Imagine stripping off completely around your closest peers only to stand before a team of photographers. Although to most this idea is as daunting as swimming with sharks, for the veterinarian students of Sydney University, it’s just another chance for them to raise money for a charity through their project “Vets Shedding the Stigma”.
Each year students from Sydney Uni’s veterinary and animal science departments pull down their overalls and bare all to be captured for their annual calendar, with the proceeds being donated to a charity of their choice. The project has been going on for a decade now and each year the students choose a different charity to raise money for. This year 40 students faced their fears and stripped off their clothes, with all funds being raised going towards the foundation Rural and Remote Mental Health. Mental health issues are common amongst the veterinarian industry, especially within those living in rural and remote areas as they have little access to mental health facilities.
The project has been very successful with the calendars receiving national and international recognition from publications such as Buzzfeed and the Daily Telegraph, creating great coverage for the charities being donated to.
Although the message behind the calendars is a serious one, the students create such a fun and careless attitude, evident in the photos. Images of girls wearing nothing but an Akubra hat with a horse in front of them, or a couple of guys hanging around a tractor in the nude, all add to the fun and humorous vibe of the calendars. Some of the students commented on their experience saying at first it was a little awkward but by the end everyone was completely comfortable, which is clear in the photos presented in the calendar.
So through raising money for a great cause the students of Sydney Uni’s veterinarian school are hoping that by shedding their clothes, they shed some of the stigma surrounding mental health issues in rural and remote communities.