Story by Gisselle Hernandez, Assistant Features Editor
Murray State’s Kappa Delta, or KD, sorority hosted a laser tag tournament for their Shamrock philanthropy event at the William “Bill” Cherry Exposition Center in Murray on Friday and Saturday.
KD hosts Shamrock events every semester to raise money for Prevent Child Abuse America, or PCAA, an organization that was founded by the late KD sister Donna Stone. KD sisters nationwide have raised more than $15 million toward the charity that hosts programs which help families and children to thrive, according to the PCAA website.
Although it was the first Laser Tag tournament they have done, this was KD’s third Shamrock event for PCAA philanthropy, with previous fundraising being a basketball tournament last spring and a paintball tournament the year before.
Natalie Hoesli, senior from Owensboro, Kentucky, was the program coordinator for the laser tag event. Hoesli said the purpose of the event was to raise awareness since people assume child abuse is not occurring when it actually is.
Knowing someone who was affected by child abuse was the personal connection that made her want to lead the event committee.
“I can personally say that I put something together and know that it’s going to help someone who has been in the actual situation,” Hoesli said.
This philanthropy is the sorority’s primary charity and 80 percent of funds raised are donated to the PCCA in Louisville, Kentucky. The other 20 percent is sent to the national KD headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee.
The committee’s goal was to raise more money than they did for the paintball tournament the previous year. This past weekend, that goal was surpassed.
The event was open to Greek students, who had their own tournament, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. For non-Greek students and community members, the event was open from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., on Friday and Saturday.
The majority of attendees were mostly Murray State students, but the event also catered to a birthday party and a few church youth groups.
For one person, $5 allowed them one game, which lasted 10 minutes. The tournament for the sororities and fraternities, which resulted in winners Alpha Delta Pi and Sigma Chi, was $60 for one team, $30 for a second team and $20 for an additional team.
While the event was hosted concerning a serious issue, the game itself proved to be exhilarating for many people who attended. Hay bales and dark tarp-covered walls that were scattered around the arena posed as obstacles and hiding places for players.
Players were handed laser guns that recorded how many shots they received and how many they shot at your opponents. The William “Bill” Cherry Exposition Center arena was dark enough to make opponents more difficult to see, but some ultra violet lighting illuminated corners of the arena.
Ruby Vasquez, senior from Orange Walk, Belize, said it felt like she was in a video game.
“My favorite part was sneaking up on my friends like I was hunting prey,” Vasquez said. “If they have it next year, I will definitely participate again.”
As the first laser tag tournament KD has done, there were some improvements that KD sisters agreed could be made for next year.
Jacquelyn Patterson, sophomore from Louisville, Kentucky, was one of the sisters in Hoesli’s committee. Patterson said that picking a better date and working on getting more sponsors would have probably made the event better.
“There were a few hiccups along the way,” Patterson said. “But, in the end, we were able to raise a lot of money for a great cause.”
All of the KDs nationwide raise money for their primary philanthropy, among other philanthropies, and hope to continue making a difference in children’s lives, Patterson said.
“It’s really important for us to have the support of our community and to raise as much money as we can for PCAA,” Patterson said.