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Penn’s fraternities are bringing the mustache back.

In a partnership with the Australia-based Movember Foundation, which advocates growing moustaches in November to raise money for prostate and testicular cancer research, Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity brothers Reed Lerner, a Wharton and Engineering senior, and Ben Zachs, a College senior, have brought the mustache craze to Penn.

Movember, which combines the Australian slang term for mustache, “mo,” and the month, November, was organized in 2003 and has since raised over $47 million globally. The effort continues to increase awareness of prostate cancer and change attitudes regarding men’s health.

Each participant begins Movember with a clean-shaven face and grows out a mustache over the course of the month.

According to the Movember Foundation’s web site, Movember is currently the world’s biggest event supporting men’s health. It is observed in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States.

Zachs was inspired by the overwhelming support he saw for Movember during his semester abroad in Australia at the University of Melbourne, where he saw a quarter of the male students grow mustaches throughout the month.

He added that Penn’s on-campus response has been good so far.

Zachs and Lerner have partnered with Wharton senior and Beta Theta Pi brother Justin Clouden to garner support from various fraternities. In addition to Beta and TEP, the trio has since presented their event at chapter meetings of Pi Kappa Phi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Chi Rho, Sigma Alpha Mu and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternities.

However, both Zachs and Lerner emphasized that Penn males have been hesitant to grow a “mo” due to self-conscious worries.

Still, Lerner said, “A lot of people think that it is a good way to help out and are pretty into it. Those people instantly turn into supporters and convince their friends to do it.”

Zachs also stressed that women are also encouraged to participate in fundraising efforts and in supporting their male friends.

“Girls can’t grow a mustache, but they can still support by getting their guy friends to grow and not making fun of them,” he said.

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs has praised the event as a “great way to raise awareness.”

“We’ve had Penn fraternity men who have had testicular cancer,” OFSA Director Scott Reikofski wrote in an e-mail. “If it weren’t for awareness programs and peer outreach, they wouldn’t have been diagnosed nearly as early and had such a positive prognosis.”

Zachs said the Facebook group “UPenn Movember” has so far reached 300 people. The group has also received 125 sign-ups on its web site.

He added that although his mustache last November was not sufficient, he remains confident in his ability to grow a “mo” this year.

“It was a pretty paltry mustache — it was pretty unimpressive,” he said of last year’s attempt. “But, hopefully this year will be better. I’m a year more mature in my facial hair growth.”

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