Bearded DeVol is underway and the beard to clean-shaven ratio is particularly high as beards, scruff, peach fuzz, and whiskers occupy the men of DeVol.
The competition, which runs from Oct. 1 until the Haviland Christmas House Dec. 7, is open to all DeVol Hall residents. This is Bearded DeVol’s second year and compared to last year the numbers have doubled to approximately 16 men participating. All will receive a t-shirt for their efforts.
Rules for the competition include: no shaving, grooming, or trimming. The only exceptions are for men who are doing student teaching, field experience, chorale or other activities that require a clean shaven look.
Founder of the competition and Resident Director of DeVol Rhett Edwards said, “For some reason guys tend to respect beards and I’m not sure why, it might be a sign of masculinity or manhood when a guy can grow a good beard.”
Dr. King considered participating in the event, but Edwards said, “Due to the weekend of homecoming and the inauguration, we thought him having a straggly beard wasn’t a great idea and his wife wasn’t keen on the idea; but he is a big supporter.”
Edwards began the program in October of 2011 as he was personally growing out his facial hair to play the role of Santa Claus at “Christmas at Malone.”
Senior music production major and veteran to the contest TJ McDonald said, “This year there are more people involved and I think it’s great. The more people we have wearing Bearded DeVol 2012 t-shirts the better.”
One of McDonald’s goals is to have the hair on his head shorter than the hair from his beard.
Alex Steinmetz, senior mathematics major and contender in the competition last year, said, “TJ’s beard is just amazing, and I am jealous and I wish I could grow [mine] like that.”
“Some guys say, ‘No I don’t want to do it because I don’t want to look gross, or I don’t grow a good beard, or it’s itchy and scratchy, or I actually want girls to talk to me,’” Edwards said.
“Shockingly to participants, at the conclusion of the ‘Bearded DeVol’ contest [last year], the majority of the people that were in attendance to the competition were actually girls. So guys with beards actually got more attention from the ladies than they expected,” Edwards added.
Sophomore mathematics major David Kahoun said, “I look forward to see what the contestants have to offer this year, because last year’s competitors were really good including TJ, Marshall and Chaz. It was a great fight last year.”
To conclude the event there is a crowning of the beard with judges who “have beard credibility,” said Edwards. There are 4 categories for the beards: best overall, needs miracle grow, creepiest and best dressed.
The winners of the contest receive a gift certificate for the restaurant of their choice. Last year’s winner for best overall beard was student body president Bob Book.
“I see this as something that could be a long standing tradition for DeVol. I think it is something that could far outlast my time here,” Edwards said.
There is a Facebook fan page for the contest consisting of weekly updates via pictures of participants used as a means of accountability.
Amy Miller is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.