Student Uses Hair for Fundraiser

A year's growth gone to support Mission Malawi

By: Becky St. Clair

John Lubke before cutting his hair to raise money for a hospital in Malawi.

John Lubke after the haircut that cost students, staff, faculty, and community members over $1,000.

On Friday, January 23, during vespers at the Walla Walla University Church, John Lubke, sophomore theology major, made a huge commitment.  He agreed to shave his head.

For over a year, Lubke had been growing out his hair, with the goal of making it into dreadlocks, something he had always wanted to do for fun.  

“There were endless suggestions from people for me to cut my hair,” says Lubke, “but I was holding out, because it had taken me so long to grow it all out.”

An hour before vespers that night, John Foote, head dean of men at WWU, asked Lubke what it would take to cut his hair.  Lubke laughed and told him it would take a lot of money.  Jokingly, Foote suggested he could use his hair as a fundraiser.  Within moments, Lubke had decided to do just that.

The associated students of WWU (ASWWU) are co-participants in Mission Malawi, a project taken on by all of the Adventist colleges and universities in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists to raise $100,000 for a hospital in Malawi.  If the hospital doesn’t renovate its facilities, it will be shut down by the government.

Lubke decided to raise money for Mission Malawi.  Just over an hour later, he was onstage in the University Church, announcing that if they gave $1,000 at the Awakening (a student-run church service) the following morning, Lubke would cut his hair.

As cheers resounded, Paddy McCoy, WWU chaplain, jumped onstage and counter-challenged, proposing that they raise the goal to $1,250, at which point Lubke would not just cut his hair, but shave it all off.  Lubke agreed.  

On Saturday morning, Lubke made the offering call.  As soon as the offering was collected, a group began counting.  When they reached the $1,000 mark, Lubke hurried to a have another student cut his hair.  He planned to go back onstage with his hair cut to tell them they’d reached the goal.

As Lubke was having his hair cut, McCoy came back to inform him they had passed the $1,250 mark, and were still counting.  Lubke was going to have to shave his head.  Though he was nervous about this, he had agreed, and he would do it.

However, when Lubke returned to the stage, a community member, who knew Lubke was uncomfortable shaving his head, offered an additional $300 if Lubke would shave his legs instead of his head.  This Lubke happily agreed to, under the condition that he didn’t have to do it in front of the audience.  

As the group continued counting the offering, more students continued to come in and hand them donations.  One student came in with over $60 in change.  When it was all finally counted, they had raised over $1,900 for Mission Malawi.

“It was truly awesome to not only see what students were willing to sacrifice for a good cause,” says McCoy, “but how excited they were to do it.”

According to McCoy, the Awakening regularly collects $400-500 to go toward specific projects.  A few weeks prior to Lubke’s haircut fundraiser, the Awakening collected $2,000 to sponsor a child in Nepal.

“Overall, this was way more than I expected,” says Lubke.  “God blessed the offerings, and I got the best haircut of my life.”

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