'You Launch Like A Granny' catapults water balloons for a cause

Proceeds went to Granny's House, a place for children in public housing after school.

Vibrantly colored water balloons soared across Carnahan Quadrangle on Wednesday, hurtling from giant slingshots toward far-away targets. 

The “You Launch Like A Granny” event was a fundraiser for Granny's House, which provides a nurturing place for children in public housing to spend time after school.  

Event Organizer Chris Binkley was a volunteer with Granny's House previously.  

“I'm a college student, so I'm always on campus,” Binkley said. “I was shocked when I volunteered to see that less than a mile away from our campus there are kids who are in the exact opposite kind of situation. They don't even have the assurance of necessary things, like food.”  

When Binkley became too busy to donate his time, he decided to create the event. 

“I was walking by Tiger Plaza one day and saw people illegally throwing water balloons,” he said. “I thought, 'why don't we try to do that same thing, but do it in a way that's a little more safe?'” 

Safety was definitely a concern, as the balloons could cause bruises. Part of Binkley's job as an event organizer was considering the legal aspect and preparing waivers for participants. 

As a mass communications major, Binkley garnered interest in the fundraiser by creating posters and a flashy video, which he described as a labor of love.  

“The logo and the video were really important to this event,” Binkley said. “The video carried the weight of the professionalism and the fun.” 

Binkley said the event grew as he organized it. 

“When I originally cast the idea for how big it was going to be, I didn't factor in how much excitement would be shown,” he said. “We doubled our expectations, made more launchers, and brought on 80 volunteers just to staff the event. I think it's going to be a historic day.” 

Although he is graduating after this semester, Binkley believes “You Launch Like a Granny” might become an annual event.  

“Being a senior, I'm leaving,” Binkley said, “But so far everybody I've talked to wants to carry the torch. Everybody's just assuming this is the first of a long series.” 

Event volunteer Gabe Diya said his favorite part was watching people have fun. 

“Grown men act like little kids again, throwing water balloons,” Diya said. “It's not every day you can do that.” 

Children from Granny's House attended the event as well.  

“They loved it,” Granny's House Director Pam Ingram said. “I think the good thing about taking them to events like that is they can see they are a part of something really positive. It places their lives in a positive context.” 

The event raised about $1,500, which will go towards purchasing athletic equipment for the children.  

“It was incredible,” Ingram said. “I knew about it, but it was much grander than I had ever imagined. There was so much support.” 

Binkley said it is great to see what people can do when they recognize their help is needed.   

“It's just incredible to see the kind of movement you can make towards helping out other people when you understand that you have means yourself, and when you're in a position, you can help,” Binkley said.

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