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NC State College of Veterinary Medicine Students Take, Deliver ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

A portion of the NC State University veterinary students taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Teaching Animal Unit. Photo by DVM student Jeannine Lection. 

Ericka Gonzalez, Ester Gu, and George Schaaf, three first-year veterinary students at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, were considering worthwhile activities that could continue to unite the 100 members of the Class of 2018.

Their idea—the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge—made a big splash (sorry) not only with their class but with other CVM students.

WRAL video of College of Veterinary Medicine ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

“At first we were just going to involve our Class of 2018,” says Schaaf. “We thought that would be fun. As we talked we realized we could have other students participate and challenge other colleges of veterinary medicine.

“The three of us were thinking that we’d like for the public to view veterinary students as individuals who are preparing themselves to be medical professionals and that as a profession we are concerned about medical issues facing society,” continues Schaaf. “We saw the Ice Bucket Challenge as a small way to say we care about these broader health issues.”

The challenge came together within 48 hours as Schaaf e-mailed the CVM community writing that, “while dumping ice on your head may seem like the trivialization of a terrible disease, one cannot argue with the results.  The ALS Association reports a 750% increase in donations, compared to last year. Cyber narcissism may well be the catalyst for a better understanding of neurodegeneration. Let’s combat ascending paralysis with temporary descending numbness.”

The crowd gathered at the appointed time, each participant holding a bucket filled with ice water. Students Megan Barbar, Katie McSpadden, Jordan Page, and Charles Jones noted as part of the introduction to the event that they had relatives or friends who suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and that the activity had special meaning for them.

Schaaf, Gonzales, and Gu then challenged veterinary students at Ohio State, Pennsylvania, and Cornell. On signal, buckets were raised and the challenge delivered—and documented by a WRAL videographer.  The three CVMs were selected based on the number of friends and relatives members of the Class of 2018 had at other the nation’s other colleges of veterinary medicine.

Donations collected at the challenge exceeded $400 and checks are still coming into Gonzales several days after the event.

“Funny how dumping a bucket of ice water on your head can get you so excited,” says Schaaf. “I was impressed with the attendance; it was a good event for a new class. And it was surprising how much camaraderie it seemed to produce.”


Students George Schaaf, Ericka Gonzalez (center) and Ester Gu explain to WRAL videographer Mark Simpson why the NC State CVM Class of 2018 wanted to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Photo by Jeannine Lection.    

Other images from Jeannine Lection


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