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Group hosts gaming event for epilepsy

Kelly Roderick / Lantern photographer

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Fingers flew as gamers gathered to compete for the Super Smash Bros. championship title, all in the name of epilepsy awareness.

The tournament, sponsored by Dollars 4 Change, a student organization that supports Columbus-area nonprofits, drew close to 20 gaming enthusiasts to the RPAC Saturday to raise money for the Epilepsy Foundation of Central Ohio.

Kris Chandler, a second-year in political science and history and vice president of public relations for Dollars 4 Change, said he knew a video game tournament would encourage people to come out and support the cause.

“Everyone likes to play video games,” Chandler said. “Anyone can pick up a controller and be good at a video game.”

Nostalgia might have also been an incentive to play, Chandler said.

Super Smash Bros., the game of choice for the tournament, is a “classic,” Chandler said. “No one plays the (Nintendo 64) anymore.”

The tournament is just one of many events that Dollars 4 Change hosts throughout the year to raise money for different nonprofit organizations in Central Ohio.

While gamers were competing in one room, Dollars 4 Change also hosted a basketball tournament across the hall at the same time to raise money for prostate cancer.

Though video game participant Ryan Gallagher, a third-year in chemical engineering, admitted that playing in the basketball tournament might have been better for his health, he was curious to meet his competition.

“I just wanted to see if anyone was good,” Gallagher said, hardly able to take his eyes from the game. “And make a little money, too.”

Participants paid $5 to play in singles and doubles tournaments for cash prizes. The tournament raised $60 for the Epilepsy Foundation of Central Ohio.

Keith Kennedy, second-year in engineering and vice president of sponsorship for Dollars 4 Change, said the organization was founded a few years ago to bring OSU students together to support causes that are important to them.

“(The founders) just wanted to have OSU students be more helpful in their community and teach students how to be better leaders,” Kennedy said.

Earlier in the year, Dollars 4 Change organized a panel discussion through the First Year Experience program for freshmen who were interested in learning about becoming a student leader on a large campus like Ohio State.

The goal of Dollars 4 Change is to help students plan events to support causes that are important to them, Kennedy said.

“(Students) come to us and we help them by giving them the connections that they need,” Kennedy said. “We’re the ones who figure out how to put together the event.”

Last November, the organization hosted a dodgeball competition that raised around $500 for pancreatic cancer, a disease that Kennedy said is close to his heart. Kennedy’s grandpa and his friend’s dad died from pancreatic cancer.

Though she said she wouldn’t call herself a gamer, Elaina Gonsoroski, a first-year in exploration and member of Dollars 4 Change, participated in the singles tournament.

Gonsoroski, one of only a handful of female participants in the tournament, joined Dollars 4 Change to serve.

“I went to the involvement fair at the beginning of the year and I wanted to do community service and (Dollars 4 Change) sounded like a good one,” Gonsoroski said.

Gonsoroski’s grandma had epilepsy and she said the cause is close to her heart.

When choosing which nonprofit organizations to support, Dollars 4 Change turns to its members.

“If you join Dollars 4 Change, the first thing we ask you at every meeting is, ‘What causes do you fight for? What’s really close to your heart?'” Chandler said. “Whatever is close to your heart, that’s what we work for.”

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