By Renee Poulin, Staff Writer
On a recent Wednesday night, The Landing was buzzing with excitement, nearly full of people ready to bid on their friends or a potential romantic date. Landing staff had to gather more chairs for students who were still coming in as the event began. This much anticipated “date auction” was put on by a group of students in Professor Kellett’s Anthropology 215 class, “Social Problems and Social Change.”
Professor Kellett began the evening with a disclaimer: “The last thing I would want to do is to promote human trafficking,” she said in response to some concerns expressed about the nature of the event. “It’s just for good fun, in good faith.” Kellett explained that the date auction was to raise money for the Western Maine Homeless Outreach. “Everyone, I hope you have lots and lots of money tonight!,” said Kellett, and the bidding soon began.
With the introductions done, students from the class took alternating turns auctioning off the ten students who had signed up. The first few students to be auctioned off emitted a nervous vibe, as the crowd whispered and barely any bids came.
However, the crowd became noticeably more lively and excited when Ben Rodriguez, UMF junior, strutted around the stage to show off every good side he had while the announcer read Rodriguez’s long introduction. Rodriguez encouraged the crowd to bid higher, bringing an uproar of bids and laughter to the otherwise mostly silent room. Rodriguez sold for 17.50, the second highest bid of the night.
The highest bid was for a young lady, Jenna Sanders, her long curly hair and blushing personality brought the bidding to go from a measly dollar to fifteen in just one bid. The bidding slowly increased, then jumped straight to twenty dollars. Though the students drew the line there for Sanders, the 20 dollar bid significantly contributed to the $91.40 in total profit.
Genevieve Benoit, one of the ANT 215 students and announcers for the event, said via email that “We hope for the turnout to be at least 30 students that are ‘bidding’ but any amount is great!” and was shocked to see about fifty to sixty students in the crowd ready to bid.
Professor Kellett was impressed as well, “This was fabulous!” she said. Professor Kellett said that she wanted the main point of this project that she assigned to her class to “focus on the social change,” and that is just what her Anthropology 215 class is doing.
The class has three fundraising events, there was a Color Run 5K Marathon on Saturday November 7th to raise awareness about domestic violence, the Date Auction, and a “Sunday Funday” for local children. Each event is raising money for the homeless shelter and part of the color run’s profit will go to Campus Violence Prevention Coalition CVPC and Safe Voices.