A lot of preparation went into the Berea Hunger Games last month which was the first of what will be an annual fundraising event dedicated towards raising funds for Syrian refugee relief. According to Matt Walker, senior Bonner Scholar who has been working on the event since last year, “We tried to incorporate fundraising and awareness-raising into events that we know that a lot of people can get interested in.” Walker added, “We are trying to reach out to that crowd that might not think they are really invested in social justice issues and show them that they can be.” Walker and his colleagues were pleased to raise over $500 from the entire event.
Prior to participating in the exclusive elimination-style game blending of HVZ and flag football, each student bought tickets ranging from 1 for .25 cents to 5 for $1.00 to put their names in a lottery to then be chosen as a representative for their dorm or off-campus housing. Twenty-five people (2 to 3 people per territory) were selected to compete against each other.
On the day of the event, as the supporting crowd waited anxiously for the tributes to come out and cheer them on for the adventures on which they were about to embark, the competitors stood by eagerly in the front parlor of Draper. Some were fidgety, trying to hold it together doing the pee-pee-dance while others were stoic. The relative silence was broken once they all harmoniously started singing and stomping out songs such as “We Will Rock You” and the theme to Rocky.
Following a celebrated entrance for the tributes, immersed in cheers and dramatic music, came brief speeches provided by the event organizers who spoke of People Who Care, CELTS and the non-profit organization Oxfam’s efforts to raise $2.5 million for necessary provisions in Syrian refugee camps. Britney Suites talked about how People Who Care within the C.E.L.T.S. department were responsible for the outreach and awareness aspect for the Syrian Refugee. According to Sydney Vaughn, 90 cents out of every dollar raised by Oxfam and partner groups would go directly to those in need with a minimal amount going to organizational overhead.
In the first round of the games, the tributes were confined to a taped off area on the quad with foam swords. In this round, each tribute had to tag another competitor. Once they were hit, they had to remove a tag that symbolized a life-line. Tributes forged alliances as his round started, ganging up on other players.
In between the round, the capitol citizens (the spectating crowd) were able to buy life-lines for the tributes in order to increase their chances of winning, helping to raise money as well.
In round two, the players had to line up from shortest to tallest to determine who was going to compete against whom in the bouncy pole joust. Those who won two out of three matches went forward unscathed while the losing competitors lost two life lines.
In between the second round and the third and final one, there was a Capitol Citizen dress contest where people who dressed up for the event were judged by the crowd. The winner, dressed in pink lace complimented by pink eye-lashes, received a $15 gift card from Peace Craft.
The final round was intense for both the spectators and the remaining 20 tributes. Once the round began, alliances were immediately formed. Walker banned such cooperation which made the game more interesting because there was then no telling who was going to turn against whom. The final two contestants were to Dylan (need last name) and Nate Stewart. Each player was down to their last life-line when Stewart slid to the ground and struck at ______’s (Dylan) leg winning the Hunger Games. Stewart’s win afforded him and his dorm to be bathed glorious prizes.