Students play wallyball to promote Fair Trade

By Nick LaRosa
October 19, 2011

Students and faculty participated in the fifth annual Fair Trade wallyball tournament in the Dixon Center from Oct. 17 to Oct. 19. -- Jenay Smith / Photo Editor

For the fifth year in a row, students and faculty members gathered in the Dixon Center to help raise awareness for Fair Trade.

A Fair Trade wallyball tournament featuring 16 teams took place from Monday, Oct. 17 to Wednesday, Oct. 19, giving participants the chance to showcase their athletic skills while also promoting Fair Trade. Wallyball is similar to volleyball except for the fact that it is played on a squash court and players are able to bounce the ball off of the walls.

“It’s a great tournament,” Orlin Jespersen, assistant director of recreation, said. “We always get a really good response and a lot of interest. It seems like everyone is really competitive.”

Jespersen recalls Cabrini looking for a way to combine fair trade products and athletics. Because the squash courts at the Dixon Center provide players with a lot of space, wallyball seemed like the perfect option for an intramural sport.

“We realized that we could play an intramural type-league and we started looking at different fun, fast-paced things that we could play and volleyball came to mind,” Jespersen said. “Wallyball with the squash courts was easy to do because there wasn’t any type of issue with the space and it has worked out really well.”

The success of wallyball has made the October tournament a fixture at Cabrini. Even though some people are unfamiliar with the rules, the event is very laid back and welcomes students and faculty members to join together.

“It’s novel that not everyone knows how to play it because then people don’t come in expecting that others are going to be experts,” Jespersen said.

As competitive as the matches are, promoting the rights of human beings and Fair Trade is what the event is truly about.

“Right now we’re trying to become a Fair Trade campus,” Rasha Sharhan, CRS Fair Trade ambassador, said. “We’ve been having the wallyball tournament for five years and the whole idea of it is just promoting Fair Trade.”

Outside of the wallyball tournament, the campus has been setting up tables around campus encouraging students to buy Fair Trade clothing. Last week, the Marketplace made banana splits to promote Fair Trade awareness. October is Fair Trade awarenss month.

After reciting a Fair Trade pledge, students were officially granted the right to participate in the tournament. Each team played with four players on the court and the series ended once a team reached 21 points.

“It was an amazing experience and my teammates were amazing,” Jesse Oyola, freshman business major, said.

“It was really fun and it’s great that everything was for a good cause,” Avery Chapman, junior business major, said. “Everybody played hard today.” Oyola and Chapman were just two of the many students who participated in the tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

While the issue of Fair Trade was what the wallyball tournament wanted to get across to people, the teamwork of the 16 teams cannot go unnoticed.

“Some teams get competitive but the philosophy is fair play and good sportsmanship,” Jespersen said. “This is what intramurals are about because you have teams coming together to play and have fun.”

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Nick LaRosa

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