Immersion Programs Set Bar High for Annual Auction

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

by Rachel Mattos '10

The organizers of the 2009-2010 Summer Immersion Program (SIP) Auction hope to surpass last year’s fundraising efforts, setting the bar at $25,000. The success of past auctions, including the $16,000 raised last winter, has SIP organizers and participants hopeful that this year’s auction – to be held on Wed., Dec. 2 – will get them even closer to the $70,000 needed to pay for the immersion trips. The auction will be held in the banquet hall of Campion Student Center. The silent auction will begin at 5 p.m. and the live auction will start at 6 p.m.

SIP offers participants an opportunity to travel to Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and New Mexico, where students are immersed in local communities and languages. They get to experience, first hand, the richness of these cultures, while gaining a deep understanding of the hardships many communities face. But first, they have to raise the money to get there.

Campus minister Helen Stewart, and seniors Tom Power and Carla DeSisto are organizing this year’s auction. They developed a new approach to the event in hopes of bringing in more funds.

“In past years preparation for the auction would begin in the fall, but this year we started working on it in June,” said Power. “We’re hoping that by reaching out to alumni and the local community we can turn an event which has traditionally included mostly family and friends into something much bigger. We hope this will be the most successful auction to date.”

To reach that goal, all participants in the program work hard to solicit items for the auction. They also offer their own services, auctioning off his or her labor to clean yards or houses, walk dogs, babysit and tutor. The auction also offers larger items such as a stay for two at the Crowne Plaza Hotel during Commencement weekend, two airplane tickets to anywhere in the United States, a baseball signed by Phillies star Chase Utley, a football signed by gridiron great Dan Marino and a ten days at a beach house in Anna Maria Island, Fla. A late addition to the list of items is the opportunity to be named as a character in a book by New York Times best-selling novelist Lisa Scottoline.

The auction, which has been held annually for the past 15 years, has increasingly gained popularity as the SIP program has developed and expanded. The event attracts many students, faculty, staff, families and alumni each year, but is open to all. Besides the silent and live auctions, food and information on the trips are provided to attendees.

This year there will be a cocktail hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Wolfington Hall before the auction to honor the alumni of the Summer Immersion Programs. This gives past participants a chance to reunite with former teammates and support current students as they prepare for their SIP experience. Alumni attending the cocktail hour are asked to please RSVP by emailing the SIP leaders at


Expand this section