Photos courtesy of Ashley Martindale.
Last Saturday, Nov. 2, the WCU Golden Gamers hosted their first community outreach event, an Extra Life event with a group of local high schoolers at Level 13 in West Chester.
Extra Life is a 24-hour charity gaming marathon that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; players promise to game for a full 24 hours in order to raise money for a children’s hospital of choice. This is an event that the WCU Golden Gamers, a charity organization that combines gaming with charity, is familiar with. Their most successful event to date is their Extra Life event in the spring for WCU students; last April, they raised almost $10,000 and had a team of 53 players.
This past Saturday’s event was a continuation of their spring fundraiser, as the team consented to categorize themselves as a subset of the WCU Golden Gamers. The purpose of the event was not only to expand their outreach and work more with the community on a fundraiser, but also to help instill leadership and a love of service in youth. President of WCU Golden Gamers Ryan Hayman, one of the main supervisors and coordinators of the event, described how the team felt about the charity aspect of the event, saying that “they really connected to the cause they were fighting for.”
The Golden Gamers High School team consisted of ten players. All came from the Collegium Charter School in Exton, PA. The WCU Golden Gamers’ executive board members acted as mentors to the students, working with a representative of the team in all aspects of planning, organizing and fundraising. Student Advisor and former President Celine Butler, who served as a daytime supervisor, said of the collaboration, “One of my favorite parts of Extra Life is redefining what charity looks like. I loved watching these high schoolers, who are already passionate about video games, realize that you can use your unique interests to do good in your community and beyond.”
Level 13, a gaming center in West Chester, and their staff were an integral part of the event; they offered their space to the club and their team free of charge. On working with Level 13, Hayman explained, “Level 13’s staff on game day were fantastic in helping us out; they helped kids with their setups on the equipment. Some staff members stayed the entire 24 hours with us, which was a big help. Any questions or issues we had they were happy to assist with.”
In the end, regardless of the attack, the team raised $1450, surpassing their first three goals.
The event faced some struggles with Extra Life’s website, which is the destination of all donations and is vital to every Extra Life. Unfortunately, the website faced a DDoS attack, which stands for distributed denial of service. When cyber-attackers use this method of attack, they disrupt a website service, causing issues with the website’s functionality. There were no security breaches, but the attack caused donors to be unable to donate for many hours. Additionally, some donations were duplicated, causing donors to be charged twice for donations they gave, though Extra Life refunded all donors who faced this issue. Though the Golden Gamers High School team faced no direct attack, Hayman explained the impact the attack had on the club’s event: “We had parents asking about donating, and they were unable to for several hours due to the blackout.”
In the end, regardless of the attack, the team raised $1450, surpassing their first three goals. The WCU Golden Gamers looks forward to future events, such as their Extra Life in the spring, planned for April 11 to 12, 2020.
Ashley Martindale is a fourth-year student majoring in psychology with a minor in Spanish. AM872892@wcupa.edu