By DeVol Tyson
Sounds of 90s and 00s R&B music serenaded Woodburn 100. As students filed into the large lecture hall, they discovered many red, pink, and white balloons, streamers, and hearts scattered around the room. As they sat down, chatter of how the nicely dressed everyone looked and how nervous people were to walk in heels quickly filled the room. Even though it was the day after Valentine’s Day, there was still love to go around.
On the evening of February 15, Indiana University’s Epiphany Modeling Troupe and the Gamma Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated collaborated to host a date auction titled, “Did Cupid Pass You By?” The hosts of the event, Trebby Ellington (Epiphany Modeling Troupe) and Tyler Kelley (Alpha Phi Alpha) greeted guests as they walked into the room, setting a relaxed ambiance.
Trebby Ellington, who is the Public Relations Specialist for EMT, said the event was held on to be a comfort measure for those who might not have had a valentine on the actual Valentine’s Day.
“EMT is all about uplift. We want our models to get out of their comfort zone,” Ellington said. “We want them to be comfortable with themselves.”
Ellington went on to say that students see Alphas all the time, but don’t have a chance to see EMT Models except for fashion shows. EMT is trying to be more visible on campus.
Ellington said that she wanted to see everyone having a fun night. She also wanted the audience to actively participate and give money for the event. “Epiphany is trying to build a house.” She was happy to see people willingly giving money to Habitat for Humanity.
When asked if she could bid on any one person, she said she would bid on Cedric Morrison, a new initiate of the Gamma Eta Chapter. “I’ve been seeing a lot of growth since he joined Alpha…. He’s trying new things.”
Gamma Eta member Devan Graves shared sentiments by saying that there was a social need for members of the two organizations to get to know each other. He also said that since Alpha Phi Alpha is a social and service organization, it was extra important for the organization to participate. Graves said that “service is the key to success,” which is one of the chapter’s mottos.
Graves went on to say that he wanted to see people be open during the event. He noted that the Black community at IU makes up roughly 4%, and that it is important for the Black community to be together. He also wanted people to have fun while giving to Habitat for Humanity. Graves ended by saying it was best to, “kill two birds with one stone.”
The auction was held to raise money for Habitat for Humanity, EMT and AΦA’s charity of choice. Members from EMT and AΦA were “auctioned off” to go on dates. Each bid started at $5 and continued to escalate as guests raised the bid for the EMT or AΦA of their choosing. The highest bid of the night went for Jeremiah Reed, the Vice President of the Gamma Eta Chapter. “This was a fun thing,” said Reed, whose bid amounted to $27. Reed said that he really cared about charity and that it was his biggest motivator to bid on participants. Reed himself gave close to $30 to the auction.
The two organizations raised about $350 from the event. Due to the success of the auction, the two organizations plan to also collaborate on future events.