Cal Poly students and San Luis Obispo community members came together in the University Union Plaza to donate their hair for a good cause Monday.
It was the second ponytail drive put on by Alma Padilla-Iriarte and Alicia Ginsberg, who both work for Student Community Services. Stylists from Bluebird Salon volunteered to give free haircuts to anyone who wanted to donate at least eight inches of hair. More than 25 people donated hair, which will go to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program and be turned into wigs for the American Cancer Society.
Architecture junior Nina Idzerda was the first person to donate her hair. She said she was nervous about cutting off a foot of her hair, it is now the shortest she has ever had it.
“I feel like I need a new wardrobe,” she said. “My hair is really edgy now; I used to be much more casual. I feel like Lady GaGa status now.”
Idzerda said despite her nervousness, she had no regrets.
“This is something that you can do to step beyond yourself and do something for another person,” she said.
The idea of the ponytail drive started last year when Ginsberg was looking for a place in San Luis Obispo to donate her hair and couldn’t find anywhere to do it.
“It was a selfish idea really,” she said. “I donated my hair in high school in order to get a free hair cut as well as help a good cause.”
Ginsberg told Padilla-Iriarte about her idea and the two decided to put together an event not only to allow themselves to donate hair but to let others do the same. They sent out letters to all of the salons in town soliciting help; Bluebird, a relatively new salon then, was the first to respond.
Kelly McCrudden, a stylist for Bluebird, said the salon gets to help out a worthwhile organization and market itself as well.
Ariel Shannon, the owner of Bluebird salon, said students who donated their hair at last year’s event have come into the salon to get their hair cut.
Padilla-Iriarte, the co-director of Senior Services for Student Community Services, said while cancer sufferers might have more serious concerns, a person’s hair is an important part of them.
“We both know people that have been affected by cancer,” she said of herself and Ginsberg.
Padilla-Iriarte and Ginsberg both donated their hair last year for a total of 2 feet. Padilla-Iriarte said she decided not to donate her hair this year so that it had a chance to grow back.
Ginsberg and Padilla-Iriarte were nervous that not enough people would sign up to get their hair cut. Only 12 people had signed up by last Thursday, Ginsberg said. So in order to get the word out to the community, some of the volunteers for the event put on different colored wigs at Farmers’ Market.
“I’m not sure how many people came in because of it, but I wanted to make sure that we had done everything possible to make this successful,” Ginsberg said.
With 10 walk-ins on Monday, all the 25 appointment times were filled and more were added.
While it was her first year doing the event, McCrudden said she heard last year was much more hectic. This year there was a much greater focus on the donors.