that.

Argument against the Challenge:

While many people in other countries are without clean water to drink, we are pouring it on our heads in an effort to avoid donating to charity. We should be trying to reduce the amount of water wasted, not increase it. Nearly everyone agrees that our environment is in trouble. While trying to solve one issue, we are adding to another problem. There are major projects trying to save our environment, it is unfair to be so wasteful. There are worthy intentions behind the ice bucket challenge, however the actual project has major flaws.

The rules are that if you pour water on your head you are also supposed to donate ten dollars to the charity. However many people dump ice on their head instead of donating to the cause, which is a waste of water. If you don’t want to post a video of yourself dumping freezing water all over yourself, you are instructed to donate 100 dollars.  In what way does either method raise awareness for the disease?

Half of the videos posted don’t even mention ALS, let alone any information about it. Sure some people may be curious and ambitious enough to look it up, but that number is slim. The ALS challenge is simply a trend. Everybody is doing it solely because their friends are. Fads change quickly. What happens when the trend ends? It is likely that the number of donations will plunge.

This is not a joke to have fun with. ALS is a serious disease, one that deserves to be recognized and taken seriously. It is wonderful that so much money was raised, yet at what cost?  There are other more informative and earth friendly ways of raising money for the deserving cause of ALS.