GW Greek-letter organizations joined together to raise money for cancer research Thursday night at the First Annual Greek Week Date Auction.
Twenty fraternity and sorority members and Student Association President Carrie Potter – the only non-Greek-letter community member to participate – were auctioned at J Street. Proceeds went to St. Jude’s Hospital for Cancer Research.
“We had a huge turnout,” said Ben Kirshner, Interfraternity Council executive vice president. “A lot of money was raised.”
Greek-letter community members and other GW students turned out for the auction, raising more than $900 for the fight against cancer.
The audience watched a brief film provided by the hospital about cancer research and treatment for children afflicted with different types of cancer.
The dates, who were elected by their respective fraternities and sororities, were brought onto stage one by one. Some danced or removed articles of clothing in an attempt to raise the bidding.
“You can afford more than that for St. Jude’s,” said Jacob Pheffer, the auctioneer for the evening.
Bidders paid $15 to $115 for an evening with the date of their choice. Prizes included a day at the gym, a gift certificate for dinner and a night of dancing in Georgetown. The average amount paid for a date and a gift package was $50.
“It was a lot of fun, I had a good time doing it,” said Steven Keehn of Alpha Epsilon Pi, the last fraternity member to be bid on Thursday. “I was a little intimidated . but I think I did a good job.”
Keehn received the highest bid for the evening.
“It was a great way to raise a lot of money, and people had fun,” Kirshner said. “People knew it was for cancer research. That’s why people paid the money.”
“The evening was definitely successful,” said Alysha Cahn of Alpha Epsilon Phi, who also participated in the date auction. “I think that some people judge sorority and fraternity life a lot. Those people are hypocritical – at least we’re getting out there and doing something.”
Kirshner also said he encourages people who stereotype Greek-letter organizations to work to benefit the community as well.
“Try to do what we did,” he said. “Try to raise the money we did.”
One student audience member who is not a member of a Greek-letter organization described the auction as “a meat market.”
“This event reinforced Greek commitment to three things – school spirit, togetherness, and philanthropy,” said Dan Seigel, event coordinator. “It was not a meat market.”
“I have a lot of respect for the people who got up there,” said Kirshner. “They knew it was for a great cause.”
Following the auction, the first round of the Greek God and Goddess Tournament took place in J Street. Clad in traditional togas, representatives from fraternities and sororities took to the stage to answer questions in the quest for the title of “Greek god” or “Greek goddess.”
“It could not have been a greater success,” Seigel said. “The amount of enthusiasm was incredible.”
Kirshner and Seigel thanked the organizers of the event.
“I give a lot of credit and special thanks to Dan Seigel, Jacob Pheffer, and Janine Geraigery for making the event run so well,” Kirshner said.
“Jacob (Pheffer) was a key to the excitement of the evening,” Seigel said. “This event proves that the Greek system is as close as ever.”
Organizers said they were extremely pleased with the outcome of the auction.
“Without the dates, we would never have made as much money as we did and it was all for a great cause,” Kirshner said.
“I had such a great time, I’d be the first one to volunteer to do it again next year,” Seigel said.