Friday’s Martha’s Marathon raised about $15,000 less this year for need-based housing scholarships than last year. Martha’s Marathon is the University’s annual auction of the top five housing picks.
Residence Hall President Matt Frisbee said there was a decrease in bids because of student uncertainty in housing availability.
Last year, housing officials pushed back selection dates a few times because of technical glitches and delays stemming from a court decision affecting housing rules. Students did not fill out their Intent-to-Return forms or receive their lottery numbers until after Martha’s Marathon last year.
The event raised $14,843 for need-based housing scholarships compared to $30,000 last year.
“We got people to buy raffle tickets (this year) by asking them what number they were assigned,” said Katie Musolino, RHA programming director.
The highest bid of the evening was $3,950 to choose fourth in the upcoming lottery.
Sophomore Gabrielle Pretto paid $3,950 bid for the No. 4 housing pick. She and her mother said they made up their minds to spend as much as necessary to secure one of the coveted numbers.
Pretto bid $7,600 for the same housing spot last year.
“Last year we paid a lot more ,and we were saying that this was a bargain,” Pretto said.
Pretto said she plans to live in a double in the Ivory Tower, a new residence hall located at 23rd and G streets. She also said she plans to bid again next year.
“It benefits the school, and it benefits my daughter,” said Christine Pretto, Gabrielle’s mother, who came to D.C. for the event. “It’s worth it.”
Christine Pretto also paid $370 for lunch with GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. The lunch, and other items, were auctioned off during the event, themed “Martha in Vegas.”
Other top bids included $3,900 for No. 5, $2,000 for No. 3 and $1,400 for No. 2. The top spot was drawn from a raffle.
Frisbee said students typically bid higher for lower numbers because they are the first numbers to be auctioned off. No. 4 has received the highest bid two years in a row.
Freshman Emily Carroll, sitting with her three future roommates, screamed when her name was picked from the box of 1,282 tickets.
“I’m not a person who wins anything,” Carroll said. Carroll, who lives in Somers Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus, said she plans to live in a New Hall quad next year. She and each of her roommates bought 25 raffle tickets, at $1 a piece.
RHA representatives said freshman Steve Funari bought more raffle tickets than anyone else – 125. Funari said he contemplated purchasing the remainder of the tickets during the last few minutes of the raffle sale, which would have amounted to about 300 tickets.
Housing selection will take place Feb. 29 for sophomores and juniors and March 7 for freshmen.