The Hopkins chapter of UNICEF hosted a date auction fundraising event last Saturday in the Glass Pavilion.
The event aimed to raise funds and awareness for UNICEF on campus. Fundraising Co-Chairs Evan Rule and JohnPaul Kotyla planned the event, in which 27 students participated in the auction, volunteering to go on dates with their highest bidders.
Bidders could choose from a range of romantic dinners, coffee dates and activities.
Some of the more unique offerings included going on a walk with a puppy, a trip to the D.C. zoo and an evening of salsa dancing. Kotyla, a junior Math and Physics Major, offered one lucky winner a home cooked meal of the bidder’s choice. Derek Hatfield, a junior Neuroscience Major, opted for “Finding Nemo in 3D” at the Rotunda Movie Theater. The volunteers covered all costs related to the dates, so that 100 percent of the fundraiser’s profits were donated to UNICEF. The average winning bid for a date was $25.
The group was very pleased with the results of the event. With 40-50 people in attendance, they were able to raise over $560. “Last year we raised $1,500 total, so this year’s goal is $2,000,” Rule said. “We have several more fundraisers coming up, so we thought $563 from the first event gave us a good start to reaching our goal.”
The group’s next event will be Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF at the end of October. Instead of asking for candy when trick-or-treating, group members will instead ask for a small monetary donation for UNICEF.
Later in the first semester, the group will host a movie night presenting a film about human trafficking around the world. The biggest event of the spring semester will be the Hunger Banquet, an educational fundraiser. Guests will pay a set price for a dinner ticket, and will then be served different meals based on the varying levels of nourishment in the world.
“Some people will eat a really good meal, some people will eat a not-so-great meal,” Rule said. “Others will only get some rice and bread, because that’s how some people have to eat.” The interactive event will include guest speakers.
This was the first event of the year for the relatively new student group; the Hopkins chapter of UNICEF was founded last spring by current chapter president Maha Haqqani, vice president Hatfield and fundraising co-chairs Rule and Kotyla, along with several other members in the class of 2014.
Rule said that the process of founding the group, which included writing a charter and completing separate applications for UNICEF and the Hopkins Office of Student Activities, was long but well worth it.
“19,000 children die everyday from preventable causes,” Rule said. “The big goal is reducing that number, whether that’s through supplying vaccinations or clean water or food. We didn’t really see any other group at Hopkins focusing on this specific cause, so we thought ours could be unique.” The chapter currently has about 20 active members.