Giving Back Through Gaming: The birth of ‘Karts for Coins’ 

There is a new club on the University of Connecticut Storrs campus that will allow students to donate money to charity while playing the popular game Mario Kart, according to founder and seventh-semester biology major Christina Budzinski.  

Budzinski, who grew up with a brother who ignited her love for video games and Mario Kart, said she wanted to create a gaming club on campus that not only allowed students to bond with one another, but to donate to charitable causes as well. Thus, “Kart for Coins” was born.  

“I noticed the other video game clubs on campus focused on the idea that students who share a passion for video games could join while also serving as an outlet for stress relief,” Budzinski said. “While I do like that idea, I wanted to do something more with the club in a way that would allow us to give back to our community.” 

Super Mario Kart was first introduced for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console in 1992. It has long gained popularity and is now available on several different consoles and game systems. Mario Kart Tour, the most recent app version of the game intended for iOS and Android, was released in Sept. 2019, according to IGN.

Although the club is still in its early planning stages, Budzinski said she plans on raising money for separate causes through monthly tournaments, where individuals can pay to enter and participate.  

“At the end of each month, we will be hosting tournaments that people can pay to enter- somewhere between $5 and $10, depending on the number of people that enter,” Budzinski said. “A large majority of the money raised will go to the charity-of-the-month, and a small percentage will go on a gift card for the winner to create some incentive for joining the tournament!” 

The idea behind each monthly tournament is to have students vote at each meeting on what charity the money raised will be donated to during that respective month, Budzinski said. Doing so will allow the club to cover all of its bases and give time to numerous different causes. 

“I think picking a charity during the first meeting of the month will allow us to raise more awareness about that charity and educate all our members on what that charity focuses on,” Budzinski said. “Each meeting will, of course, have time for people to play Mario-Kart!” 

Budzinski hopes to fundraise in the near future to raise money for extra controllers and wires to make it easier for members to play Mario Kart on a single television. For now, members will be able to bring their own Nintendo Switch, GameCube, Wii or any other console to join in on the fun.  

“I graduate in Dec. 2020, so I think my goal by the time I leave would be to raise enough money for the club to have its own materials so that in the future if people can’t bring in what they own, the club will still be able to function and prosper,” Budzinski said.  

The first meeting for “Karts for Coins” will likely occur next month. Students who are interested in joining can do so by requesting to join the “Karts for Coins UConn Club” Facebook group.  

Thumbnail photo courtesy of @nintendo instagram.


Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at taylor.harton@uconn.edu.