Video Presentation HERE- https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KzEzMbP6LkfM86s0bmEpDXF-HXPNRAp5/view?usp=sharing
Introduction / Presentation of Problem
In 2018, a small group of fellow West Chester University of Pennsylvania students and I recognized an unresolved need in the Extra Life community. We were surrounded by thousands of students, many of whom were ready to devote a day to charity, and many of whom wanted to play games to heal kids. But prior to our first WCU Golden Gamers Extra Life event, these students had no way to execute their charitable visions.
We developed our university team, the WCU Golden Gamers, and the student body overwhelmed us with their support -- in our inaugural year, we had a team of 30 dedicated students, and raised $5,772. This support only grew in 2019 when we developed an official university organization for the Golden Gamers. With a team of over 50 students, we raised $9,954.
Now, in 2020, we have three separate teams under the WCU Golden Gamers banner -- the university team, an alumni team, and a local high school team. Our projected fundraising rests at over $15,000, with a group of over 80 Extra Lifers.
We believe that with the right framework in place, our experiment -- the WCU Golden Gamers -- can achieve the same growth and success in a multitude of other college and university campuses across the nation. By mobilizing student bodies, Extra Life has the capability to create a consistent, constantly growing network of Extra Lifers, with built-in retention in the form of campus and alumni fields. With Extra Life University, we can give students the power and tools to develop their own expansive fundraising networks while capitalizing upon the passion for gaming and charity that exists in their communities.
The Solution: Extra Life University
With some administrative development on the side of Extra Life itself, the WCU Golden Gamers model of student team development could be used across universities and colleges nationwide. We developed the idea of Extra Life University on three key aspects.
Enhanced Team Management
- Similar to the model of Super Teams, allowing universities and colleges to develop multiple teams under the branch of their institution could greatly increase involvement, and develop a sense of competition within the institution while still working towards a common goal.
- By appealing to all varieties of students and gamers, Extra Life University can capitalize upon and foster relationships between pre-existing campus organizations. Does the Chess Club want to make a team alongside the Theatre Club, or the Intramural Soccer Team? Now they can.
- Likewise, this enhanced team management allows alumni networks to stay involved with their student networks, developing teams under the general institutional banner.
A How-To Guide for Students
- A good example of how this project could be implemented lies in Penn State's THON and its Mini-THON satellites. THON offers a "guidebook" on how to create a team of one's own in another school, providing generalized tools on how to set up one's inaugural team.
- From our experience with West Chester University, we could help create this guidebook, giving students from other campuses a clear and definite path to a successfully fundraised Extra Life team.
- Schools love to be competitive with one another, and therefore, the ability to see which school is on "top" could provide an exciting incentive to fundraise even more. Taking advantage of old school rivalries, but to help push forward a common cause, is a fun route to raise consistent funds.
Extra Life University provides an easy-to-implement, clearly definable strategy with a huge ceiling for growth in the overall Extra Life community. By utilizing previously existing frameworks, such as Super Teams, and tweaking them to incorporate a student-oriented focus, Extra Life's fundraising could increase exponentially.
Take our team as a case study. If a small group of students could independently develop a consistently growing Extra Life network on their campus, tripling the amount of student/alumni involvement and fundraising in the span of two years, it is more than possible at dozens -- if not hundreds -- of other college campuses. If given the right push, like a customized framework, guidebook, and support, Extra Life has the potential to create a functional, practical route to more charitable funds and a stronger built community.