Spiking awareness: STU men’s volleyball’s Movember mission

Stills of St. Thomas University men's volleyball team member Raph Fiset, before and after the start of the teams Movember campaign. (Submitted: Raph Fiset)

As the St. Thomas University men’s volleyball team dives into an exciting season, their commitment to making a difference goes beyond the court. In support of men’s health, the team is showing their support through a Movember campaign.

Early on in the season, the team had a meeting about their goals this year and what they want to accomplish. Captain Raph Fiset, leading the team for the first time, recognized the significance of Movember in addressing men’s mental health as one of those goals.

“A topic that we discussed was off the court, what impact we want to have in the community and raising money or awareness for certain causes,” said Fiset. “I think Movember’s a special one because it specifically relates back to men’s mental health.”

The Movember campaign began in Australia in the early 2000s and involved growing a moustache to support prostate cancer awareness and research as the main cause. A few years later, the national depression and anxiety initiative was brought on as the second men’s health partner. 

The team is using their social media presence and diverse backgrounds to promote Movember to their full potential.

“We are all from different parts of the country and we all have different connections in that way so we can reach different families, different groups of families and friends from British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, all these different provinces,” he said. 

“We all can tie into there and reach as many people as possible.”

Not everybody was excited with the idea of growing out a moustache at first, but as the team members shaved off their facial hair one by one, it prompted those who don’t usually grow facial hair to join in.

“I think that kind of prompted everybody and especially some other guys who don’t grow facial hair … It kind of just made them want to be a part of it and just do it,” said Fiset. 

The community has shown strong support to the team’s Movember initiative, getting them halfway towards their fundraising goal. By Nov. 19, the team had already raised $500 through contributions from family, friends and the STU community.

“It’s just really nice to see a bunch of people who don’t know each other all donating to one cause.”

However, beyond the monetary achievements, the team recognizes that raising awareness is equally – if not more – crucial. 

In their mission to spike awareness for men’s mental health, the STU volleyball team is not just aiming to meet their fundraising goal but to create a lasting impact. This is only the beginning of their journey towards a more active and engaged community presence.

“How can we help people who are struggling with mental health? How can we raise awareness for men’s mental health?” said Fiset. 

The team is dedicated to extending their positive influence beyond the volleyball court, exploring partnerships with homeless shelters and other nonprofit organizations.

“It’s something I’ll definitely have to talk with other people on the team and even Austin Hamilton, the other captain, to figure out ways that we can be more involved in the community,” he said. “Because I think that’s something we’re really trying to do this year.”

Their donation page remains open and ready to receive contributions until the end of the month.