Vassar Stories

Vassar UNICEF Dodgeball Tournament

Forty-five Vassar students kicked off the first day of final exam study period by throwing rubber balls at each other for a couple of hours at Walker Field House. Nine teams competed in Vassar UNICEF’s annual Dodgeball Tournament, and this year, the competition was particularly fierce. For the first time, three teams were crowned co-champions after each of them compiled 7-1 records in the qualifying round and then traded victories and losses with each other in the round-robin finals.

Chris Gallivan ’19 snatches the ball.

Nick Page ’16, a varsity lacrosse player who joined four members of the men’s tennis team on the “Old Balls” squad that shared in the championship, spouted an impressive series of sports clichés in explaining how and why his squad had been victorious. “We trained hard for this event, starting way back in the off-season, often getting up at 6 a.m., and we developed a lot of team chemistry,” Page deadpanned. “All of us were dedicated to doing whatever it took to become a dodgeball champion.”

The ultimate winners of the tournament are children in 192 countries who benefit from the services provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said Vassar UNICEF president Lucy Morse ’16. The dodgeball tourney is the group’s major fundraiser, but members also raise money through bake sales and “trick-or-treating” on Halowe’en. The Vassar group raises about $2,000 every year. “I did ‘Trick or Treat For UNICEF’ when I was a kid,” Morse says, “and when I came to Vassar, I joined the UNICEF chapter because I saw it as a way to raise money and awareness about the needs of children around the world that UNICEF addresses.”

The “Old Balls” squad, one of the three winning teams

Vassar’s chapter is one of more than 100 on college campuses across the country. UNICEF received more than $1 billion in private donations worldwide in 2014, according to its annual report. “UNICEF is a great example of how many small donors and small donations can add up and make a big difference,” Morse says.

Jacob Schwartz ’19 was a member of a team, aptly named “The Broad Side of a Barn,” that did not reach the final round of the tournament. But Schwartz said he and his teammates enjoyed the experience and the respite from studying for finals. “I played a few games of dodgeball in high school, but it’s been a while,” he says. “But we were all here for a good cause.”

--Larry Hertz

Photos by Karl Rabe

Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2016