It's officially a week into the month of November, and faces are already scruffy.
Dubbed "No Shave November," the idea to not shave for an entire month initially was created as an aid to raise awareness for prostate cancer in 1999, but has recently become a fad among young men. Sometimes also called "Novembeard" or "Movember," this month guarantees an excess of facial hair on campus.
"Somebody told me it was for a good cause, but I also just really wanted to grow a beard," Miles Carter, undecided freshman, said. "It's a mark of manhood, it's a test of masculinity, and whoever has the biggest beard on campus at the end of the month wins."
Carter, who has never been able to grow a beard before and is participating in "No Shave November" for the first time, said that he was peer pressured into committing to not shaving for a month.
"People told me to do it, so I started doing it," Carter said. "Everyone else is doing it and I figured why not? Plus, ... it's an excuse not to shave and it's cool because everyone else does it with you."
Santiago Ortiz-Piazuelo, freshman in art, said that the whole month is basically a competition among him and his fellow male students.
"I think students mainly do it to compare each other, I think it's more of a competitive act," Ortiz-Piazuelo said. "It's great because then I can see how many people can grow better beards and have more facial hair than me and those who have less."
English lecturer Jennifer Spirko said that it doesn't have to be labeled as peer pressure.
"Sometimes when your friends are doing something it's more fun to do, but I also think it's a sort of freedom," Spirko said. "It's like women's right, like I'm not going to wear makeup, but even though it doesn't change your appearance very much you feel liberated. There's this one less thing I have to do."
Spencer Rouser, senior in business administration, spent six years in the Air Force and had to shave every day due to uniform regulations. When he found out he was getting out of the military, he started growing a beard the first day out.
"Students probably do it because they don't have to show up at a nine to five everyday where somebody is going to get on them for their facial hair," Rouser said. "I probably couldn't get away with my beard if I worked at an accounting firm, they'd look at me like I were crazy and they'd tell me to go shave, just like they would in the Air Force. It's not professional."
Females have started taking their own perspective on "No Shave November" and stopped shaving their legs for the month. Wren Womack, undecided freshman, said that the girl take on the month-long commitment is not something she'll participate in.
"It's funnier on guys to see how their facial hair grows, but on girls it is gross," Womack said. " ... I don't like to have hairy legs and it doesn't take that much time to shave."
Ortiz-Piazuelo, who is also participating in "No Shave November" for the first time, said that even though he probably won't make it the whole month without shaving, he is mainly doing it for personal reasons.
"I've never done it before, before I couldn't even grow a beard and now we're going to see if I can keep growing it," he said. "At least I don't have to worry about my facial appearance for a while because everyone looks a little scruffy."
Carter is taking advantage of "No Shave November" and trying to connect with his family.
"My grandfather and my father had great beards, and by growing out mine I feel like a man and that I've lived up to their expectations and their standards in life," Carter said.
Spirko said that since her husband is bearded she appreciates the effort to grow beards during the month of November.
"Maybe it's just because (of) the era I grew up in, but I like a well-kept beard, I think it's a handsome thing," she said.
A lady's opinion does matter, said Carter.
"Girls just don't like kissing guys with beards," Carter said. "With past experiences of having a beard and kissing girls, they think it's really gross and it's prickly and it hurts their face. It's just not sexy to girls, unless they like that bearded cave man style."
Ortiz-Piazuelo said that he does not think females prefer beards.
"I don't think girls like too much facial hair, it makes them scared of our alpha male dominance," Ortiz-Piazuelo said. "Girls don't like it when a face is prickly when you're (kissing), it's not conducive to intimacy when it feels like you're rubbing Velcro on someone's face."
As a female, Womack said that she is picky about her man's facial hair.
"I like some scruff but not a lot of scruff, but that's just me," she said. "I probably won't recognize guys by the end of November, they will all look homeless."
Projection for the success of "No Shave November" is still early, said Rouser.
"It's still pretty early, so you're only going to see stubble now. It's hard to tell who's slacking on shaving and who is actively participating in 'No Shave November,' but in the end good beards recognize good beards."