Last year’s student-led Hawkmania raised $5,600 dollars for Make-A-Wish Bay Area and helped grant a wish for a young child in Alameda County. This year, students hope to raise $10,000 dollars—the full amount needed to grant a child’s wish.
Organized by the student athletics committee, Hawkmania has won the Make-A-Wish Award from the NCAA Pacific West Conference for the past three years. Students were presented with their most recent award by NCAA Commissioner Bob Hogue on January 8.
The idea for the first Hawkmania originated in a 2015 hallway conversation between HNU student Josh Hammer and Justin Vacca, director of housing and residence life. The initial idea spawned late-night training sessions and adventures hunting down spandex costumes, culminating in a legendary match between Captain Hawk (Hammer) and the Evil Boss (Vacca). When all was said and done, the inaugural event had raised $1,200 and enough community support to continue to the present.
Over the years, HNU’s Hawkmania has steadily grown bigger and better, thanks to the support of staff, faculty, volunteers, and donors. This support has allowed for equipment upgrades, like a professional wrestling ring and training sessions donated by Gold Rush Pro Wrestling, enhanced costumes, dramatic plotlines that extend beyond the ring, and ever more creative matches—like the first-ever mascot rumble between the Dominican Penguin and the HNU Hawk.
Hammer explains that student participants are passionate about the event because they want to make a difference in a child’s life. “The event,” he says “is aligned with the SNJM core values and HNU-inspired mantra, ‘Enter to Learn; Leave to Serve.’”