BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
Local university presidents have shown their support for a cause and have the video to prove it.
Bethune-Cookman University president Dr. Edison O. Jackson accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) president Dr. John P. Johnson on Aug. 25 amid cheers from new and returning students and faculty.
“This is a great opportunity to shine a bright light on research being done to find a cure for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” Jackson said. “And I want to show the students that we can all participate. I am blessed that it’s still sunny and hot in Daytona Beach.”
The ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the Internet by storm appearing on many Facebook newsfeeds. The viral videos are distributed among a wide array of social media platforms starting in late July. It consists of recording the person who accepted the challenge have a bucket of ice water dumped on his or head. The unconventional activity is done to promote awareness of ALS.
Before Jackson had his turn, Johnson, along with Jason Glenn, Daytona Beach Campus Dean of Students at ERAU completed the ice bucket challenge. The pair was called out by former Student Government Association President James Scott and Banyan Air Services.
“We decided to do this because it’s for a really great cause folks,” Johnson said in a video posted on the school’s YouTube account. “We’re donating a thousand dollars to the cause and that’s really just a start,” he continued. “Also I want to pass on this I challenge to three other college presidents in Daytona Beach – the president of Daytona State College, the president of Bethune-Cookman and the president of Stetson University. I challenge you to take on the Ice Bucket challenge and finding a cure for ALS.”
As the key to the challenge is to have video footage, chatter on Twitter soon emerged discussing how “cool” Jackson was for completing the challenge. He was doused with the icy water by Fontaine Davis, B-CU’s Chief of Staff and the entire ordeal can be seen on Bethune-Cookman University’s YouTube channel.
Jackson, who also made a donation, called out Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry to complete the challenge as well. Henry was set to carry out the challenge following Wednesday night’s city commission meeting.
There have been more than 1.5 million videos pertaining to the challenge that have been shared on Facebook between June 1 and Aug. 13 and mentioned over 2.5 million times on Twitter between the end of July and the middle of August.
As of Wednesday, the ALS Association had received $94.3 million in donations compared to $2.7 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to Aug. 27).
For more information about the ALS Association, visit www.alsa.org.