CSUB hosts event to give hospitals a 1-UP

Morgan Park, Reporter

Bakersfield was well-represented at CSUB during the annual Extra Life Gaming Day, a gaming marathon taking part in the Extra Life charity drive with the goal of raising funds for children’s hospitals around the world.

Extra Life is a charity that usually consists of independent live streamers raising funds from their audience, but CSUB’s Gaming Day is a bit different.

“Because we have a gaming club at CSUB and everybody in the club wanted to participate, we said ‘let’s just bring all of our gaming stuff together and anybody who raises at least $20 can join us to have a big gaming party.’ That started in 2012, and it’s turned into the monster it is today,” said Edward Webb, student organizations coordinator at CSUB, gesturing toward the crowds.

Tables filled with raffle prizes donated by gaming companies lined the hallways of the Student Union building.

In the past four years, Extra Life Gaming Day has raised over $65,000 with a growing number over each year.

“We give a ticket to people for every $10 they raise. So the more they raise, the more tickets they get. Inevitably, somebody will get here, they’ll see the prizes and say ‘man, I have to win this prize,’ and they’ll make an additional donation,” said Webb.

All of the raised funds go to the Lauren Small Children’s Center at Memorial Hospital, but donors have the option to donate to any children’s hospital they prefer.

The Campus Gamers club at CSUB spends half of the year raising money for the club itself, and the other half raising for the next Extra Life event.

The event takes up the entirety of the Student Union building with video game consoles and a large room with tables for board games, as well as 15 classrooms of the Dorothy Donohue hall: ranging from rooms themed around first-person shooters, dancing, racing, fighting, motion gaming and many others.

“It’s been growing faster than we can manage it, so we spend a lot of the day putting fires out,” said Webb with a laugh. Webb’s path to his position at the college was not a traditional one.

“I went to Fresno State back in the ’80s and never finished my degree. I was working for companies that did music and video distribution, I worked for a record label, that sort of thing. And in about 2001, I found myself working with game companies,” he said.

Webb became a merchandiser for Microsoft and ran a game store for several years. He was eventually recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional award for his efforts in working with online communities and students for the company. He has since won the award 10 times.

“I told them when I won the award that I’m not going take the award and run. I’m going to do something with this. And so in 2010 I came to CSUB to finish my degree.”

Upon starting at the college, Webb noticed that they didn’t currently have a gaming club, and decided to fix that. “I told them, ‘I want to start a gaming club, but I don’t want one where we just get together for an hour on Fridays and shoot each other. If that’s all we stand for, I’m not interested. But if you want to do educational events, community service, charity events, I’m down.’”

After graduating last year, CSUB brought Webb on full-time as their student organizations coordinator.

The Campus Gamers did educational and community events for the first three years, but Extra Life eventually took off enough to be a focus.

“What I see happening ultimately is merging the two,” Webb said.

“This is already not like the other Extra Life Events, and so I want it to be a cross between Extra Life and something like Bakersfield Comic-Con, where we can have people who make their own games here, we can have people from the industry do panels and not have it just be a 10-hour gaming marathon.”