APU helps battle children’s cancer with apparel brand

APU students are looking to make a difference in the lives of many young children through the Love Your Melon (LYM) Campus Crew Program.

The program strives to promote the products on campus while also visiting hospitals, bringing beanies and hats to children and planning events in order to spread awareness. 50 percent of LYM’s proceeds go to cancer research through a partnership with CureSearch and The Pinky Swear Foundation.

Rachel Jewett, freshman marketing major and public relations manager of APU’s LYM campus crew, explained the meaning behind the organization.

“For each beanie you sell, a hat goes to a kid with cancer,” Jewett said. “That’s why it’s called ‘Love Your Melon,’ because when you’re bald, your head looks like a melon.”

The LYM organization was founded in October of 2012 by two friends and college students in Minnesota. Since then, LYM’s Campus Crew Program has spread nationwide to various universities.

Freshman marketing major Angela Norton started the APU crew about a month ago and serves as the crew captain.

“I’m from Minnesota, and back home I realized that a lot of college campuses had the Love Your Melon groups,” Norton said. “I realized that APU didn’t have a crew, but other schools around California did, so I thought that this would be a good thing to start here.”

APU is the 10th university on the West Coast to start a Love Your Melon (LYM) campus crew. Other local campus crews include Cal Poly Pomona, USC, UCLA and Biola.

“It’s important to students on campus because I see people walking around with beanies anyway, so why not buy one that helps somebody else?” Jewett said. “There are so many people affected by cancer, so to be able to give back is both rewarding to them and to another person. That’s why it should be important to APU.”

A campus crew is not considered an official campus club, because any student can start their own crew. Campus crews such as LYM are unique because they can only have 20 people in the crew, with a waitlist for others who want to join. Currently, everyone in APU’s LYM crew is freshman women, but they hope to expand to other students.

“Even though it may seem strange having a club that is all freshmen, I think it gives us a lot of potential because we have four years to grow in something that we are already so passionate about,” freshman international business major and LYM campus crew member Sophia Kitabjian said. “Hopefully, by the time we graduate, we can see its growth and see it established or built into the school by then.”

For many crew members, such as freshman nursing major Allison Houck, this group and its message are near to her heart.

“I wanted to join [LYM] as soon as I found out about it, because growing up—when I was about three or four—both my cousin and one of my best friends were diagnosed with leukemia,” Houck said. “I remember how sick my cousin was in particular, but looking back I remember that through support, he and his family got through it. Battling cancer, especially cancer with a small child, is not something anyone should do alone, so I wanted to do something to help.”

The crew is open to anyone interested in joining. They believe that something as simple as giving a hat or beanie to a child going through cancer, while giving them much needed love and support, can make that child’s day brighter.

“We want Love Your Melon to be a common household phrase on campus,” Jewett said. “I think that with a campus our size, that is not an unrealistic goal.”

For members like Jewett and Kitabjian, the future of the group is important, and both have high expectations for Love Your Melon. They believe APU’s students can have a strong impact in this world by showing God’s love through kindness and compassion.

“I think one of our goals for the future is just to continue to expand with members,” Kitabjian said. “We only have girls in this group right now, but we would like to have men as well, especially since the organization was started by two men. We encourage everyone to join or support the product, and just spread the word on campus.”

For further information on LYM campus crew, contact Angela Norton at anorton14@apu.edu.