Over the course of 24 hours, stretching from Friday, November 6 to Saturday, November 7, the Great Hall of the Student Union Building (SUB) played host to the eighth annual Child’s Play 24-hour gaming marathon.
The charitable event has been traditionally hosted by the computing student association (CSA) (formerly CISSA, the computer information system student association), who were joined this year by the eSports valley club (ESV). With the extra space and personnel, the event dwarfed its predecessors in both the variety of games being played and the number of attendees. Over the course of the night, the Great Hall was consistently full of people playing video games, card games, board games, and combinations thereof.
Raffles were held throughout the night with prizes including miniature figures, music lessons, nerf guns, a ukulele, and a Wii-U Mario Bundle as the grand prize. All the proceeds from the raffles, donations, and dinner tickets for the Canoe will go to the Child’s Play charity, which provides toys and games for children in hospitals all over the world.
Graham St. Eloi, the CIS student who first brought the Child’s Play gaming marathon to UFV and has played a lead role in organizing each successive incarnation, says the event has seen huge growth since the first Child’s Play gaming marathon in 2007.
“It started as a little sleepover thing to get the university community together,” he says. “I just really wanted to grow, and develop the community, especially at University House.”
In its first years, the event only saw a couple dozen attendees and generally raised less than $200. In comparison, last year’s event raised over $3,200 — making the total raised at UFV over the years over $10,000. St. Eloi says his personal goal this year was to break $8,000, which would make a total of $20,000 that he has helped raise. This year’s gaming marathon raised $4,338 from UFV students, falling short of the $8000 goal, but still providing a significant contribution to the Child’s Play charity.
St. Eloi says the biggest change with the organization of this year’s event was having help from the ESV, who came in to build and manage the LAN, which attracted even more of UFV’s gamer community. To accommodate the increase in attendance, this year the event was held in the Great Hall of the SUB, which officially opened at the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester — a big change from the cozy but cramped space of U-House.
“[The SUB has] a lot more breathing room, a lot more capabilities for us, hardware and logistics wise,” says St. Eloi.
With eight years of organizing the Child’s Play charity fundraiser behind him, St. Eloi is set to graduate, but hopes the UFV tradition he’s played a key role in establishing will continue after he’s gone. Many of the students who participated in this year’s event had attended previous events.
“They’re coming back because they know this a good event, this is a good cause,” St. Eloi says. “I’m proud to say I started it so long ago, and I’m so happy that it’s grown to the scale that it has.” And based on this year’s event, the sky is the limit for this most enjoyable of campus traditions.