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UF President Participates in ALS 'Ice Bucket Challenge'

Dumping a bright orange Gatorade cooler over a coach’s head is common for athletes after a game or tournament. On Monday, two University of Florida athletes, football quarterback Jeff Driskel and volleyball player Simone Antwi, dumped a bucket of ice water onto UF President Bernie Machen.

After several nominations from students and his grandchildren, Machen took on the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to raise money and awareness for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Machen explained ALS is one of the worst diseases still without a cure, and this challenge could raise awareness of the illness.

“This is a lot of fun, but there is something good behind it,” Machen said. "This is social media used the right way.”

In fact, social media introduced one of the students who nominated Machen to ALS.

UF Ph.D. student Kéran Billaud accepted the challenge from his niece in Alaska. Billaud admits he did not know much about ALS before the ice bucket campaign. He took on the challenge, hoping more social media users would learn about the illness, and nominated Machen to increase support.

“I told myself if you’re going to advance a cause,” Billaud said,  “you want to challenge people who are really well known.”

Billaud added students may participate after watching the video, and Machen agreed.

“I hope people will say, 'You know, if this old guy can do it, I can do something about it as well,'” Machen said while drenched.

Machen nominated all YouTube viewers to accept the challenge as well as Cory Yeffet, president of UF Student Government, and Dave Kratzer, vice president of the UF Division of Student Affairs.

Virginia is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org