by Kendra Litwiller – Horizon News & Features Editor
After over a week of waiting, the Hesston College campus knows without a doubt that they will finally see Dan Harrison without a mustache.
Harrison, a psychology instructor, promised to go clean-shaven as a part of a contest designed to aid Prairie View, a mental health facility in Newton. March 12-21, students donated new sweatshirts, sweatpants, and packages of t-shirts for “Sweats For Soldiers At Prairie View” (SFSAPV).
SFSAPV will aid soldiers who have come to Prairie View for treatment, some of whom arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs. Psychology instructor Kevin Wilder, whose department sponsored the contest, said the program was inspired by his fellow doctoral students who work directly with soldiers and their families.
“I hear stories regularly about the affects of war on these families and also hear stories in the Hesston community that are similar,” he said.
The activity provided an opportunity to help, but also, “to cause us to think about the cost of war on families and individuals.”
To increase excitement and student participation, Hesston men and women competed to collectively buy the most clothing. The gender that provided the most clothing had an incentive. If the men won, Michael Smalley, resident director, would shave his head. However, if the women brought in more clothing, Harrison would shave his moustache, which, according to promotional materials, he has had “longer than Bon Jovi has been in a band.”
At last count, women had donated 29 items; the men had donated ten. The deadline, originally set for Monday was extended to Wednesday in order to accommodate more student participation. In a campus-wide e-mail on Thursday, Wilder had once last message for students: “Come to chapel early (10:55) to catch Dan Harrison shaving his mustache on Monday!”
Donating clothing to Prairie View is one small but effective way that Hesston College students can be involved in patient recovery. Prairie View reaches out to people of all ages who are in need of social and rehabilitation services. The clinicians work through an Anabaptist faith background to help their patients to regain health. Many soldiers come to Prairie View in need of mental health services. While Prairie View can supply the care these soldiers need, supplying them with clothing is an additional strain on their resources.
It is encouraging to see students willing to help people in need. Even without an incentive, I believe that students would be active in assisting where they could. Students had something to look forward to, no matter which man lost some hair.