The Residence Hall Association auctioned off 10 residence hall rooms for a top bid of almost $5,000 and gave away the top housing pick Tuesday at the 44th annual Martha’s Marathon.
All the proceeds from the event directly benefit the University Scholarship Fund, which awards students with money for housing.
“It’s another opportunity for students to come together,” said RHA President Scott Crawford. “We wanted students to give back to the University while they’re still here and they get something back in return.”
Students spent thousands of dollars on the top housing picks. The top bids included $4,600 for an Ivory Tower quad, $3,400 for a West End quad, $2,800 for a New Hall quad, $2,000 for a JBKO double, another $2,000 for a Guthridge single and a mere $400 for a City Hall double.
The auction attracted students anxious to avoid the stress of the housing process and waiting until March to know where they might live next year.
Freshman Patrick Cox said that while it makes it easier to get a nice room, bidding thousands of dollars for a residence hall room may come with a stigma.
“I guess it’s good that they fund scholarships, but it can look like it’s people throwing money out the window,” Cox said.
Other students were in it for the kitchen.
“I really wanted to be able to cook,” said freshman Amanda Zakeri.
“She’s an aspiring chef,” added fellow freshman and future roommate Stephanie Funk. Funk and Zakeri both live in Somers Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus as part of the Women’s Leadership Program.
Zakeri said her father is fronting the cost of her successful bid for now, but she will work over the summer at a hospital to pay him back.
Raffle tickets for the top housing pick were sold hours before the auction for $2 each by RHA members and volunteers in a crowded Columbian Square.
RHA programmer and Martha’s Marathon organizer Jessica Yager randomly selected the winner of the raffle, freshman Lauren Sherman.
To entice as many students as possible, the RHA also hosted a game of blackout bingo and announced the winners of the Best Room on Campus contest before the raffle winner was announced. Other items were auctioned to raise funds as well, including a Taste of D.C. package, a golf basket donated by Robin Lair – a Residential Property Management employee – season passes to Six Flags America and Guitar Hero World Tour for Xbox.
Tired and hoarse after nearly three hours of auctioneering, Crawford said the event was a success.
“I had a great time [auctioneering] and I think it helps,” Crawford said. “There are students coming into the school who are more economically challenged than in the past and anything we can do to support the scholarship fund helps the University.”