Stay tuned for more details, but the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is coming to the University of St. Thomas … in a big way.

St. Thomas students, staff, faculty and neighbors are all welcome to participate. You won’t have to BYOB (bring your own bucket). They will be provided, along with ice, water and a towel.

The challenge will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, on the John P. Monahan Plaza outside the Anderson Student Center. While details are being worked out, plans call for registration at 3 p.m. and a mass “ice-water dump” at 3:30 p.m.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is designed to raise awareness and research funds for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”). Voluntary donations for the ALS Association will be accepted at the St. Thomas challenge that day.

You’d almost need to have your head in a pail not to have heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge, but if not, there’s background about it here on Wikipedia. As of late last week, the challenge has raised more than $50 million for ALS research.

St. Thomas was “challenged” to hoist the bucket by the ALS Association Center of Excellence at the Hennepin County Medical Center and by Dr. Bruce Kramer’s congregation, the Good Samaritan United Methodist Church of Edina. Kramer, who is former dean of the School of Education at St. Thomas, is living with ALS and frequently has been interviewed about living with the disease on a series of programs broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio with Cathy Wurzer.

St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan also was challenged recently by junior Sarah LaValla. You can see LaValla making the challenge and getting her batch of ice water here and here (you need to watch both videos).

Another St. Thomas ice-bucket veteran is Rob Vischer, dean of the School of Law. You can see how dignified someone can be while getting a bucket dumped over his head here.

Organizers aren’t sure how many participants will show up for the challenge on Sept. 4, but are planning on hundreds. More details about the event as the date draws closer and plans are finalized.

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