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Carson-Newman Hunger Games: Pop culture for a cause

Carson-Newman student Mackenzie Olson of Knoxville (foreground) stands with other participants as they await the start of Carson-Newman’s Hunger Games in 2014.

CLICK HERE to watch streaming video on the days of the event, or to help in the fundraising effort by supporting your favorite tribute.

(Nov. 10, 2015)— Carson-Newman University will host the fifth installment of its Hunger Games fundraiser Nov. 13-15 at a secret location in Jefferson City. Past Games have raised a total of $36,000 for local charities, leaving just $13,600 to reach the goal of $50,000.

Incorporating elements from the best-selling book series by Suzanne Collins and movies, the weekend-long event will raise money for 12 East Tennessee charities. Participants will compete in a survival-of-the-fittest battle royale featuring paintball and nerf battles.

This year’s event is the largest yet and will bring a number of twists and shakeups for the 24 tributes. Carson-Newman Director of First Year and Conference Services Tommy Clapp says more than just the charities benefit from the Hunger Games.

“For some of them it’s a very different style of life experience, taking them into the woods, dropping them off and letting them do these challenges together,” says Clapp, who oversees the event. “It’s a self-development experience and it shows service can be fun.

Tributes raised $12,700 in the last Hunger Games event alone.

Charities benefiting from the event include: Appalachian Outreach, Mossy Creek Foundation for Downtown Restoration, Habitat for Humanity, The Rescue Ministries, SEEED, Renovatus, First United Methodist Church’s Haiti Ministry, Carson-Newman’s SPOTS Ministry Program, Boys and Girls Club, The Journey Program, YoungLife and HYPE.

Nearly 100 tributes have participated in Carson-Newman’s Hunger Games since it began in 2012. Besides competing in the games, students, faculty and staff also participate as mentors, volunteers, filmmakers and gamemakers.

Clapp says though the Games are intense, the gamemakers take every precaution to make sure they are safe. First aid stations and safety fires are available, and all tributes are armed with cell phones.

Every three hours tributes are called in for a safety check, and a nurse practitioner is on-site throughout the weekend.

Carson-Newman’s Hunger Games has generated interest from around the world through its live stream, drawing viewers from the United Kingdom to Australia.

Anyone can watch the games or donate to help their favorite tributes at cn.edu/hungergames.

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