Pay It Ephward, the biggest fundraising event of the year for Frosh Council (FroCo), took place April 15 in Baxter Hall, with bidding opening at 5 p.m. The event, organized by FroCo representatives Alex Besser ’17 and Funmi Adejobi ’17, consisted of a silent auction in which College students bid on various items and services donated by their classmates. All proceeds from Pay It Ephward will be donated to the Berkshire Food Project.
“I was really happy with how the auction turned out,” Besser said. “We got lots of donations from students, plus a few Spring St. businesses.” While FroCo has yet to confirm all purchases, he estimated that when all is said and done roughly $650 will have been raised. “We made a ton of money for a great organization,” Adejobi said. The logistical part of planning Pay It Ephward, she added, was relatively easy. “What was a little trickier,” Adejobi explained, “was getting people to donate deeds!” College students, it seems, were not initially convinced that they had something to offer.
Eventually, however, once FroCo started tabling, the submissions started rolling in. In all, about 70 sundry deeds were donated for the auction. The most common offering was food, and much of what was volunteered was of the dessert variety: cupcakes, cookies, chocolate chip cookies with Oreo insides (a dish that seems to defy all previously-defined notions of chocolaty deliciousness) and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Gabby Markel ’17 volunteered an apple pie. “I was happy to contribute,” Markel said. “I love making pie and you can get all the ingredients from the dining hall, so as a broke college student, it seemed the way to go.”
Others offered to provide the winning bidder with full, home-cooked meals – among those auctioned off were a steak dinner, an authentic Mexican meal and a grilled cheese and tomato soup dinner for two. Besser said that the last of these three was particularly popular. Some budding chefs even allowed the victorious bidder to design his or her own menu. Josh Morrison ’16, for instance, said that he would cook a full meal of whatever the winner wanted.
Instead of food, many students donated their own skills: There were many offers of songs and serenades. There were also several offers of personalized poetry, haikus and graphite drawings. Other students decided to employ their specialized skills in the instruction of others: Amelia Archer ’17 volunteered to teach someone to juggle and Christian Alcorn ’17 donated a swing dancing lesson, while Garrick Gu ’17 said that he would provide a bagpipe lesson for two, adding that, “This is an awesome skill to have.”
The most creative deeds donated, however, fit none of the above categories. Omar Gouda ’16 offered to be someone’s personal announcer for the day. “I’m a small guy,” he noted in the deed’s description, “But I’ve got a pretty big voice!” The winner, he said, would have the pleasure of hearing his or her “most mundane activities narrated live!” Alberto Flores ’17 volunteered to act as a personal cheerleader for one hour. Another student, Steven Kiesel ’15, Junior Advisor (JA) of Sage D, donated a “FULL” body massage (although that submission came not from Kiesel himself, but from one of his sneaky first-years).
Susie Paul ’16, creator of the Facebook page Humans of Williams, volunteered a photo shoot to the winning bidder. Paul’s donation was one of the most bid upon, according to Besser, along with the offer of a date with JAs Eddie Kelly ’15 and Kirby Neuner ’15.
Sam Steakley ’17 offered one thing: empathy – or at least, his best attempt to provide such in a “marathon session of no more than six hours,” whatever that entails. Two offers from Bill Zito ’16 were similarly kindhearted: the first was a random good deed to a person of the bidder’s choosing, while the second was an hour-long life coaching session, with optional post-session check-ins and a non-optional promise to always wave and say hello to the bidder whenever they happen to encounter one another.
And the list goes on. The third annual Pay It Ephward event in retrospect was a success, not only in its contribution back to the Berkshire community, but also in its ability, while doing so, to promote good-natured fun on a campus that could always use more as we move past our post-winter ennui. And never before has embarrassing your friends had such a great, charitable excuse.