Human bowling tournament limits participation, raises money for cancer research, community
Students rolled their way into bright red bowling pins in human-sized hamster balls Friday afternoon in Tisch Commons, raising around $800 for charity.
The event, a human bowling tournament co-sponsored by Relay For Life and Mr. Wash. U., was so popular that more students signed up than could compete. The last two pre-registered teams to arrive and pay were turned away at the door and numerous walk-in participants were denied as well.
The proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the American Cancer Society and City Faces, the groups’ respective charities.
The tournament consisted of 32 teams of five players each and each player contributed a $5 donation to participate. The tournament was structured into brackets, with each team vying for the first place title.
Junior Natasha Ceballos, Mr. Wash. U.’s vice president of internal fundraising, said that, although it cut down on the quantity of donations, capping the number of participants allowed everyone the opportunity to enjoy the competition.
“I think the [issue is] quality versus quantity in this scenario. Thirty-two teams of five, and each person pays five dollars, is still a lot of money, and this way, everyone’s able to have a fair opportunity to participate…It is, at the end of the day, a fun competition. So while it does hamper it, I think it also keeps the integrity of the event very solid,” Ceballos said.
First place ultimately went to “Team Strike Squad,” comprised of sophomores Danny Teich, Mike Kramer, Chris Calciano, Ken Kuchnir and Usama Ismail. The funds raised by the event will be split evenly by the two groups.
Mr. Wash. U. is a yearlong competition that requires all participants to raise a minimum of $1,000 for City Faces and culminates in a pageant that will take place this year on March 31 in Edison Theater. City Faces is a program that brings mentorship and community to the students in the Peabody Housing Development in St. Louis. Last year, Mr. Wash. U. raised more than $25,000 for City Faces, according to Ceballos.
Relay For Life, which will occur at Wash. U. in April, takes place on college campuses across the United States and is the American Cancer Society’s biggest fundraiser. In addition to funding cancer research and assistance nationwide, Relay For Life directly affects the University community by funding research at Washington University, Relay For Life executive committee mission chair and sophomore Rebecca Denson said.
“A lot of money goes to cancer researchers at Wash. U., which is really cool,” Denson said.
Human bowling is a unique take on fundraising that stands out when compared to competing events that ask for money without being committed to student engagement. Denson says that this element of campus engagement is what makes human bowling her favorite fundraising event.
“It’s a really cool way to do something fun that gets the campus involved with Relay and Mr. Wash. U. outside of our actual events…I just think it’s so fun and hilarious to see people inside these big hamster balls. Everyone just acts so silly and acts like a kid, and it’s really fun,” Denson said.
Freshman Kivanc Komesli participated in the human bowling tournament to have fun and support Mr. Wash. U.
“I thought it was really fun. I came here with my friends and one of my friends is also competing in Mr. Wash. U., so I’m also supporting him,” Komesli said.
Sophomore Alexa Svoboda also participated for the novelty of the event and to help fund a charitable cause.
“I decided to do this event because I wanted to support Relay, and I’ve always wanted to be in one of these giant hamster balls,” Svodoba said.