by Dakota Drobnicki

BEAUX ARTS BALLROOM–Beginning at noon on Mar. 25, The BSU Gaming & Entertainment Enthusiast Klub–or GEEK club–will host their third annual Gaming For Youth marathon in the Beaux Arts Ballroom.

It will be a 24-hour event where attendees can bring games of all types (video, board, card, etc.) and play with other gamers in the local community. All of the proceeds from this event will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Bemidji.

Attendees wishing to play will have to pay a minimum fee of $10 for entry, but they can donate more money if they would like. Donations at certain price points will also allow them to enter drawings for special prizes including gift cards, a PlayStation 4 and a hockey stick signed by the BSU hockey team. The minimum fee will enter people into the Bronze prize tier, but donations of $25 and $75 will enter them into the Silver and Gold tiers.

People don’t have to be enrolled at BSU to be able to join in the fun. There will be a Junior Marathon for attendees between the ages of 13 and 17, which will run until 10 p.m.

Other popular featured events will include a Magic The Gathering draft in association with Accidentally Cool Games, and tournaments for Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart, where winners will be able to enter the Gold-level prize drawing without having to donate at least $75.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community and helps use our skills as a club to connect with other members of student organizations, but also to give back to and connect with the outside community,” said Jonathan McNicholes, the incumbent president of GEEK. 

His sentiment is shared by former president Jeremy Hoffman from 2013 to 2016 who oversaw previous marathons and who wants to emphasize that this event is open to everyone.

“It’s not just a nerd event, we are doing fun things that have a purpose behind it,” said Hoffman. “Not only do you get to attend a 24-hour party, but something that gives back to the community, something I want other people my age to realize is important.” 

In the marathon’s past two years, GEEK worked with Sanford Hospital and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, respectively. The proceeds from the first marathon in 2015 helped Sanford Hospital to fund their new children’s wing, and also provided Nintendo DS systems and games for the children there. At the second marathon in 2016, GEEK managed to raise over $1,000 for Make-A-Wish.

McNicholes is hopeful for a high turnout at this year’s marathon. “Every year we’ve had bigger turnouts than the year before, and hopefully that will be the same for this year.”

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