Law school caught in tangled web of obligations following promise auction

Nick Papageorge (1L)

This past month, U of T Law held its fourth annual Promise Auction to raise funds for the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

The former “provides a meeting place in Toronto for Aboriginal women to share resources, support one another, and practice their traditional ways, providing a welcoming atmosphere for all Aboriginal women and their children in the Greater Toronto Area.” The latter uses a “reconciliation framework that respectfully engages First Nation and non-Aboriginal peoples, to provide high quality resources to support First Nations communities to empower children, youth and families.”

Nevermind that the first post on the official event page was made to inform us that the organizers did not have most of us as Facebook “friends” – from 1L to 2L to 3Ls. 4Ls were either covered or needn’t have applied. Nevermind that the next two posts informed us that some unsavory character was trying to sabotage the whole enterprise. (As an aside, if you happen to be that pernicious poster, please contact me for an anonymous, Penn/Chapo-style interview.) This auction promised to be big time stuff—and big time stuff it seemed to be.

We were told to come for the pizza and stay for the auction, for it would be worth it. Dinner with our illustrious Dean and “the dopest quilt you’ve ever seen” were ours for the taking. The auctioneers played their parts admirably, putting forth their best comedic and energetic efforts to inspirit the crowd. There may also have been some not-so-subtle goading of the crowd into bidding higher. Indeed, this is the first time I’ve heard items at auction going thrice, four times, and then five, and one last going thrice—for real this time.

The question of whether the bids had to be increased by ten was answered in the affirmative. The “Ahh f***” response that declaration garnered was appropriate, given that the auctioneers were clearly lying to get bids in, admitting as much a few minutes later. As the live auction kicked into gear, the crowd appeared to swell from some sixty circumspect folks to at least a hundred observers. Regrettably, few of these individuals partook in the bidding to get high on fermented fruit, ultimately a $320 privilege.

But, we were told, if we thought this atomized live bidding was exciting, just wait until we get to the silent part! Exciting this also was—there was interest in just about every item stuck to the walls in Birge Carnegie. Yet, as this portion came to its 5pm close, organizers could be heard lamenting how the previous year had engaged in more bidding wars while this crop of 1Ls had proved somewhat of a disappointment in that respect.

Such disappointment notwithstanding, the students’ efforts raised over $4,000, besting last year’s total.

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