RC students at Harvard Business School opened their hearts and wallets in recent weeks, raising approximately $287,000 in charity auctions held in each of the first-year class’s 10 sections.
Following the auctions, charitable donations will be made to support various student-championed causes, including aid to wounded war veterans, the fight against terminal illnesses like cancer and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and support for East African farmers struggling to escape poverty.
“It was pretty clear that everything was way overpriced, which says two things about HBS students,” said Fabio Salim (NI). “One, that people were willing to give a lot of money to charity, which is great; and two, that there was a lot of competition, which is a fair description of HBS students on the whole, and certainly of Section I.”
Though the ultimate goal was to ameliorate important global challenges, the auctions themselves were lighthearted affairs where students could bid on a wide range of prizes.
Pricier winnings included a week-long stay for 10 people in the Pyrenees, ambassador seats to a New York Giants football game in the Meadowlands, and a weekend vacation in a Swiss Castle.
Other prizes were decidedly less ritzy. Two sections auctioned off the right of one student to throw a pie into the face of another; in one section, the pie-recipient was the section president, and in the other the recipient was the section’s resident prankster.
A pair of more musically-inclined HBSers auctioned off a sung response to a question in class. Set to the tune of the Spice Girls’ mid-90s smash “Wannabe” and featuring lyrical invocations of foreign direct investment and taxes on multinational corporations, the response was unveiled in a recent BGIE class focusing on Hungary. In a similar vein, multiple sections auctioned off the right for one student to select the recipient of a cold call.
Inspired by the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, two sections auctioned off “slap bet” rights whereby the seller granted the buyer the right to administer five slaps at any time between now and eternity.
In the “everything has its price” category, one bold student auctioned off naming rights for their unborn daughter’s middle name. Whether this pact was sanctioned by the student’s spouse remains unknown as of press time.
Many sections auctioned off dinners hosted by HBS professors or geographically-themed meals arranged by students from foreign countries or American regions with rich culinary traditions.
“It was really cool how giving people were, and not just with their money,” said Salim. “It was great how many of the gifts involved people giving their time.”
Prize4Life, the American Liver Foundation, and the One Acre Fund were each supported by multiple sections. Other organizations receiving donations included AppSuccess, Comfort Zone Camp, Cradles to Crayons, Donors Choose, Family Independence Initiative, the Harlem Children’s Zone, Kapampangan Development Foundation, LIFT Investments, Massachusetts Special Olympics, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centers, Mentores Solidarios, Minds Matter, Pencils of Promise, the Science Club for Girls, and the Wounded Warrior Project.