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Unique Spring Break Program Finds Unique Way to Fundraise

February 27, 2001

[ Web Site Screen Shot ]DELAWARE, OHIO -- For more than a decade, groups of Ohio Wesleyan University students have spent their spring breaks repairing houses, helping the homeless, and learning about other cultures in places such as Nicaragua, the south side of Chicago, Puerto Rico, Kentucky, and South Dakota. These spring break mission trips have been funded by student work, area churches, students' home churches, faculty and staff, and friends of the University's Community Service Learning Office. But this year, trip organizers have entered the world of online auctions in an effort to raise money for the trips. Sue Pasters, director of community service learning, came up with the idea for an Ohio Wesleyan online auction, building on Chaplain Jon Powers' idea to have a live auction.

The online auction has already begun and will continue until the live auction on Friday, March 2 at 3 p.m. in the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center. Jason LaMar, director of web services at Ohio Wesleyan, created the auction site called OWU AuctionSpace, which can be found at http://auctionspace.owu.edu. "People can register to bid," said LaMar. "It's a lot like eBay." He expects participation from people inside and outside the OWU community.

The categories of items up for bid are household goods, arts and crafts, recreation and entertainment, antiques and collectibles, books and novelty items. The live auction will include leftover donations from the online auction and new items ranging from handmade pottery and jewelry to a Mont Blanc pen, an 18-inch satellite dish, a genuine 4.21-carat blue topaz, three hand-made silk flower topiaries, and a picnic set. "We will have everything from flea market finds to utilitarian pieces," said Pasters. "It's a very eclectic mix and all donated for a very good cause." Cash donations for the mission trips are also appreciated and tax deductible. All money raised from items purchased will be donated to the spring break mission week fund.

The groups of students that will benefit from the fundraising are heading to four different areas: Ireland, to explore peacekeeping efforts between Catholics and Protestants; Peru, to help with ongoing projects in an area of extreme poverty; Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota; and the Hopi Indian Reservation in Arizona.

According to Pasters, all of the trips will have a community service component, similar to Habitat for Humanity. "We want to give something back to the community that is hosting us," said Pasters.

Senior David Sturtz is co-leading the trip to Ireland along with junior Chad Johns. Sturtz said the group of 16 students will do a work project in Belfast and also visit peace groups in the area. The trip will cost around $650 per person and the group has a budget of $15,000. "We're hoping the auctions will supplement that," said Sturtz, who plans to participate in the live auction.

Once the mission trips are over, the auction site is not necessarily obsolete. LaMar thinks the site might become a permanent presence at OWU, depending on how successful it is. He would imagine it either continuing to serve community service needs, or becoming a supplement to the University's Daily Bulletin to help students sell possessions.

Call Sue Pasters at 740-368-3084 with questions about the auctions.