Arthur Hall residents make cents

For the second consecutive year, a Johnson State College residence hall is participating in a penny war to raise money for charity.

Residents of Arthur Hall are competing between floors not only for the opportunity to win a pizza or ice cream party, but also to be able to choose one of five causes for the money raised to go toward.

The penny war consists of three jars representing each floor–with a combination of the first and second floors–where students drop off pennies into their own floor’s jar for positive points and silver coins and dollar bills into other jars for negative points. The floor with the highest positive total right before April break will win.

Graduate student Allie O’Hara, the Arthur hall advisor, brought penny wars into the building last year after looking for a way to engage her residents in the community outside of JSC.

“It helps students feel happier when they’re helping others,” said O’Hara. “The RAs [Resident Assistants] and the community wanted to help the greater community, so we started this.”

Last year Arthur Hall raised just under $200, which because of the Winter Olympics, was donated to the Special Olympics.

This year, O’Hara selected a wide variety of local causes for the winners to choose from. The North Country Animal League, the Vt. Foodbank, the Clarina Howard Nichols Center, the Special Olympics, Outright Vermont and the JSC student emergency fund are all of the possible recipients.

“I wanted to choose as local as possible,” said O’Hara, “because I think it’s important to give back to the community, and I also think that students get more inspired when it’s something local and then they can see the benefits of it.”

This year, the event and its past success has attracted the support of the dean of student’s office. “Michele [Whitmore] said that Residence Life would match what we raise for whichever charity,” said O’Hara.

For students excited about the money going toward something that they feel passionately about, the penny war provides a friendly degree of competition among the floors. O’Hara says that she enjoys engaging the community in something that excites students because of their history or connection with certain charities, while still directly helping financially.

“It united the floor,” said Ellen Johnson, a participant from last year., “and created a fun competition that had people who didn’t even go to Johnson participating. It’s an interesting way to use competition for the better.”