Controlling arms

Arm wrestling competition raises money for Queen’s Oxfam

A faceoff between Principal Karen Hitchcock and Golden Words Co-Editor in Chief Jon Thompson headlined Queen’s Oxfam’s Control Arms arm wrestling competition on Monday.
A faceoff between Principal Karen Hitchcock and Golden Words Co-Editor in Chief Jon Thompson headlined Queen’s Oxfam’s Control Arms arm wrestling competition on Monday.
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Hitchcock said the arm wrestling “will be a great challenge for the next year.”
Hitchcock said the arm wrestling “will be a great challenge for the next year.”
Photo: 

Chants of “Hitchcock! Hitchcock! Hitchcock!” filled The Grad Club on Monday evening, as Principal Karen Hitchcock sat down, placed her right elbow on the table and prepared to arm wrestle Golden Words editor Jon Thompson, MA ’06. “When I arrived at Queen’s, the first interview I had was with Golden Words,” Hitchcock said. “It’s now my turn to get even.”

Thompson, however, came out on top, winning two out of the three matches.

“At convocation, I think she’ll remember what the score was,” said Thompson, pleased with his victory.

Hitchcock and Thompson were the headliners for The Control Arms arm wrestling competition, an event presented by the Queen’s Oxfam Control Arms campaign.

“It’s a wonderful charity event for a wonderful cause,” Hitchcock said.

The Control Arms campaign, which included the arm wrestling competition, was geared to raise awareness about issues surrounding arms trade, said Ashley Hill, ArtSci ’08 and one of Queen’s Oxfam’s project directors. “Each year, 500,000 people are killed worldwide by small arms,” Hill said. “The money that is spent on these arms can therefore not be used for social programs such as health care and education.” Approximately 150 spectators and arm wrestling teams formed by various University clubs and organizations headed to The Grad Club to show their support for Oxfam and for controlling arms.

“I love a party where everyone’s invited,” said outgoing Rector Grant Bishop, who was a last-minute addition to the AMS Social Issues Commission team. “It’s a great cause to work towards social justice and it provides the opportunity for community involvement.” Following Hitchcock and Thompson’s showdown, the outgoing AMS executive challenged, and defeated, the incoming AMS executive.

“The campaign is a brilliant idea,” said Ethan Rabidoux, current AMS president. “We need arms control now more than ever.”

Despite their defeat, members of the new AMS executive said they were nevertheless glad to have attended the event.

“We love coming to campus events,” said James Macmillan, incoming AMS president. “Oxfam is such a great cause that we just couldn’t resist.”

Oxfam was founded in the U.K. during World War II as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief and is a development and relief agency that works to find lasting solutions to global poverty.

Kelly Bowden and Katherine Im-Jenkins, both ArtSci ’07, created a Queen’s chapter of the organization a little over a year ago.

“We feel very strongly towards alleviating poverty and inequality,” Bowden said.

The group is composed of a six-member executive team and approximately 25 members.

In addition to the Control Arms campaign, Queen’s Oxfam oversees three others throughout the duration of the school year: Make Poverty History, Make Trade Fair, and No Sweat.

“I’m really glad that such enthusiastic people attend our campaigns,” Bowden said. “It shows a lot when we can all come together for a common cause.”

The Grad Club team won the competition after registering at the last minute with no time for preparation. Runners-up were QPID’s Cupids.

Hill said Oxfam raised more than $400 over the course of the evening, half of which went to the winners, who returned it.

As well, approximately 50 new faces were added to the Million Faces Campaign, another aspect of Oxfam’s Control Arms campaign, which is attempting to collect one million images and self-portraits by June 2006 to urge governments to toughen up on arms trade.

The Million Faces petition will be presented at the 2006 Small Arms Review Conference being held in New York City from June 26 to July 7.

Hill said Oxfam’s hope is that with the support of 1 million individuals around the world, governments will be more likely to sign an Arms Trade Treaty to put international regulations on the arms trade.

The organizers said the was event to be a great success and thanked Hitchcock for her participation.

“It was a lot of fun,” Hitchcock said. “It will be a great challenge for me next year.”

—With files from oxfam.org.uk

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