Students dodge balls for charity

On Jan. 14, 95 enthusiastic dodgeball players participated in the Bracelet of Hope fundraiser at University Stadium. The event was the culmination of months of hard work on the part of the event organizers Jay Dhan and Amy Bolton, who explained, “It’s been a long and rewarding process.”

Bolton, a Wilfrid Laurier University first year student living in the King’s Court residence, and Dhan, a don in the building, began planning the tournament in October. Dhan recalled, “Amy and I were discussing ways to give back to the community and we both agreed we should have a dodgeball tournament.”

Deciding what charity they should donate the proceeds to proved a difficult task. Dhan and Bolton gave much consideration to the choice, eventually settling on the “Bracelet of Hope” campaign.

Since 2005, the Canadian-based Bracelet of Hope campaign has been raising money and awareness to combat HIV/AIDS in Lesotho, Africa, through the sale of red and white bracelets. Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik, a physician from Guelph who specializes in HIV/AIDS, founded the campaign.

Her speech to the Residence Life staff in the fall proved incredibly powerful for Dhan, who explained, “Her passion for giving back to Africa really moved me and I wanted to educate my students.”

After selecting a charity, Bolton and Dhan began to appeal to staff and students to help support the fundraiser. Members of the Inter Residence Council, residence house councils and various members of student leadership groups were all eager to help and formed teams for the tournament. The two then approached Laurier’s dean of students, Leanne Holland-Brown, who issued a challenge to the VP: student affairs, David McMurray and Max Blouw, to help raise money for the event.

The type of community effort shown through the event parallels what first attracted Bolton to the university. “I wanted to come to Laurier because it’s a smaller community,” she recalled. “It’s easy to get involved and make a difference.”

The tournament culminated in a heated match for first place between the Willison Hall team and the Residence Athletic Council team. The RAC team was ultimately victorious. Based on their enthusiasm and sportsmanship, the King’s Court/Spruce Residence team was given the tournament’s Spirit Award. Most importantly, a total of $1,500 was raised, surpassing the goal of $1,000. With such a tremendous response, Dhan stated, “Hopefully we will be able to host the tournament next year, and in the next years to come.”