It started in America and has spread like wildfire. Not McDonalds, which Freshers will become all too familiar with, but the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Similar to the recent Neknomination craze, the Ice Bucket Challenge is simple. A camera and bucket of ice water is needed, at which point filming starts and the person or a friend pours the water over their head.

The person has to then donate money to an ALS charity. The viral nature of this craze is due to the fact that people have to nominate others to do the same or suffer a forfeit. Simple and effective; the reason for doing this is to raise awareness and to fund research into motor neurone diseases.

ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the American term for motor neurone disease. It is a disease that affects speaking, swallowing, and breathing and most end up in a wheelchair because it also causes progressive muscle weakness. Some who do the challenge have no idea what ALS is and are just following the trend.

The Ice Bucket Challenge started with celebrities, but has slowly filtered through to the general public: the joys of social media. It has raised £48 million in less than a month due to donations from more than 1.7 million people.

ALS is an unpleasant disease that ultimately ends with death, so throwing a bucket of ice water over you does not seem like much in the end. While it is good for raising awareness for a debilitating disease, some either take it too far or seem to forget the actual point of the challenge, which is to donate and help a cause.

Whilst not necessarily being a bad thing, some people have changed the charity they are donating to which seem to defeat the point of everyone doing it for ALS originally. There have already been reports in Scotland of a teenager dying whilst doing the challenge. The entertainment value of dumping water onto someone is amusing so it is understandable how some might take it as far as humanly possible.

Would I do it? I already have, and so have the De Montfort Student Union President and the Vice President. It was an unpleasant experience, but in the great, grand scheme of things it is nothing compared to actually having ALS.

Hannah Wilson, a journalism student at DMU, said, “The idea of nominating people to do something encourages the amount of people to do it. So in terms of doing these things for charity; I believe it is a very good cause indeed.”

Overall it is not a terrible challenge to do for charity. It is better to have something that is actually going to help a cause rather than just plain ridiculous, such as the Neknomination which caused a lot of deaths all for primarily entertainment purposes.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is all in the name of fun and it will not do any lasting damage. It is in the name of charity and entertainment and it shows the overwhelming power that social media has. Who knows what will be the next big viral donation game?


President Adil Waraich takes on the Ice Bucket Challenge