Get a date and save a life. That was Ashley Harrington’s idea to raise funds and awareness for Nothing But Nets at her school in Minnesota.
Ashley and her classmates at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) received a compelling assignment in their leadership class: find a charity and plan a fundraiser. Ashley had seen a commercial featuring Nothing But Nets Champion Gavin DeGraw talking about the devastating effects of malaria in Africa, and knew right away what charity she wanted to support – Nothing But Nets!
Her group began planning a series of fundraisers and events to raise awareness for the cause across campus. They sold buttons at the student union and held a shoot-out at halftime of a MSUM basketball game, but their main event was the first ever Student Organization Auction.
They recruited 28 leaders of the student body, resident advisors, representatives from athletic teams, and leaders from campus organizations to be auctioned off for dates or ‘get to know you’ dinners. As the event neared, the people to be auctioned created Facebook groups to raise awareness about the event and the cause – and to campaign for the highest bids!
The event was a huge success. Ashley says, “Everyone was very generous and willing to help those in need; they helped those who once had fearful nights now have fearless nights.” But it wasn’t without some “intense” battles. The highest bid for a date was $290, which was matched by an anonymous donor for a total of $580! All in all, their events brought in almost $2,000 for Nothing But Nets!
For the people who were auctioned off, the bidders, and everyone involved in the Student Organization Auction, the evening was about much more than just having some fun. As the bids came rolling in, the number of lives they were going to save nearly brought Ashley and her teammates to tears. Ashley was so pleased with the event that she is going to stay involved with the campaign and plans to have another auction next year: “Just because our class is done doesn’t mean I’m done fundraising for Nothing But Nets. I’ve just started!”
Ashley is passionate about saving lives in Africa. Show your passion by sending a net and saving a life. Who knows, you might even get a date out of it!