Relay for Life at the University hosted a date auction Feb. 9, where they sold off lunch dates or sports lessons with University professors, singers and athletes to the highest bidders. All of the money raised went directly to Relay for Life’s fundraising goals for the American Cancer Society. “We were really just trying to get people involved because we haven’t done many big events since the Vermonster challenge in the beginning of the year,” said Rebecca Richardson, a third-year College student and fundraising committee chair. “Our Relay events have been kind of low last semester, so we wanted to get people out and spread[ing] the word again and hype us back up again.” A lunch date with Dean of Students Allen Groves and a trip to Pippin Hill Vineyard for a group of three with Commerce School lecturer Sherri Moore were two of the more popular dates. Olympian and fourth-year College student Leah Smith and four basketball players were also auctioned off. “For Leah Smith we came up with something that would be fun for bidders, so it was a race against her to say you’ve been able to race an Olympic swimmer,” Richardson said. This is the third consecutive year that Relay for Life has hosted a date auction. Richardson said this year had a higher turnout than usual. “There were a lot more people there this year and they were more aware of what was going on,” Richardson said. “Our publicity went better so people knew who was being auctioned off and what to expect.” Relay for Life aimed to raise $1,500 from the event, but they came in a couple hundred dollars short. However, the students still viewed the overall event as a success. “I definitely think this event more so than others is geared more toward fundraising specifically, getting people excited and coming to Boylan on a Thursday night,” third-year Commerce student Emily Smith said. “But when we open and close our event we try to relate it back to what we’re fundraising for.” This event serves as a way for Relay for Life to get people excited about their main night-event coming up in early April. The committees are working hard to plan and organize for this event. “I think sometimes the first week of planning is off to a rough start with new committee members and putting people together to figure out action — once that’s over with I think it goes really well and people get the hang of what they’re supposed to do,” Richardson said. Because the event is based on auctioning off University professors and athletes, sometimes the overall message of Relay for Life gets lost, according to Smith. “This event isn’t as much a mission and outreach feel as much as others and I think maybe that’s a way we can improve in the future,” Smith said. Even if the event did not showcase Relay’s theme as much as other events, Richardson still said she was happy with the event overall. “It was fun, it was successful, tons of people were there which was really exciting and people were getting pumped about it — it was fun to see that,” Richardson said.