Apr 022009
Authors: Bryan Shiele

Balls will fly and bodies will take a beating in the name of charity Saturday, as the Dodge for Darfur dodgeball tournament heats up to raise money for the war-torn region of Darfur in Africa.

The tournament, sponsored by the Key Plus Leadership Community, will accept the first 32 teams of between 6 to 10 players that pay the $20 registration fee. All of the proceeds collected will go directly to UNICEF in support of Darfur.

The event was organized and created entirely by the 24 students in Key Plus, the sophomore continuation program for students who participated in either the Key Academic or Key Service Communities their freshman year.

“We came up with it as a community goal at the beginning of the year,” said Hillary Parson, a sophomore Human Development and Family Studies major who played a key role in organizing Dodge for Darfur. “We wanted to do something on a large scale.”

Key Plus students are required to do a service project every semester, and coordinator Lory Ann Varela said this is the first time students have combined a service project with a fundraiser.

“Darfur is often overlooked,” she added.

Since early 2003, Sudanese government militias, known as the Janjaweed, have been fighting rebel groups in the western region of Sudan known as Darfur. The Janjaweed have systematically murdered African farmers and other civilians in the region since the conflict began.

At least 200,000 civilians have died in what many are terming genocide as a direct result of the violence, disease, and starvation caused by the war. Thousands of women have been raped and an estimated 2.5 million people have been displaced since the genocide began.

Sophomore psychology major and Key Plus member Sam Desta says they picked “Dodge for Darfur” because everyone likes dodgeball, the Darfur crisis is a good cause to support and even college students can afford to participate.

“It’s an easy two dollars per person,” Desta said.

Key Plus graduate mentor Greg King says the students want to create a tradition that will outlast their time at CSU.

“The goal is to make it big enough to where this event is raising money in the thousands of dollars,” added King.

He said there are still spots available to participate in the tournament and teams can register at the event if the 32 team limit is not reached.

If the tournament is capped out, King said, Key Plus will still accept any additional donations which will also go directly to UNICEF.

The tournament will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the South College Gym.

Staff writer Bryan Schiele can be reached at news@collegian.com

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