The University of Rhode Island acapella group, Rhody Rhapsodies put the ‘fun’ in fundraising on Saturday, April 14 with a Mario Kart tournament fundraiser.
The tournament was played on the Nintendo Switch and began at 6 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. Admission cost $5 for most participants, but was free for the first three entrees that provided a Nintendo Switch Pro Wireless controller. The winner, Chris Grady, received a $75 Visa gift card.
In the tournament, groups of four players entered a race, and the racers that place first and second moved on to the next round. This continued throughout the rounds until one racer was left standing. Racing tracks were determined at random, and all karts and items were allowed.
“It’s a very different event. It’s not like your normal movie night or bake sale fundraiser,” Haley Andrews, secretary of Rhody Rhapsodies, said. “I think it’s kind of a new idea bringing the community together.”
This is the first time the acapella group held a video game tournament fundraiser. The idea of using Mario Kart to raise money came to the Rhody Rhapsodies at the suggestion of member, Magnus King.
“It was a spur of the moment thing,” King said. “I was playing Mario Kart and the idea for a fundraiser came to me then.”
Andrews also mentioned how Mario Kart had brought the acapella group together in the past.
“Sometimes after rehearsal, a lot of us will get together and play Mario Kart together,” Andrews said. “One of us [King] suggested that we could do a Mario Kart fundraiser. We went through student senate and got it approved. We thought a lot of people would enjoy it and have fun together.”
According to Andrews, the money from this fundraiser will go to the acapella group’s general fund. Andrews also said that Rhody Rhapsodies wants to use this money to help spread their music throughout the URI community.
“We’re here to sing and make music and we want to spread that to our community by performing at URI and elsewhere,” Andrews said. “This year and next year, we’re looking to spread what we love through the community and have them love it just as much as we do.”
Around 20 people came to the event as participators and spectators. Although many of these were members of Rhody Rhapsodies, not all were. Austin Ashworth, a student who is not affiliated Rhody Rhapsodies said that he and his friends participated because they enjoyed playing Mario Kart and were hanging out anyway.
Another participant, Alex Fahlman said that he participated because,“It was for fun. We were in interested in what a Mario Kart tournament looks like.”
Rhody Rhapsodies is also considering hosting similar events in the future.
“I think doing this sort of thing more frequently is definitely being considered,” the groups’ musical director Kristen Lemieux said. “It’s a nice way to get together and do something wholesome and fun while raising money. And help get people out of their shell, no pun intended.”