PILA Auction Raises $60,000 for Public Interest Grants
Skeet-shooting lessons, a hot air balloon ride for four, a weekend getaway at a professor's mountainside cabin, clean-up after a Feb Club party, and dinner with University of Virginia School of Law Dean Paul G. Mahoney were among the items purchased by UVA Law students Friday at the Public Interest Law Association's annual auction and dance.
The "Downton Abbey" — themed event at the Omni Charlottesville Hotel raised more than $60,000 to fund grants for first- and second-year UVA Law students working in public service jobs over the summer. (Where PILA Grantees Worked)
"We worked really hard to make it a fun event," said third-year law student Shimmy Edwards, a PILA auction director. "Obviously our goal is to raise money for public service grants but we also want people to enjoy themselves, and we put together a fun group of items for people to bid on."
An estimated 450 people attended this year's auction and bid on more than 250 items and services, Edwards said. Professors Josh Bowers and John Setear served as the auctioneers. One of this year's biggest-ticket items was "A Presidential Affair," in which UVA President Teresa Sullivan and her husband, UVA law professor Douglas Laycock, will host 10 people at Carr's Hill for a sampling of pastries and dessert wine. It sold for $1,500.
Another popular item, a hot air balloon ride donated by the Seven Society — one of UVA's secret societies — went for $500. A golf outing for three at Spring Creek Golf Club with Professor Greg Mitchell was picked up for $650. And a pingpong tournament hosted by Vice Dean George Geis brought in $350.
Edwards said she and her fellow auction directors — Chris D'Agostino, Sejal Jhaveri, Dan Wallmuth, and Sean Welsh — are grateful for the support of the Law School community, as well as the contributions of numerous local shops, law firms and others who contributed to the event.
"We had a lot of support from sponsors this year. Kaplan [Bar Review], in particular, had a table and they brought 'Downton Abbey' — themed accessories — candy cigars, beads, paper fans and little hats."
Overall, Edwards said, this year's auction was a success and a fun evening.
"It's well-known that the auction is that last big outing that people go to before studying for finals starts, so we hope that everyone has a good time, bids on some items and also supports public interest students in the process," she said.