Rafiki Wa Afrika’s first Date Action raised auction prices skyward while overall funds were well beyond expectations.
All proceeds are going toward the Ghana Student Education Fund, an organization that looks to better the education of students in Ghana and allows brilliant and deserving children a chance at achieving their dreams.
Students gathered in the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center Atrium on Friday at lunchtime to watch their fellow classmates be auctioned off, and to have a chance to bid on someone. There were 17 students auctioned off; eight women and nine men.
The opening bid was $10, and the auctioned-off date would accompany the highest bidder to a fixed dinner at Bun’s Restaurant later that evening. There was plenty incentive to make a bid: all of the students being auctioned off were dressed to impress, lobster was on the menu and all the proceeds were going to a good cause.
Sophomore Sophie Kiendl attended the auction and had hopes of bidding on her fellow classmate and friend Dylan Porter. But when someone bid $70 on him Kiendl couldn’t offer any more money, explaining that Porter is a great guy, but he wasn’t worth that high a price.
Other students thought differentl
about shelling about large amounts of cash, especially sophomore Elizabeth Smith, who bid $300 on sophomore Danyal Omar.
Junior Jacqueline Osei-Bonsu, who led and ran the date auction, said that Smith was excited to donate the $300 because she cares so much about the Ghana Student Education Fund, and wanted to take Danyal out for a nice meal.
This was the first time Rafiki Wa Afrika has ever held the auction, so Osei-Bonsu anticipated running into a few organizational problems.
“It was really hard getting people together and trying to finalize things when we couldn’t reach people, but in the end it all came together,” she said.
Osei-Bonsu said that the main problems included finding a place for the students to have their date and rounding up the auctioneers. She said she was nervous that students wouldn’t bid, but was thrilled everyone was auctioned off, and the lowest bid was $20.
The total for all 17 students was $1075, with an average bid just above $60. This number was way above Rafiki Wa Afrika’s expectations.
The entire Rafiki Wa Afrika club was very excited about being able to donate $1075 to the Ghana Student Education Fund.
Sophomore Porter was asked if he would auction himself off for the cause, and he said he couldn’t say no.
“I’m always one for helping, and if my mere smile can help raise some money I’m totally in” said Porter. “I am a bit disappointed I wasn’t the highest bid, but hey I was nervous on stage and didn’t do questionable things like fellow auctioneer Pierre Freed did, like take my shirt off in efforts to raise more money. The dinner at Bun’s was quite the treat, and I got to meet new people. Overall I am happy I was able to contribute, and hope I can next year as well”.
Freshman Maria Urbina also auctioned herself off. She said she was originally nervous to go up on stage, but when two of her friends got into a bidding war, she said she was flattered.
Junior Chris Ostrowski ended up winning Urbina, but he was unable to take her on the date to Bun’s because he had a lacrosse game that night. Freshman Jane Suttmeier, a friend of Urbina, filled in for Ostrowski.
Suttmeier said although the atmosphere at Bun’s was a bit awkward between the other dates, she had a great time and was happy to see so many classmates participating in a great cause.
Because of the auction’s success, Osei-Bonsu and Rafiki Wa Afrika have plans of holding another next year.
“I feel the event went extremely well and I heard feedback from other people which helped in drawing my conclusion that it all turned out almost perfect and we just had to work on a few more things to make it perfect for next year,” said Osei-Bonsu.