November 20, 2000

Hotel Students Organize Annual Charity Auction

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The aroma of international delicacies, the prospect of winning an auction item and the opportunity to donate money to three charities drew Cornellians, professors, visitors and Ithaca residents to “Passport 2000,” Cornell University’s Annual Mastery of Management and Hospitality (M.M.H.) Auction.

“Passport 2000” was organized and run by students in “Human Behavior in Organizations,” a class in the School of Hotel Administration’s graduate program.

The event began Saturday night in the Statler ballroom with a silent auction. The items on the table ranged from a sunset cruise on Cayuga Lake, to a Beanie Baby autographed by Scott Wolf to an original painting by Gabi Olivers, whose husband is a student in M.M.H.

According to Amy Kantorczy ’02, the event took much “work and sweat to produce.” As a member of the M.M.H. class’s Solicitations Committee, she contributed to the auction by finding people to donate items for auction.

“People wait for us to call because they know we do this every year,” Kantorczy said.

The class has been planning this year’s auction since September. According to Associate Prof. Tim Hinkin, management, the three goals of the class were to understand the dynamics of group work, to do community service, and to prove that “Hotelies can put on quality events.”

“It is more than a way to make money, it is a motivation. We work together not just because it is a class and we have to, but for our goal,” Kantorczy said.

The goal of the auction was to raise money for three charities: The Mary Jo Fink Foundation, which will use the money to sponsor one financial scholarship for an international student, Loaves and Fishes which will use the money to renovate their soup kitchen and The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which will put the charity money towards HIV research.

“We think we really got the best three charities we could come up with,” said Jason Ford, a member of the M.M.H. class’s Charity Selection Committee. “We wanted one local [charity], one from Cornell and one international. We chose the Elizabeth Glaser Foundation because they are hardcore about getting the money to their foundation.”

The money will be divided equally among the three charities. Eager to show his support, although not enrolled in the class, Aaron Mitra grad joked, “I won’t bid on anything under five hundred dollars.”

Members of the class participated in the bidding as well. Todd Carpenter, grad, demonstrated his enthusiasm by bidding on a copy of Good Will Hunting, autographed by Matt Damon, for his wife.

Aside from the prizes, the food was a popular attraction.

“We came because we wanted to try different international foods,” Jennifer Cornfeld ’02 said. “And everything was excellent.”

The M.M.H. students prepared and served dishes from their native countries. The food was available to all who purchased a “passport” at the door.

The Cuisine represented 10 out of the 20 nationalities represented in the class of 55 students.

“The vast majority of the class is not American, [and] that’s why we chose an international theme,” said Jay Sollis, master of management and hospitality.

According to Aurelia Wang grad, it she labored for four hours to prepare her Chinese delights which included Chinese dumplings and Jasmine tea, and spring rolls stuffed with vegetables, meat and shrimp.

From Switzerland, Silvio Schoch grad and Patrick Candrian grad fixed cheese fondue and a dish called Aelpermakkaronen.

“It looks like macaroni and cheese but tastes much better,” Schoch explained.

Pigs in a blanket, mini pizzas, duck on toast and Coca Cola represented the American palette.

From Portugal, Miguel Baltazer grad offered a taste of “Camel Dribble.” Like a good chef who never reveals his recipes, Baltazer told inquirers his dessert concoction consisted of, “lemon and a secret ingredient.”

The prizes won and large turnout at the auction brought grins to many faces.

“We hoped for an average of 120 to 150 people,” said Carpenter. “So far I am satisfied with the turnout.”

Don Zinn ’76 came because he just happened to be visiting the campus with his wife and sons.

“We went to the hockey game, the football game, and then decided to try this,” Zinn said.

Over the past 21 years the auction has raised $30 million for charity. This year’s event earned approximately $17,000 Sollis commented.

According to Grachelda Makurah ’02, the event was pulled off through teamwork.

Hinkin said, “Every year it is different, and every year it is good. The night is always a little nerve-wracking, but they have done a good job and I know they have learned a lot.”

Archived article by Rachel Einschlag