Dodging balls for a charitable cause

Co-chairs from the dodgeball tournament’s three organizing committees are ready for action.
Co-chairs from the dodgeball tournament’s three organizing committees are ready for action.
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On March 26, Queen’s students will have a chance to help out numerous worthy charities while reliving the glory of grade five gym class.

Committees of students representing the ASUS Heart and Stroke Committee, the ASUS Cystic Fibrosis Committee and Alzheimer’s Outreach are teaming up to hold ASUS Dodge ball ’06, a dodge ball tournament to raise money and awareness for their respective charities.

The event comes on the heels of two hugely successful intramural dodge ball tournaments, and the organizers said they are hoping for a large turnout this time around. It will be just one of numerous individual initiatives each committee will undertake this year.

The Cystic Fibrosis committee is best known for Shinerama, which starts during ASUS Orientation Week and continues throughout the year.

Co-chairs Brandon Ritcey and John Bilenki head a committee of 11 executive members and hundreds of volunteers, making possible an annual semi-formal, poker tournament, hockey tournament and bottle drive.

Fundraising has been a success so far, and the co-chairs said they hope to continue that in the remainder of the year, with the dodge ball tournament as a focal point of their efforts.

“The students at Queen’s really care a lot about the fight against cystic fibrosis, as shown by the fact that for the past two years we’ve broken the Orientation Week record [for funds raised],” Ritcey said.

The committee has also sold orange Shinerama bracelets, which are still available at the Green Room.

Alzheimer’s Outreach, co-chaired by Maggie Thompson and Rohit Aiyer, has approximately 30 volunteers in Kingston, with one-third stationed at Providence Manor Nursing Home and the other two-thirds at St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital. The committee has held bake sales and pizza sales and sold candy necklaces at Alfie’s.

In addition to the tournament, they will be hosting an Open Mic Night at the Common Ground on March 27, which will feature guest speakers.

Aiyer said the tournament is designed to be inclusive and enjoyable.

“The great thing about this event is that everyone knows how to play dodge ball, and it’s basically people’s favourite gym sport,” he said.

Thompson added that participation in the event does not require a large degree of talent or athleticism.

“It will attract not just athletes, but anyone who just wants to come out and have a fun time with their friends,” she said.

The Heart & Stroke Committee focuses on both fundraising and heightening awareness of the dangers of heart ailments and stroke.

Co-chaired by Jessica Sleeth and David Goodick, and composed of an 11-member committee and a large body of volunteers, ASUS Heart & Stroke held the Hoops for Heart basketball tournament in the PEC, as well as bake sales, smokers, the packing and delivering of Candygrams and a Body Flow class at Goodlife Fitness.

They have raised more than $3,000 for the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation so far this year, and they have just completed their busiest fundraising period; Heart Month, which takes place each February.

The chairs of all three committees expressed their enthusiasm for the collaborative nature of the event. They said it could serve as a good example of the fact that fundraising for charitable causes should be a team-oriented effort, and need not be insular.

“I think what makes this tournament special is that it is rare to see committees work together,” Aiyer said. “We’re trying to show Queen’s that collaboration and teamwork are great ways to get students out to help fundraise for such a large-scale event.”

Sleeth echoed Aiyer’s comments, saying that coming together as a team helps charities even more as well as making the tournament better for the participants.

The tournament will take place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in BEWS gym, with games lasting 15 minutes each. The morning will feature exhibition matches, followed by a round robin and playoff rounds in the afternoon. The fee will be $5 per person, or $30 per six-player team. Sign-up and tickets can be found in Mac-Corry from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day until the tournament begins, or students can contact heart@asus.queensu.ca for details.

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