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Ice Bucket Challenge Continues Its Ripple Through Top Business Schools

CBS ice bucketIt started last week with one section challenging another at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, ultimately leading to a school-wide dousing and a challenge issued to rival schools UNC Kenan-Flagler School, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and UVA’s Darden School. And the ice-cold water just keeps flowing (as do the donations).

The challenge, of course, is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that began going viral in late July and has amassed an incredible $79.7 million in donations to date (as compared to just $2.5 million during the same time period last year [July 29th to August 25th]). The ALS Association reports that it has gained 1.7 million new donors along the way.

Those who are challenged are supposed to have ice water dumped over their heads and then challenge others to do the same—or to make a donation to fight ALS—within 24 hours. In taking up the mantle, business school classes have called upon their peers to both endure the icy shower AND donate.

Upon being challenged by Fuqua, a group of Wharton students also dumped water over their heads (and donated), extending the challenge to Columbia Business School (CBS), London Business School and Tuck School of Business, giving those rival schools a week to comply.

At CBS, the Class of 2016 wrapped up its orientation activities last Friday evening by accepting the challenge from Wharton. Several hundred students stood in front of Uris Hall on the university’s Morningside Heights campus armed with brimming buckets, passing the challenge along to Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Kenan-Flagler, which also was granted a week to comply when challenged by Fuqua, responded on August 20th with a videotaped compilation of multiple ice dumps involving members of both the Class of 2015 and 2016 as well as faculty and staff, set to background music and complete with a fire-hose-dousing finale. At the time of the video’s posting, the school reported that its community alone had raised more than $1 million in donations to the ALS Association

Once the challenge has made its way through all the top schools, surely a case study or two will follow.