In recognition of International Breast Cancer Awareness month, Drexel University student organization Urban Playground hosted a “Bras for Breast Cancer Awareness” daylong event Oct. 13 , during which both male and female students wore bras outside their shirts.
“The breast cancer awareness movement tends to be provocative,” Ari Melman, Urban Playground founder and event organizer, said. “The last major marketing campaign on Facebook encouraged people to update their statuses to describe where they ‘like it.’
“‘Where do you like it? I like it on the table. I like it on the floor.’ People talked about their purse but implied something else. So in that line we thought that we could really push the breast cancer awareness movement by wearing our bras outside their shirts and really getting that message in their mind,” Melman said.
Urban Playground operates with the goal of showing that youth activism can be fun and positive. Melman and member Jei Quashie organized the breast cancer event and participated in it as well. Melman described the reactions he got from students throughout the day.
“One girl asked me if I was pledging a fraternity and being hazed,” he said. “I got a bunch of stares and giggles, and a few times it took me a moment to realize they were laughing at me.”
Overall, Melman felt students were supportive of him and the cause when he explained what he was doing. He was satisfied by the overall participation and said he felt the event was a successful means of bringing support to breast cancer research.
“I think it got the message across,” he said. “People were talking about it on Drexel’s Reddit, the Center for Civic Engagement was talking about it, and people around campus were reminded that this was Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
Melman said he felt the event was successful in encouraging students to be more open to awareness events and donations.
“There is a direct correlation between awareness and support in terms of research. Breast cancer is a something people are aware of, and consequently it gets more money towards research than any other cancer research,” Melman explained. “Encouraging people to be more aware will lead to financial support and research.”
With so many students involved in other activities and midterms, Melman shared the importance of creating awareness for the event.
“We created a Facebook group that Jei modeled. Then we created hundreds of breast cancer awareness ribbons and then distributed them to the dorms. Some members talked to their friends and people on their floor to promote awareness of the event, month and disease. We are just one part of the larger group of the breast cancer awareness outreach program, so it is very important for people to know and get involved with killing this disease.”
“Keeping young people aware is very important to create the next generation of supporters and lets people know that it also affects us too,” Quashie said. “There are a lot of young people who are being diagnosed with breast cancer as well, so it’s important to let everybody know that it can happen to anyone and to keep awareness up.”