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Wellness Services raised $1,400 for the Pay It Forward Fund with its Fortnite

charity stream Nov. 14 on Twitch. The fund was administered by the Office of Student Affairs, helping students who are struggling financially.

The stream was hosted by BK Taylor, assistant director of prevention, outreach and education--Wellness Services, and Paul Bennett, residential life complex director of Forest Village and Roberta Hall. Both stream in their free time so they spent several months planning the event.

“We decided it would be really good to give back to the students and get out in a different way and in a more unique environment,” Taylor said. “Wellness Services is always wanting to give back and we have this unique skill set with this unique equipment so we collaborated together and brought this all together.”

All the equipment used for the stream was personal equipment owned by Taylor and Bennett so there was no cost in equipment or software for the fundraiser. They introduced a new special guest each hour, starting off the night at 6 p.m. with University Police Chief Clarence Green.

Other guests included Vice President of Student Affairs Matt Baker, Assistant Director of Greek Life Megan Deshon-Runge, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Justin Mallett, and Director of Athletics Andy Peterson.

The original plan was for the stream to end at 11 p.m. but Peterson, Taylor and Bennett were enjoying the game so they played until midnight.

“Andy was really excited to do more and to get involved,” Taylor said. “He was also really excited to win. So we were excited to extend it out into the evening. It’s not uncommon for a stream, especially if it’s going well, to extend a little bit.”

Streaming an hour longer than planned means more people could tune in and donate to the fund. Taylor said they had anywhere from 30-47 viewers throughout the stream, even until the very end at midnight.

Between each round, Bennett announced the purpose of the stream just in case there were new viewers present who weren’t sure.

“Pay It Forward helps students that don’t have anywhere to go,” Bennett said. “Every dollar counts.”

Pay It Forward helps students both directly and indirectly. They can request funds and/or obtain meals from the food pantry. Taylor and Bennett chose to raise money for the fund because Sue Nickerson, one of the committee members for the fund, said that the account doesn’t receive much attention, and it can be a great help to students in need.

“As Wellness Services, we connect a lot of students to that account, it’s very useful,” Taylor said. “We want to make sure that it’s still there and that it’s providing to students. We really wanted to get a service that could have people give back to their community and we wanted to keep it local.”

The fundraiser opened at 8 a.m. Nov. 13 and closed at 11 p.m. Nov. 15. On the last night, $700 had been raised. Before it closed, Gerald Wilmes, executive and medical director of Wellness Services, said he would match the amount raised, bringing the total to $1,400.

Taylor and Bennett had two goals. The public goal was to raise $500 to call the event successful. The second one was more of a “stretch goal.” They said if they raised over $1,000 they would do a charity stream again next year, except with a live audience.

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