The Residence Hall Association raised more than $20,000 for need-based scholarships Friday at the annual Martha’s Marathon housing auction.
Students battling for three of the top five housing picks in the Marvin Center collectively raised $19,300, with the highest individual bid at $6,800. Last year’s highest bid was $7,100.
In its 42nd year, the event is one of GW’s longest-running traditions and this year had a James Bond theme.
Freshman Alexander Hankin, who bid $6,000 to win the No. 3 slot, said it felt great to win the auction. He said he plans to live in Ivory Tower.
In years past the event was a one-night auction, but RHA expanded it into an “entire week-long extravaganza,” RHA President Hayley Haldeman said. Festivities included last Monday’s cupcake decorating for George Washington’s birthday and a barbeque Wednesday. Other new additions included auctioning off dates with Student Association President and Executive Vice President candidates Marc Abanto, Nicole Capp, Brand Kroeger and Nick D’Addario.
The event was called “Martha’s 007: a License to Thrill,” and the RHA capitalized on the Bond theme throughout the night. It consisted of performances from the GW Troubadours, GW Jazz Band, Forbidden Planet Productions and GW Ballroom Dance, as well as both a silent and live auction.
RHA Programming Director John Carlos Estrada said before the event that the total number of raffle tickets sold was down from last year with 1,300 tickets sold for $1 prior to the event. Last year, more than 2,000 tickets were sold.
In past years, only one housing slot was raffled off, and the other top spots were auctioned. Friday’s event raffled off the top two housing picks and put the other top three picks up for auction.
GW Housing Programs Director Seth Weinshel said it was important to continue to offer the top five housing slots for the auction and raffle.
“GW Housing Programs has been giving the Residence Hall Association the top housing assignments for almost 40 years. We felt that it was important to continue with this tradition,” he said. Weinshel said the winners would be able to select their specific room from floor plans of the various residencies.
Freshmen Jackie Bianchini and Stephen Hayes, both Thurston residents, won the top two housing slots.
Haldeman said that the auction consisted of the most items it has in recent years. Fifty items were auctioned off during the silent auction, and 11 items were auctioned in the live auction, including each of the four SA runoff candidates.
Notable items included a luncheon with U.S. Senator and GW alumnus Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), a lunch for six at the Italian Center, a night at the Hotel Monaco and two front-row tickets to the battle of the a capella’s.
The SA runoff candidates raised $485 for the GW scholarship fund. The highest bidder received a date with the candidate, consisting of a dinner at any restaurant, with up to $50 covered by the RHA.
Kroeger, a sophomore and EVP runoff candidate, brought in $150. “Being objectified for the purposes of charity is always a good thing,” he said, “I will sell my body any time for a good cause.”
Totals from the silent auction will not be added until later, but Estrada is happy with the event’s success.
He said: “After working this hard for so many months, to see it pay off is amazing.”