ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Popular, Beneficial or Both?


Bill Gates’ clever take on the ice bucket challenge using his own contraption. Internet photo courtesy of The Independent.

Nabeela Syed, Contributing Writer

If you have a TV, computer or cell phone, chances are you’ve seen one of a multitude of ALS Ice Bucket challenges. Social media has been swimming with the videos since June, with Bill Gates’ video racking up over 20 million views. This viral sensation has attracted thousands of people willing to douse themselves with ice water to nominate others to take on the challenge and even donate to the ALS Foundation. Though the money raised is going towards finding a cure for ALS, people still question whether the benefits outweigh the harms.

From people dropping heavy buckets on themselves to others knocked unconscious from the ice, this challenge has been plagued by dangerous situations. In Kentucky, firefighter Tony Grider died from getting too close to a power line while helping college students from Campbellsville University do their version of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Though the foundation has increased their donations through this clever marketing technique, senior Sresht Iyer can’t ignore the troubling side to this challenge.

“It’s a worthy cause with questionable benefits,” Iyer said. “People have died or have been harmed through this challenge and not many people actually adhere to the challenge and donate money to the organization.”

On the other hand, celebrities ranging from Leonardo DiCaprio to Jimmy Fallon created and shared videos of their take on the challenge while donating to this cause. The New York Times states that people shared more than 1.2 million videos on Facebook between June 1 and Aug. 13 and mentioned this campaign more than 2.2 million times on Twitter between July 29 and Aug.17.  With this popularity, the ALS Foundation received over $114 million dollars from over 2.5 million first time donors.

While there are clear positives and negatives to this fundraiser, Junior Jessica Lu defends the challenge.

“The ALS foundation received a lot of money and awareness for the disease,” Lu said. “It’s true that some people don’t think it through when they decide to put dangerous amounts of ice inside the buckets, but that’s not a problem with the challenge itself.”

Several clubs at Fremd decided to take on this challenge and donate, while nominating other D211 schools to take part in the challenge as well. Principal Kurt Tenopir himself took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this past month.

“The challenge was something that was easy and accessible for lots of people to do. It was something connected to the experience besides donating that made people feel more obligated to follow through on the donating part,” Tenopir said. “Overall it was an enjoyable experience, but truthfully the anticipation was worse than the outcome.”