Students Working to Entertain Etown (SWEET) is hosting its annual date auction Feb. 3 at 9 p.m. in the KÁV to benefit the Four Diamonds Fund. Planning for the benefit began Jan. 15 and since then, the SWEET staff, lead by first-year Jocelyn Grube, has been involved in a flurry of activity.
“We’ve been trying to find people who are well known throughout the school,” Grube said. “But the biggest challenge is keeping track of people.”
After students are found for the auction, the student must write a short biography to be read by the hosts of the show, seniors Tim Goldkamp and Samantha Wingrove. They then select a song to be played as bids are made.
The auction will eventually consist of 10 men and 10 women to be auctioned off in front of a crowd of 200 to 300 people. Currently, only five men and seven women have volunteered. Interested students may contact SWEET via email at SWEET@etown.edu to volunteer. Those being auctioned off are required to sign a contract stating that they will not back out of a date after the bids are over. SWEET does not regard this auction as matchmaking, but as a way for people to meet others while supporting a cause. This has been the goal of the date auction for over five years.
The very idea of a date auction to some is degrading and offensive. When asked about this, Grube responded, “They enter into the contract of their own free will, no one is being forced into anything.” Despite the controversy in years past, the auction has always raised a great deal of money for many causes.
Some of the current participants are senior Dan Silver, sophomore Liz Felcone, sophomore Brooke Morgan, senior Eric Reichert and sophomore Sam Ceron. Grube added, “Most of our participants are in relationships,” so bidders are not so much vying for a date in the traditional sense, with the hope of a relationship, but more of a one-time brunch. Regardless, the date auction is one of the more unique fundraisers on campus.
To be on the opposite side of things, and to bid for a date, there are a few things to consider. Bids start at $1, as the bidders are broke college students and have been known to go up to $100. Many people arrive in groups and put their money together in order to place higher bids, although only one person may go on the actual date. The date itself will consist of a brunch on Feb. 4 at 11 a.m. in the KÁV. There will be tables for two and tables for groups, as blind dates can be an awkward endeavor.
The Four Diamonds Fund was established in 1972 to benefit any child being treated for pediatric cancer at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. The fund helps with medical care, financial and emotional support for those suffering from pediatric cancer. When benefited by the fund, all the families’ medical costs not covered by insurance are paid in full. The fund’s goal is to help approximately 100 new families each year and to date, they have served over 2,000 families.
The name Four Diamonds Fund comes from a story written by Christopher Millard, the son of the founders of the organization, Charles and Irma Millard, shortly before he died from cancer at age 14. According to the Four Diamonds Fund website, the story was of “a knight [who] must find the four diamonds of Courage, Wisdom, Honesty and Strength in order to be released from captivity by an evil sorceress.” Christopher believed these were the virtues he needed to overcome cancer.
The Four Diamonds Fund is the sole recipient of the money raised by the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON). THON is the biggest student philanthropic organization in the United States, having raised $7.8 million in 2010 and $78 million total since 1977. Elizabethtown College is doing its part to support this amazing group. To get involved with THON, contact Charlotte Kohl at COMMUNICATIONS@thon.org.
The cause has been chosen, the date set and the participants are gathering so come out to support a noble cause. If you’re single, bored or just looking to meet some new people, come out and place your bid on some of Etown’s finest students. If you want to help a worthy cause without having to walk a 5k or run a marathon, step up and place a bid. Or just come out and have a fun time with your friends while supporting a worthy cause and an Etown tradition.