Villa Man Auction rebrands for inclusivity

By Courtney Warta | December 1, 2017 10:45pm

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Villa Maria Auction will take place on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Chiles Center.
by The Beacon / The Beacon

On Saturday, Dec. 2, 1,200 chairs will line the Chiles Center, and doors will swing open at 6:30 p.m. for the 21st annual Villa Maria Auction. The residents of Villa will be preparing behind the stage for their performances that start at 7:30 p.m. Students in the audience will prepare to bid on groups of men and adventures/dates. 

Although the auction has become a tradition at the University of Portland, the recognizable name "Villa Man Auction" has been changed to simply be the Villa Maria Auction. Performances from 10 years past were described as “raunchy” by Villa Hall Council members, but organizers explained that they are making an effort to move the nature of the event in a more inclusive and appropriate direction.

“The point of the name change was a little bit out of political correctness, but for the most part it was to make it more comfortable for men to come to the event and feel OK with buying a date or at least coming and watching men perform,” said Jacob Apenes, sophomore hall council member. 

The Villa Hall Council has raised up to $20,000 in past years with this event. According to event organizers, all of the money raised will be donated to the Holy Cross Mission in Peru that supports children with physical and mental challenges at Yancana Huasy. To raise this money, approximately a dozen groups will be auctioned off, including an act by priests. 

Sophomore hall council member Grant Sippel recommends forming a group to bid with before attending the event and settling on a comfortable budget.

“We will have pamphlets that are going out before the show starts when doors are opening and you can take a look at who’s in the group, what their adventure/date is going to be like and you can plan on who you want to bid on,” said Sippel. 

Last year, there was an issue with payment follow-through and making sure that all the dates actually happened. According to Sippel, two-thirds of the money raised last year was never paid. This year there is a payment deadline of April 15, 2018 to encourage communication between the “Villains” auctioned and the group that purchased and to ensure that dates happen.

“The year before that we got every single bid and every single date done,” said Apenes. “I think last year was a freak year where dates just didn’t happen so we’re making sure that actually is not the case this year. We want to make sure everyone gets their dates, everyone pays, everything goes according to plan.”

The men of Villa Maria have worked hard to make this event happen — Villains spent two days creating handwritten notes for everyone living in a dorm, serenaded halls, bought t-shirts and created acts.

At the auction, $1 raffle tickets will be available for purchase. A pair of Tyler the Creator tickets, four Blazers tickets and other small prizes will be given away. With a purchase of a raffle ticket, the Taco Bell on Lombard will give attendees a free freeze after the event is over from 10 p.m. to midnight. 

“Why would you not want to go? It’s the biggest school event outside of Rock the Bluff in the spring, and that is pretty impressive that it’s managed to be put on by one dorm,” said sophomore council member Alan Ghossein. “We are putting a lot of hard work into it and it is a fun time.”

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