Throwback Thursday to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

         This past August it was nearly impossible to go about your daily routine without hearing or seeing something about the ALS ice bucket challenge. This crazy phenomenon, which consisted of people dumping ice buckets on their head was intended to raise support and awareness of ALS. The ALS Ice bucket challenge started when former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, a current victim of ALS, challenged the rest of the twitter world to pour a bucket of ice water on their head to. Soon, people began posting their videos across all forms of social media. Athletes and celebrities all over the country accepted the challenge.

Pete Frates at Fenway Park

           According to Weber, a leader or politician should be committed to a passion long term. He claims that a short-term effort does not deem someone to be a successful leader. Rather Weber claims, he or she must be committed to a cause over an extended period of time. However, I challenge Weber with respect to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Those who helped to spread the awareness of ALS were leaders and did make an impact. I do not believe anyone would argue that the people who helped spread the word about ALS were leaders. Although the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was explosive, it was very short-lived. The Challenge in total lasted a little over a month before it began to die down. Weber would most likely argue that those who lead movements as short-term as the ice bucket challenge are not truly leaders. However, I disagree with this notion. Maybe today the millions of people who posted videos are not currently aiding the ALS cause, but does that mean their mission was unsuccessful? According to forbes, they were wildly successful. In one single month the ALS foundation raised one hundred million dollars! In comparison, the ALS foundation raised only two and a half million dollars throughout the past year!
            Although I disagree with Weber’s notion on how leaders can make an impact, I agree with Weber in other respects. Weber argues that leaders should have ethics of responsibility, as opposed to ethics of conviction. Essentially Weber claims that politicians or leaders, must be flexible with their policies and plans going forward. Weber understands the concept that sometimes leaders will come in with a goal, however once they get into the position of authority they may soon realize that goal needs to be altered. According to Greg Morris, Weber is correct in saying leaders must be flexible. When speaking of a good leader Morris says “They are willing to experiment with new and untested approaches, relying on their innate leadership ability and instinct for solutions more than on historic patterns of activity.” Without the resilience Morris and Weber refer to, who knows if the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge ever would have happened. The main goal of the ALS foundation has and always will be to raise support and awareness, however the foundation clearly was not living up to its full potential the past few years. Those in positions of authority at the foundation needed a new way to raise awareness. They needed to utilize their ethics of responsibility towards such a noble cause. The people who cared about the cause, like Pete Frates, decided they would not settle for mediocrity, and began to find other ways to raise money. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a perfect example of leaders thinking outside of the box and on the fly, to obtain a difficult goal.
            Throughout the months of August I personally witnessed many people decide to become leaders for the ALS cause. Without these leaders, I do not think I personally would have donated to the ALS foundation. These people may not have been politicians but they were still leaders. Maybe there efforts were short term but their impact will last for a long time. That impact can be measured in the one hundred million dollars that was raised. Weber was wrong in saying you need to have a long-term passion as a leader. The ALS ice bucket challenge speaks to the fact that short-term leaders can also influence change in their community.

3 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

  1. I completely agree that the ALS ice bucket challenge did make a huge impact on the ALS foundation, even though it was only notable for a few short months. However, I do not agree that this short-term event made a huge impact on raising awareness for ALS in the long-term. This “challenge” may of helped in the short term, but just like any other FAD, it is short-lived, and then everyone starts to forget. In order to make progress on something, you need to have constant input to get an output that is notable. A quick burst of 100 million dollars will do a lot towards the foundation, but what about a year from now? The foundation will not receive nearly as close of a donation as it did in the last couple of months. I firmly believe that more than 50% of the people that did the challenge or donated to the cause never heard of ALS before this challenge protruded into peoples lives all around the world. Soon, this will become a reality once again. I have not seen anything related to ALS since the challenge started to dwindle down about a month ago. According to multiple studies in psychology, if you are not reminded of something often, you will start to forget it. ALS foundations need to do something to remind people of this terrible disease, to ultimately find a cure. The ALS ice bucket challenge is not enough to influence change in the long-term.


  2. I like how you were able to relate this phenomena to the Weber reading. This event was definitely successful in a short time period, however I believe that the leaders of ALS do have a long term passion for finding a cure and this challenge was just one attempt to raise money. It just turned out that this event went viral and made an enormous amount of money for the cause. The leaders of ALS had no idea how long that phenomena would last and how successful it would be, but I do agree that this short term event made a huge impact on raising awareness for ALS and hopefully on finding a cure.


  3. I agree that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge did make a large impact even though it was relatively short-lived, however I am not sure that the popularity of the ice-bucket challenge has dwindled due to a lack of commitment of its leaders.


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