Article Originally Published by Natalie Ochoa on North Texas Daily
Article Originally Published by on North Texas Daily
UNT’s Extra Life League created a space open to gamers from current students, alumni and staff to raise funds for Cook Children’s Hospital as they played for six hours straight in Bruce Concert Hall on Friday from 12 to 6 p.m.
Extra Life is an international organization that unites thousands of gamers to play games in support of their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
“All of our proceeds will go to Cooks Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth and we’re just trying to raise awareness for children fighting these really hard diseases and cancers and this is a way for gamers to give back,” Eric Johnson, the assistant director for leadership development for housing and residence life said.
“Essentially, what we do is play games for periods of time, today we’re playing for about six hours,” Johnson said. “Normally, gaming is thought of as a solitude and you do this by yourself, but this is not that at all. We’re trying to get gamers together to unite behind one cause of supporting these hospitals.”
Started in 2008, the international organization Extra Life is dedicated to the memory of Tori Enmon who lost her fight against acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
At the Extra Life event, organizers played a video that was dedicated to Enmon’s story to highlight the importance that she had impacted within the gaming community and continues to do so.
UNT has been partnered up with the Extra Life community for several years, starting back in 2012. The first event hosted by UNT was not held under the ‘Extra Life’ banner as it was just a Super Mario Bros. Marathon dedicated for charity.
A few weeks after that event, a colleague told Johnson about the Extra Life community alongside the abundance of resources that the organization obtained and has been partnered with them ever since.
“We’re trying to grow the organization more aware on campus and go hand in hand, ironically, with Eaglethon,” Johnson said. “Eaglethon supports the exact same hospital that we do, through the exact same interface and all of that criteria.”
Members of the RHA staff were also in attendance to the gaming event to make sure everyone had a successful time and informed others more about the Extra Life community.
“I was aware of the event last year but thought since I wasn’t a gamer that I wouldn’t be able to go,” Education junior and RHA director Maygen Mireles said. “I found out that wasn’t the case and that anyone could go.”
The gaming event was held open to everyone, gamer and non-gamer alike, to come together and raise money for the hospital.
“Using people’s talents and expertise really brings everyone together,” Mireles said. “We do include a lot of people that are just as skilled at making a puzzle or playing a specific board game. Bringing people with a variety of talents and skills together and providing an outlet for them to help their local community is such a wonderful thing.”
In addition to the students, alumni and faculty that were in attendance to the Extra Life event, members of UNT’s esports teams were invited to set up a gaming station and to spend their time with friends and fellow players.
“Gaming is usually thought of as an online community so being able to actually come to a physical place to meet other people and socialize, all for a good cause, was really cool,” Vincent Nguyen, a graduate student for the UNT Esports program, said. “We can also use the online aspect of this for the charity event and stream to anyone with internet access and a computer to have them tune in and also contribute that way as well.”
Gamers expressed their gratitude regarding the event during the six hour marathon.
“With how big gaming is at UNT, I think this is a great way to spread awareness,” Christopher Hamilton, the assistant coach analyst for the UNT Esports Overwatch team said. “If there’s a lot of gamers, there would be a lot of potential donors for the cause through these non-traditional ways. Hopefully students that attend the event see the fun in gaming and ultimately, that this all benefits a good cause.”
Students can join up for the Extra Life team, free of charge, on its website and donations for the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital will also be physically accepted through events and or through links sent out by Extra Life players.
The goal for the UNT Extra Life league is $2,000 and donations will be accepted throughout the end of the calendar year.
Featured Image: Students participate in a video game marathon in Bruce Hall on Nov. 8, 2019. The event was hosted by UNT’s Residence Hall Association and Extra Life in order to raise funds for Cook Children’s Hospital. Image by Meredith Holser
Source: North Texas Daily