Leverett Auction Features Dates, Pets, and House Spirit

Sporting an authentic Texas cowboy hat, bolo, and silver-buckled belt, Zack W. Guzman ’14 recited tongue twisters with focus. Despite his tonsillitis, he was prepared to play the part of auctioneer at the Leverett House auction on Thursday evening.

“This is pretty serious,” Leverett House Master Howard Georgi said.

“The accent will get more southern as we progress, so put those numbers high up in the air where I can see them,” Guzman said to kick off the auction. The event gave students in Leverett an opportunity to sell products or services to their peers, with all proceedings going toward HoCo and the Nokor Tep Foundation of Cambodia.

Over the course of the evening, Guzman and his co-MC Zachary N. Bernstein ’13 auctioned items from a $500 value MCAT preparation course to a date with a saxophone-playing senior to quality time with Bandit and Rosie, dogs owned by the Leverett House Masters. In addition to the live auction, the Leverett House Committee-sponsored event also featured a silent auction and a Chinese auction-raffle.

According to HoCo co-chair Paul P. Stavropoulos ’13, the House Committee began planning this auction about six weeks ago with three goals in mind: to help local businesses, to promote House spirit, and to raise money for the foundation.

Stavropoulos said that featuring the products of local shops in the auction benefits the businesses by drawing the attention of potential student customers.

“The local businesses that aren’t chains were really generous and gave us donations on the spot,” Gary D. Carlson ’13, the other committee co-chair said.

Stavropoulos said that HoCo also hopes its auction festivities will promote House spirit beyond the routine events they coordinate on a weekly and monthly basis.

“It’s a really awesome thing that we try to do to unite the house during first semester,” he said.

The Nokor Tep Foundation, which will receive twenty percent of the auction’s profits, is a cause close to HoCo’s heart because committee member Moni Anne Trac ’13’s family was instrumental in the founding of the charity. While working for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Cambodia, Trac’s mother became aware of the lack of adequate medical treatment for women in her country. Trac’s parents and grandmother banded together to create the Foundation, which provides care at a recently-constructed women’s hospital in Cambodia.

“I’m very happy and very proud that Lev was able to do this to help out,” Trac said.

Before Bernstein and Guzman—“Zach and Zack,” as they were called—began the live auction, Leverett residents wandered the dining hall to examine items for bid in the silent auction. The sales ranged from belly-dancing lessons to a student-administered massage to seven personalized love poems “delivered in a fun fashion, one a day, start day delivery buyer’s choice,” according to the listing. A resident dean even offered a free thesis proofreading, which many seniors said they hoped to capitalize on. Bernstein said he was inspired to help out by co-hosting this year’s auction after he auctioned off a serenading last year.

“Be loud, be friendly, and try to get people going, that’s the goal,” Bernstein said

Although there was significant competition over time with the masters’ and tutors’ pets, the date-bidding drew the most spectators to the auction. Two sets of double dates and four individual dates were auctioned off in a close battle between bidders. Tunc C. Kiymaz ’13 made a grand entrance with a shirtless saxophone solo, fulfilling the high hopes of the spectators.

“I’m so excited to see how the date auction goes,” HoCo member Kelly A. Flaherty ’15 had said just before the event kicked off. “It should be great.”

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