Date auction raises money for heart health

By Gretchen Andersen

Zach Miller and Andrew Manderino said they’re used to taking their shirts off —… Zach Miller and Andrew Manderino said they’re used to taking their shirts off — just not for money.

“We heard people [during the auction] saying, ‘Oh look, they are wearing matching shirts!’ and I was just thinking, ‘No no no, we wore these shirts to take them off,’” Miller said. “It was inevitable.”

Miller and Manderino of Panther CrossFit, a student exercise organization at Pitt, were just two of 20 students representing various student organizations last night at the 8th Annual Charity Date Auction. Pitt College Democrats hosted the event in the William Pitt Union’s Lower Lounge, and all proceeds went toward the American Heart Association.

Pitt student Nicole Pawloski attended the event and said she “came here to have a good time with [her] friends and support a good cause.”

The event featured groups such as Pitt Crew, Pitt FeelGood, the Alpha Phi Omega co-ed service fraternity, Students Taking Action Now: Darfur and more. Student leaders such as Homecoming King Dan Thomas and Pitt Pathfinders President Mike Pisarcik were also auctioned.

Dates were typically auctioned for around $50 to $75.

Alicia Harris, programming director of Pitt College Democrats, started to organize the event in December.

“We all used our connections on campus to get people to volunteer to be auctioned,” Harris said.

Benefiting a different charity each year, Pitt College Democrats chose the American Heart Association this year to raise awareness of heart disease.

The auctions at the event raised $1,107 for the charity.

Andrew Sabo, president of Pitt College Democrats and an emcee of the night, said he was very happy with the results.

“I think we raised a lot of money for a good cause,” Sabo said.

The auction began with the pair of Miller and Manderino, who inspired cheers and whistles throughout an audience of about 80 students — especially when showing skin.

Miller enjoyed performing stunts such as one-armed and clapping push-ups, while Manderino unexpectedly carried out two handstands. One lasted for five seconds.

“On the cover of the Sex Edition of The Pitt News … need I say more?” Sabo said, while auctioning off the pair to the audience.

Buyers received a gift card of up to $25 upon buying the featured student leaders for their “date.” Local restaurants, such as Joe Mamas, Fuel & Fuddle, Eat’n Park and Hofbräuhaus donated the gift cards.

The night was full of surprises, such as a woman in a Feelgood bright-colored sandwich costume, a step-dance by two members of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Panther CrossFitter Ryan Samson’s shirt-toss into the crowd and a rap song performance by Bre Behun.

Andrew Voystock from Pitt Crew earned the most money during the auction. Wearing a shirt, tie and dress pants, his friend Eric Efinger “bought” him for $180.

“He is worth a lot more than $180,” Efinger said.

Emcee and Pitt College Democrats member Ian Lauer summed up the event.

“It was a fun night. This is about everyone giving what they can,” he said.