Students bid for top pick

Freshman Melanie Bernstein thought her housing selection number guaranteed her the worst housing on campus. That is why she and three friends entered the 35th Annual Martha’s Marathon auction in J Street Saturday.

“Our housing numbers won’t allow us to live together so our only option is the auction,” Bernstein said.

The four women bought 28 raffle tickets for the raffle of the top lottery pick pooled together $4,000 to bid for one of the nine housing selection numbers auctioned.

The women nabbed the ninth-best lottery number for $3,100, giving them their choice of almost any room on campus. They said they will live in New Hall.

Freshman Dan Cwirka did not attend the event but won the raffle for the top housing pick. An angry audience demanded the Residence Hall Association pick another raffle ticket, but to no avail. According to D.C. law, once a raffle ticket is drawn the owner of the ticket gets the prize whether he is present or not.

Cwirka said he only entered the raffle “to get people to stop asking me to buy tickets.”

Cwirka bought four raffle tickets from the RHA at the Marvin Center last week – costing him a total of $4 for pick of any room on campus.

Cwirka said he had not expected to win the raffle because he only bought four tickets. He said he learned the news when the RHA called as he stopped into his room for a moment.

“I didn’t speak for a few seconds,” he said. “I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a joke so I verified I actually did win.”

As the auction wore on, intense bidding caused housing spots to become more expensive. The ninth housing spot went for $3,100 while the second spot went for $2,300, only $300 over the $2,000 minimum bid.

The auction raised $24,000 for housing scholarships.

Students also bid for the chance to throw a pie at Student Association President David Burt. Junior Ben Posner took that auction for $55.

Junior Jeff Lerner won a raffle for the Presidential Package, giving him a racquetball game and breakfast with GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg at the Four Seasons hotel.

“It gives me an opportunity to give him my thoughts about GW,” Lerner said.

Students received leis to complement the event’s theme, “Martha Goes to Maui.”

Martha’s Marathon started as a small auction 35 years ago. Items up for bid in the first auction included lunch with the speaker of the House of Representatives, extended curfew hours for a freshman and a football autographed by the GW football team.

In 1969, the University began donating the money from Martha’s Marathon to housing scholarships. Since its inception, the event has raised $360,000 for scholarships, according event material.

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