In October, pink ribbons are in abundance. Since 1985, the month has been dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness. Nationwide, football teams sport pink cleats, volleyball programs host Dig Pink's, and athletes universally show support with pink accessories. But are we doing enough? We are raising awareness, but are we solving any problems?
"Slacktivism" is a relatively new term because it describes our efficiently lazy generation. It refers to the virtually effortless participation in charitable activities that feel highly rewarding to the contributor. We participate in slacktivites more often than we even realize.
Buying an "I Love Boobies" wristband is more about rocking a flirty and fun accessory than it is about donating to the cause. Retweeting a celebrity's tweet about a Breast Cancer Awareness event makes us feel great, even though it only requires one quick click from us.
Our slacktivism is not destructive: Even contributions of little cost make a difference. Raised awareness does in fact correlate to progress. Spreading the word, even if it's just a little bit, really does help. We must keep on retweeting: you never know how many people you could be reaching.
Sure, putting in minimal effort to a cause may not be the most heroic form of charity. Ideally, everybody who heard about Breast Cancer Awareness (or any cause) would put in all of his or her time and effort to solve the problem. However, this is unrealistic. There are many obstacles, unfortunately, that keep us from being charitable on a daily basis.
The average college student is lazy. Beyond that, many of the college students who aren't lazy may feel like they don’t have the time in their schedule to give to charity. And even beyond that, many college students who aren't too lazy or too busy still may not have the extra money to donate to every cause they hear about.
There were thousands of college students who participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge instead of donating the $100, and we could call them slacktivists. But this slacktivism made a huge difference for the ALS Association. This "lazy" attempt to raise awareness resulted in $100 million donations in one month. To put that in perspective of how much of a difference the Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014 has made: That is a 3500% increase from the same time period last year.
And it all started because of Boston College alum Pete Frates' sentiment to, as he explained in an interview with Forbes, "...be passionate. Be genuine. Be hardworking, and [not] afraid to be great." How beautifully productive is that?
If you have time to throw on a Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirt on your way to the Plex, that quick choice is worth it. Spreading awareness continues the cycle of spreading awareness, reaching more and more people with every small act. If you don't have the means to make a big donation of your time or money, you can at least pass on the word to somebody who does. Little by little, this is how we raise money. Little by little, this is how we save lives.
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