Presidents circle at the University of Utah Monday September 14, 2015.

U students pay $5 for tickets to the Twilight Concert Series, $8 for a six-pack of beer and $5.99 for an order of The Pie’s cinnamon pull-a-parts. The Huntsman Cancer Institute hopes you’ll give up one of those small purchases and instead donate the money to cancer research.

“We know $5 can be a lot, especially in college, but we hope students are willing to forgo a coffee or some pizza to fight against cancer,” said Lori Kun, a spokesperson for the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

The Institute is the sole beneficiary of the “Five for the Fight” campaign, a social media-based fundraising effort launched Feb. 17. In addition to donating $5, the campaign encourages participants to write the name of the cancer patient, survivor or victim they are supporting on their hand before posting to social media using the hashtag #FivefortheFight and “challenging” five friends by tagging them.

“We wanted to find a way to involve everybody,” said Matt Maughan, a spokesperson for Qualtrics, the company that helped launch the campaign. “It’s really hard to find anyone in the world who hasn’t been affected by cancer, whether they’ve had it themselves or watched a friend or loved one suffer.”

The campaign has already received a strong positive response, especially from tech-savvy young adults.

“This is the most connected and philanthropic generation we’ve seen in a long time,” Kun said. “Millennials seem motivated to support companies who do good things.”

Katie Lords, a sophomore in sociology, has watched several family members battle cancer. She said she would “definitely” donate money to Five for the Fight; however, after a sub-zero experience with the Ice Bucket Challenge, a similarly-structured effort to raise money for ALS, she’s wary of participating in the social portion of the campaign.

“At least you don’t have to be half-naked for this one,” Lords joked. “That’s a perk.”

The effort has also gained traction with local and national celebrities, including the KUTV news team, Donny Osmond and the Jazz Bear (who challenged five other NBA mascots to donate).

Five for the Fight will roll out university campaigning within a few weeks, starting with tabling events. In the meantime, U students are strongly encouraged to visit and begin donating now.

“Let’s say 15,000 students — less than half of the student body — gave $5 each,” Kun said. “That’s $75,000 that goes 100 percent to cancer research.”

While the campaign’s official fundraising goal is $5 million, the effort has no set end date and may continue indefinitely.

Maughan said: “Really, there’s no reason to end this until the fight against cancer is over.”

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