Another Jingle Brawl has come and gone and brother, did you all ever make it a good one.
So let’s start off with the big news. Through in-person and online donations, we have raised as of 11:30 this morning $695.44 to help buy gifts and toys for the kids at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital through the Child Life program, breaking last year’s total. We’re still taking donations through December 31st – maybe you wouldn’t mind helping us get even closer to breaking our all-time record? And while we don’t formally count these things, we had maybe our best in-person turnout ever for Jingle Brawl this year, bringing in around 50 tournament players and what felt like hundreds of folks just coming in to play games and help the kids. Whether it was making Christmas ornaments, playing tabletop games or jamming on the custom Jingle Brawl arcade cabinet everything was busy pretty much all day, and I know I personally didn’t get much of a chance to sit down. We even had Fox 11 come by, and naturally their header photo was me in the long-promised Chewbacca suit though thankfully my face is obscured.
It’s an insane amount of work, preparation, and planning putting these events on every year and I want to thank my students in the Information Science 341 course for not only working hard on planning and putting the event together but also in many cases giving up their Saturday to help. These young men and women are an outstanding group and their resourcefulness, creativity, and energy make up the engine that makes Jingle Brawl run. I also want to thank our alumni who came back to hang out and help out at the event – Jingle Brawl is meant in part to be a celebration of our students’ accomplishments both past and present and it’s wonderful to see them come back to an event they once worked on themselves. And I would be remiss if I didn’t thank our sponsors – Gnome Games always goes above and beyond and this year was no exception as Pat and the team brought in cartloads of tabletop games, free Magic decks, and even our pal Pikachu (who was a massive hit, if you haven’t checked out the photo gallery yet) on top of their donation. I also want to thank our new event sponsors Powers Comics for stepping up and supporting the Injustice 2 tournament, returning pals Press Start Games and Game Trade for sponsoring Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8 respectively, and of course the Green Bay Packers Give Back foundation for once again supporting our Madden tournament. I’d also like to thank our friends at Family Video for their returning support as well as Nicole Cornell for making some exclusive hand-made prizes for the giveaway. I also want to thank folks working behind the scenes, like our campus IT department that sorted out some network issues to help make Madden run smoothly, our office manager Helene Rosner who put up with my constant printing requests, UWGB Athletics, our University Union staff who were quick and courteous about setting up equipment and of course the staff at the UWGB Phoenix Club, who always roll out the red carpet for us. And a special thanks to my wife Pang, without whom this wouldn’t have happened at all.
When I was talking to Fox 11 about the event, the question of why we put Jingle Brawl on came up. I had to think for a second. But I settled on what I think is the driving force behind this initiative – it’s our attempt to put some good into a world where good is in short supply. If we can make the holidays a little better for kids in the hospital, it might not change the world but it might make a world of difference to those kids. I hope that regardless of your personal faith, beliefs, or lack thereof, you carry forth a similar spirit this time of the year. Find something small to do – whether it’s donating to a cause, volunteering at a local nonprofit, or just picking up trash as you walk down the hallway. If we all start trying to be agents of good, to challenge the forces of greed, hate and selfishness with a determined resolve to try to make the world even a little more fair and supportive and kind…we can do great things.
Thank you all, and stay tuned. We’re not done yet.
- Bryan J. Carr, Ph.D. – December 6, 2017