Going once, going twice…

Even though Mardi Gras was last Tuesday, Tufts students had the opportunity to keep celebrating on Thursday at this year’s Mardi Gras-themed “Faculty Waits On You Dinner and Auction” (FWOYDA).

Now in its 25th year, the annual Leonard Carmichael Society (LCS)-sponsored event brought out faculty and students interested in having a good time while also supporting the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

This year’s themed dinner and auction raised around $4,500, $400 more than last year’s Hollywood-themed event.

As nine faculty members served dinners to the 80 students in the Chase Center, students bid on a variety of prizes at the FWOYDA. Sophomore Bradley Starr, left, was the evening’s auctioneer.

A few of this year’s auction prizes included tickets to a Boston Red Sox game, Senior Week tickets, hang-gliding lessons, which were donated by Civil and Environmental Engineering Senior Lecturer Lee Minardi, and lunch with University President Lawrence Bacow. A Kaplan test-prep course ended up being the most expensive item of the night, going for $1,200, which is twice as much as the same prize garnered last year.

Senior and LCS member Jen McNally, who was in charge of running the night, was pleasantly surprised by the amount of money that the event raised for the Coalition.

 “We were lucky that despite the financial climate, a lot of Boston area venues and local restaurants donated gift certificates and tickets,” said McNally. “When I started listing donations over winter break, I was nervous about the financial environment in terms of donations because I thought a lot of businesses would be unable to contribute, but we actually had a lot more donations than last year.”

She added that the Blue Man Group and the American Repertory Theatre all donated tickets for the auction.

McNally said that while many students went home happy with auctioned items, the biggest winner of the night was the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

“If you think about how businesses and students are being hurt by the financial crisis, you have to realize that the Coalition is a lot worse off because they rely solely on donations and government funding,” McNally said. “It’s great to bid on an item when you know that all of the money goes to them.”

This article originally incorrectly stated that the dinner rased $5,400 as opposed to $4,500. This mistake was corrected on March 9, 2010.