Date auction benefits tsunami victims

After spending weeks securing donations, ASPSU and the Pacific Islanders Club will host a "Show Your Love" date auction tonight to benefit victims of the Dec. 26 Asian tsunami.

The auction takes place tonight in the Smith Ballroom (Room 355) from 6 – 8 p.m. Admission is free. Dinner follows from 8 – 11:30 p.m.

Since the student government has a policy of not spending its budget on events, Student Life Director Jane Bratslavsky, two interns and a volunteer have spent the term soliciting businesses for donations. Baja Fresh, Bellagio’s Pizza and The Cheerful Tortoise are contributing for the event’s dinner, which will cost students $5 or $4 with a can of food for the Oregon Food Bank.

"We’re pulling all of this together with donations, so every dollar we make will go to Mercy Corps, which goes directly to tsunami relief," Bratslavsky said. "This is the soonest we could get the ballroom and get donations together."

At least 25 men and women will be auctioned off. The event, inspired by a similar Pacific Islanders Club auction last term, will allow bidders to view the auctionees’ photos and personal profiles, including gender of preferred bidders and desirable qualities of a significant other. In keeping with the "cheesy" appeal of the event, many profiles are tongue-in-cheek, Bratslavsky said.

Placing the highest bid will entitle the bidder to attend the subsequent benefit dinner with the auctionee, Bratslavsky said, stressing that the "date" would occur in a safe and public arena. Auctionees will get a free dinner, but their dates must pay.

"We thought it was a good way to have fun with a serious topic," Bratslavsky said. "We’re trying to find out the final death toll, so we can remind people why we’re doing this. It’s a fun event but it serves a purpose."