Combining video games and charity

Since its founding, the Homelessness and Hunger Club has always raised money for charities in the surrounding area—like the Salvation Army, the YES Clubhouse, Saint Vincent DePaul and the Sparta Cafe in Newark, but starting last semester, they took an alternative route to raise money and spread awareness about these organizations: a Super Smash Bros. Melee Tournament.

Melee is a popular fighting game, released in 2000, for the Nintendo GameCube. Players fight as well-known characters from Nintendo’s most popular gaming franchises.

The Homelessness and Hunger Club, a DCA organization, raised $150 for the competition. As part of the rules, the winner was able to decide which local charity would receive the money. This semester’s winner, Connor Gilbert ’18, a computer science major from Dublin, Ohio who was undefeated in the tournament, chose to donate the money to the YES Clubhouse.

He said he chose to donate to the YES Clubhouse because he feels that “it’s important for kids to always have a safe place to go, be it home or elsewhere, and the YES Clubhouse allows for that.”

Gilbert also received a $25 gift card to Chipotle for winning the competition. Daniel Fiorentini ’15, a biology and environmental double major from Inglewood, Calif., won second place in the competition and received a $10 gift card to Chipotle.

This year’s tournament, which took place on Saturday, Nov. 15, drew 21 student-competitors. Max Kelly ’16, an economics major from Highland Park, Ill. and vice president of the Homelessness and Hunger Club, and Fiorentini ’15 collaborated to organize this semester’s competition with the help of the Gaming Guild, which is a group of students who meet to play video games, board games and role-playing games.

The tournament was run in a bracket system in which there was a winner’s bracket and a loser’s bracket. If the player lost the first game, then he or she then had the chance to redeem themselves in the loser’s tournament by playing one-on-one against another member of the loser’s bracket.

Kelly said, “We basically set up four tv’s and four game cubes and made all the games one-on-one with no items.” He added, “The best part of the competition was after the game when people stayed behind to just play and hang out. It was a good time.”

Last year, they raised about $200 that was also donated to the YES Clubhouse.

Lambda Chi Alpha also contributed $25 to the tournament. Kelly said, “Lambda’s been really supportive of us this year.”

The H&H Club plans to continue holding the Super Smash tournament every semester, along with the other charitable events they hold all semester, like their annual Homelessness and Hunger Week.

Next semester, however, they are considering a few other options for the tournament like a doubles tournament, switching from Melee to the new game that will be released on November 21 of this year, or switching the game altogether to Mario Kart.

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