By Kristy Koehler, March 11 2020—
A group of kinesiology students from the University of Calgary raised more than $2,000 for motionball, the national nonprofit that benefits the Special Olympics, using TikTok.
U of C’s KIN Games team is no stranger to fundraising. With no financial support from the university or faculty, the students self-fund their annual trip to the KIN Games — the largest undergraduate kinesiology conference in Canada where students gather to compete in four main categories — team dance, team spirit, academics and athletics.
Madi Grande and Tola Adedipe, co-captains of the team, said that raising funds for a good cause was part of this year’s spirit challenge. Traditionally, the team does so by holding a sportathon, but encountered some difficulties with booking a gym. So, some of the younger members on their team encouraged them to give TikTok a try.
“We provided people with a list of dance challenges that they could get us to do, or to request their own,” said Grande. “We invited people to humiliate us for a good cause. We always tried to do it in public spaces — like the atrium in Kinesiology.”
“Sometimes we’d scream ‘Donate to motionball!’” laughed Adedipe as she recounted some of the more embarrassing dances the team was asked to do.
The public space helped ramp up interest in what they were doing, encouraging more views and more donations. Adedipe said the goal they started with was only $100, but the very first donation came in at $70. That’s when they knew the viral app was the key to success.
U of C has had a KIN Games team since 2001 and the event, say the co-captains, is an incredibly positive experience.
“It’s an opportunity to make national connections,” said Grande. “I know lots of people who travel from east to west and stay with people they’ve met at KIN Games. You meet positive people who love exercising and love to be active. The energy there is unmatchable.”
The co-captains also value the inclusivity KIN games brings — all gender identities and expressions are welcome to participate.
“If you have the time, the commitment and the ability to fundraise, welcome to the team!” said Adedipe. Raising money for motionball was a cause close to her heart, as she eventually wants to work with the Special Olympics.
Out of all the teams in the country attending KIN Games, U of C’s team raised the second-largest sum of fundraising dollars.
The team heads to KIN Games in Ontario next week. Their brush with viral TikTok fame should place them in good position to win the dance portion of the event.