Date auction at U collects thousands for tsunami relief

Approximately 400 students attended a date auction at Coffman Union.

by Stephanie Gregory

Though it was for charity, University students’ search for love turned fun and perhaps a little pricey Saturday night.

Approximately 400 students gathered in Coffman Union’s Great Hall with bidding signs, ready to win dates with 15 students – all for a price that will benefit tsunami relief efforts in Asia.

Daters wooed bidders and a raucous crowd on a runway at Where is the Love?, a charity date auction organized by the Business Association of Multicultural Students and Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity.

Beyond organizers’ expectations, the event raised $2,656 that will benefit the Direct International Disaster Relief Fund, an organization that gives approximately 99 percent of donations to tsunami victims.

Starting at $10, roaring audience members raised their signs and bids by $5, until some dates topped hundreds of dollars.

Volunteer dater and Business Association of Multicultural Students member Danelle Johnson said that she was nervous before the show.

“I thought it would be fun, and it’s for a good cause,” she said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t normally do this.”

Nervous or not, Johnson’s winning bid went for $210.

Michele Sahar, the business association’s president, came up with the idea, and Sigma Lambda Beta President Nathan Sahar helped her. Along with 26 other students, they met weekly to make the event happen.

“I am happy to see different student organizations come together and raise funds for such a worthy cause,” Sahar said.

Before he hit the catwalk, Sigma Lambda Beta member James Anunciacion was ready to strut his stuff.

“It doesn’t matter if I go for $10 or $100, I am glad it is going to the victims in Asia.” he said.

He went for more – $180.

Organizers said the student groups planned for an audience of 250 people, with a goal to raise $2,000.

“Everything exceeded our expectations,” Michele Sahar said.

Participants also displayed their talents, from playing guitar to saying “Who’s your daddy?” in three different languages.

Though he wasn’t sure if he’d bid on a date, sophomore John Zhang came to support his friends in the auction, he said.

“It’s very interesting, lots of fun and very well organized,” he said.

First-year student Gloria Nyauncho said she’d be willing to bid as high as $50 for a date.

“You can’t be auctioned off if there are no bidders willing to donate,” she said. “I wanted to help support the people, donate to something good and have a fun time.”

Attendees also ate ethnic food and viewed a slideshow of pictures portraying victims of the tsunami. The program also included a raffle for prizes such as gift cards and free burritos.