Illustration: Dasser Kamran/Fulcrum
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Shine Day goes online for the first time; raises money through online games and activities. 

University of Ottawa students raised $3,943 for Cystic Fibrosis Canada during the first online Shinerama. Organized by the Science Students’ Association (SSA) in collaboration with a number of other recognized student governments and with the help of the University of Ottawa Students’ Union, a wide array of free online events were held on Sept. 8 through Zoom. 

The event started at 10 a.m with a series of talks from cystic fibrosis experts and survivors including from U of O professor and Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute Dr. Shawn Aaron; Lisa Greene, a parent coach; and Chris Macleod, chair of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Society (CCFTS). 

Cystic Fibrosis, is a fatal genetic disease affecting over 4,300 Canadians, it affects one in every 3,600 live births. Dr. Aaron, professor under the division of Respirology, spoke about the effect the donations raised on Shine day have on helping cystic fibrosis patients. 

“CF [cystic fibrosis] Canada, where they research for cystic fibrosis, depends on Shinerama donations for their funding, and they receive 20-25 per cent of their funding from Shine Day,” said Dr. Aaron.

The doctor adds that there have been major breakthroughs due to the funds raised by students on Shine day and that CF Canada has “you guys [students] to thank”. 

Throughout the day, activities such as ‘Jackbox’ tournaments,  virtual escape rooms, a Minecraft Design Contest and Murder Trivia enticed students to fundraise. Shine Day also ran “Shine Classes”, short one-day workshop held on a variety of topics. These topics included “Oral Communication in French as a Second Language”, “Fundamentals of Finances in Student Life”, “ Staying Healthy in Quarantine”, and “Principles of Content Creation and Aesthetic Development”.

Chris Macleod, the chair of CCFTS, who has cystic fibrosis spoke about the importance of researching new drugs. Macleod explains the newly developed drugs are “game-changers” for cystic fibrosis patients but are often inaccessible to Canadian patients. 

Money raised on Shine Day will help CCFTS in its mission to make drugs easily accessible to patients by pressuring different levels of government to cover the cost of symptom management drugs for cystic fibrosis patients.  

As Shine Day continued at U of O, organizers encouraged students to donate through shock value, opting for embarrassing and sometimes semi-permanent and permanent challenges if a certain value was raised. 

At $1,000, Jeremy Oueis the vice-president of philanthropy for the Psychology Student Association did a blindfolded taste test. Communication Student Association vice president philanthropic Sofia Ismael pierced her nose when the event reached the $2,500. Ricardo Sikali, SSA’s vice-president of philanthropy, however, took it to a whole new level by shaving his head and eating a full California Reaper pepper at the $3,500 mark.

Babacar Faye, UOSU’s blamed the gap between funds raised and the event goal on the event being online-only this year and students unaware of it taking place. 

“The gap between the goal and funds raised can be attributed to a variety of reasons, but many believe that it was UOSU’s last-minute decision to make all events free instead of pay by donation on Eventbrite as originally planned, and voted on at the Philanthropic round table,” said Sikali. “Their new plan was to attach a donation link with the confirmation email sent when a person registers for an event.”

Students still interested in donating can do so on the Shinerama website for the University of Ottawa for the rest of September. 

-editor’s note (15/09/2020) 10:55 a.m. A previous version of this article wrongfully attributed the organization of the event singularly to the University of Ottawa Students’ Union. After the original publication of this article, we were informed that the organization of shine day was spearheaded by the Science Student’s Association in collaboration with other RSA’s.