At the right price, you can have personal hip-hop breakdance lessons, the VIP section of Funktion nightclub complete with Dom Perignon, or a “beef and beer dinner” at the home of a Yale Medical School anatomy professor.
Students and faculty of the Yale health professional schools culminated a week of fundraising for local charities yesterday with the 11th annual Hunger and Homelessness live auction in the Harkness Auditorium of the medical school. Beginning last Thursday, first and second year graduate students coordinated a weeklong series of activities that included a silent auction, a canned food drive, parties and an inter-class football game.
Brian Kim EPH ’04, one of the six chairmen for the auction, said the past two years’ auctions were extremely successful, raising approximately $30,000 each. Kim added that all proceeds from the week’s events go directly to charities targeting the homelessness problem in New Haven.
“[The auction] is well-timed with Thanksgiving,” said Joyce Kaufman MED ’06, another chairwoman of the auction. “We want to heighten awareness about the problem during this season of giving.”
Nearly 350 items donated by faculty, students and companies were sold through the silent and live auctions. In addition to the traditional restaurant dinners and gift certificates, there were some untraditional items up for bid, including a drag-queen makeover, “secret admirer service,” and the use of a dog to attract members of the opposite sex. A weeklong stay at a villa in Naples, Fla., snatched a $325 bid, while a week’s stay in a London flat appealed to the traveling crowd. Medical School Dean Dennis Spencer auctioned off motorcycle rides.
William Stewart, a professor of anatomy, auctioned off his trademark bowtie to the first year medical school class, fetching a hefty $310.
Students operating on a tight budget said they had to think outside the box. Some donated home cooked dinners, while others volunteered guitar, dancing and even Beirut lessons. Matchmaking services and a love-letter workshop appealed to the romantic aspirations of medical school students.
“The idea is to invoke a community spirit with creative donations and offering what you can,” Kaufman said.
The faculty in attendance could purchase full attendance in lecture from the first and second years.
While the proceedings are mainly controlled by first and second year students, some third and fourth years managed to make it to the auction, including David Aversa MED ’04.
“This is one thing people look forward to every year,” Aversa said. “It’s nice to see your dollars going directly to something, and you can see the outcome almost immediately.”
All proceeds from the auction are given to local charities that help alleviate hunger and homelessness. The recipients are Loaves & Fishes, LifeHaven, Youth Continuum, New Haven Home Recovery, Community Health Care Van, St. Thomas More Soup Kitchen and Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen.
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