On Monday, Nov. 17, Zips Programming Network hosted their annual Casino Night in the Student Union ballrooms.
All in for Hunger: Casino Night, took place during UA’s Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. ZPN worked with the Civic Engagement office to make this event both fun and educational.
There was a 30-player tournament of Texas Hold’em, blackjack tables, roulette wheels, cash cubes and slot machines. At the end of the night, students redeemed their remaining money for raffle tickets. Raffle prizes this year were larger than of any year before: an iPad Air, GoPro camera, Roku streaming box, $500 Southwest Airline gift card and more.
Two projectors played slideshows with fill-in-the-blank questions on topics related to homelessness and hunger. Slips of paper with the answers were dispersed throughout the ballroom.
The facts revealed uncomfortable truths. According to ZPN’s sources, there is only one bed for every 125 homeless youths—of which 20 percent belong to the LGBTQ community.
Students also brought in canned goods in exchange for extra raffle tickets. These goods will be given to the Akron Canton Regional Foodbank. In 2013, this foodbank gave 7,789,593 meals to individuals in Summit County.
“In the past we have had a really great turnout and students have really seemed to enjoy it. That’s why we continue to have this event every fall,” said Jenna Russell, traditional chair of ZPN’s executive board.
Ryan Wolf, official DJ for the Cleveland Browns and 107.9 FM, Cleveland’s most prominent hip-hop and R&B station, provided music for the event while Ohio Burger provided food.
Even with all the entertainment, the underlying issue was not forgotten. The importance of being aware of and assisting the hungry and homeless community was stressed throughout Casino Night.