Melon Mania participants smash fruit for fundraiser

Lauren Miller, junior in kinesiology and health, smashes a melon during Melon Mania on Sept. 11 on Central Campus. The event was created in an effort to raise money for children in Uganda.

Kenzi Mongar

Smashed melons littered Central Campus on Sept. 11 after students drop-kicked melons in the name of charity.

Establish & Grow, a philanthropy organized by ISU students and staff, created Melon Mania to raise money for children in Uganda.

The event took place from 4 to 9 p.m. on Central Campus and provided an estimated 2,000 melons to be used for carnival games.

A single melon could be purchased for $2 or three melons for $5. Game-winners received tickets that could be used in raffles to win items such as university apparel, gift cards, coupons and board games.

As for the melons, they didn’t go to waste.

“All of these melons are grown at Iowa State by students and staff,” said Cole Staudt, sophomore in political science and the public relations director for Establish & Grow. “Since research is done to the melons, they can’t be eaten and most will go to waste anyway so we decided to have fun with them and raise some money before they go to compost.”

Activities included melon bowling, melon sculpture, melon pinball, strong-man toss with a melon, and a hammer versus melon station. There were also fresh melons to eat.  

“The main goal is to raise money for Establish & Grow,” said Victor Theng, junior in nutritional science and founder of Melon Mania. “The other goal is to raise awareness for the program and tell people how fortunate we are on this side of the world.”

All proceeds of the event go toward Establish & Grow, which then helps provide Ugandan children with food and education. The program also educates women on how to feed themselves and their children.

“For every $4.72 we raise, we feed a child in school for an entire year,” Staudt. said. “You buy three melons and you’ve fed that child healthy lunches for a year.”

Ugandan public school students typically get a meal of corn porridge that contains about 50 calories. The schools involved with Establish & Grow receive a lunch called Nyoyo that contains 850 calories and combines corn, beans, vegetables, iodized salt and oil. This replacement lunch gives kids the nutrition they need. 

“Close to 300 mothers and children suffer from malnutrition and 62 percent of the clients are children ranging from 6 months to 4 years old,” said Dorothy Masinde, ISU lecturer of horticulture and coordinator of education centers in Uganda.

Melon Mania strives to reduce food waste used in research and creates more compost for Iowa State to use aside from supporting Establish & Grow.

“At home in Uganda, a lot of kids go to school and won’t even know if they’ll have lunch on that day,” said Rosemary Bulyaba, graduate student at Iowa State and previous student at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

Anna Wilcox, junior in nutritional science, and Hannah Darr, senior in global resource systems, attended Melon Mania. Both spent time in Uganda with the service-learning program and shared their first-hand experience.

“It’s something you go to and you can’t not give back,” Wilcox said.