Jim Tressel, Youngstown State University’s newly inaugurated president, took part in the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Ice Bucket Challenge on Friday.
The event took place outside of Kilcawley Center and lasted from noon until 2 p.m.
Accompanying President Tressel in the challenge were Jane Kestner, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences; Sal Sanders, head of graduate studies; Bryan DePoy, dean of the College of Creative Arts and Communication; Betty Jo Licata, dean of the Williamson College of Business Administration; Martin Abraham, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Joseph Mosca, dean of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services; and Ron Shaklee, professor of geography and director of the University Scholars program.
“It was cold,” President Tressel said.
Preceding the ice dump was a performance by YSU’s Marching Pride.
Gina Gilmore is a returning student at YSU and a former band member.
“I like coming out here, and I just love the marching band, too,” Gilmore said. “I think that it’s a great way to get a lot of publicity on campus as well. It helps us get to know our deans and lets us show that we do have support in the community outside of YSU.”
President Tressel spent the entire two hours conversing with passing students, signing autographs, taking pictures and handing out T-shirts.
“He’s busy, but he’ll take time out of his schedule to make an appearance with something this important,” Gilmore said.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, attacks the cells in the brain and spinal cord. Living with the disease leads to eventual involuntary muscle movement and early death.
People have donated over $110 million through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge’s viral web-campaign has sparked participation from celebrities, athletes, musicians and countless others.
Nicole Krejci, development manager for the Northern Ohio Chapter of the ALS Association, spoke for a few minutes about the horrors of ALS and its significance on those affected.
“A lot of people don’t realize that there are local chapters that work with ALS patients and families in the area,” Krejci said. “People don’t realize that every state has one or two chapters that are local.”
The Northern Ohio Chapter of the ALS Association is based out of Cleveland. It operates in Toledo, Youngstown, Akron and Cleveland.
Malinda Koncar is a volunteer at the Northern Ohio ALS chapter and a former YSU student. Koncar lost her father to ALS last year.
“The disease was not prevalent up until this summer,” Koncar said. “If you were to tell somebody about ALS, they would have no idea what it was, but now with the Ice Bucket Challenge there is national awareness for the disease. Having so many people come together for an event like this is very emotional.”
Along with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the Student Government Association organized a T-shirt exchange for charity. Students were encouraged to bring a shirt from another school in order to exchange it for a new YSU T-shirt.
SGA representatives Gabriella Gessler, vice president of student life; Jacob Schriner-Briggs, executive vice president; Joe Lamping, secretary of technology; and Michael Slavens, SGA president, worked the table, handing out shirts to students passing by.
“This shows that people are involved with YSU,” Slavens said.
SGA members spoke with Tressel about handing out T-shirts in order to boost school spirit. Tressel suggested the idea of an exchange involving shirts from other schools. SGA collaborated with Tressel on the idea of the “Team Tressel” shirts that were given out during Welcome Week.
Students had the chance to dump ice water on the participants by purchasing tickets. Single tickets cost $1 or six could be purchased for $5. From ticket sales, the event raised $269.
“It was a great day,” Tressel said. “We traded a lot of T-shirts, and any time you can get the Marching Pride out, it’s a good day.”
For more information regarding ALS visit ALSAohio.org.