Students attending chapel on Monday may or may not have been surprised to find that this wasn’t an ordinary chapel. It was, in fact, a charity auction sponsored by the International Students Association. Students, faculty, and campus guests were able to bid on a number of rather interesting items, including bricks from buildings on campus engraved with the Bethel insignia and the buyer’s name, a custom song written for the buyer by Dr. Crisitan Mihut and even being president for a day. Obviously, this chapel was more lighthearted than some others. Dr. Dennis Engbrecht and Nappanee auctioneer Phil Hahn led the auction. Hahn’s quick auctioneer speech made the back-and-forth of the bidding all the more entertaining to watch. While many of the more expensive items were bought by faculty, there were a few students who took home some valuable merchandise as well. Brea Pickett bought the elusive “President for a Day” prize for $175 on Monday. But she said she was surprised that it didn’t sell for more. “I did not actually expect to win it, I fully expected to be out-bid,” said Pickett. While it is only for a day, Pickett will technically be Bethel’s first female president. When asked about that, Pickett said that she believes that she has made history at Bethel. “I feel like I will represent my gender very well, hopefully,” she said. Another prize offered during the auction was a free parking pass to park anywhere on campus, including the president’s own spot. The only exceptions are resident director spots and handicap and emergency spots. The person that picked up this prize was Kelli Bergeson, who paid a final price of $130. “I thought it was a good investment considering that I’m a commuter and it’s nice that I’m not limited to where I can park,” said Bergeson. When asked about the inspiration for the somewhat odd and creative prizes, Engbrecht said that most of the ideas came from international student advisor Emily Sherwood. “That’s just Emily,” he said. “She’s creative and she came up with some things.” But all frivolity aside, the auction was for a real cause: women in the Kenyan village of Salgaa who had previously been selling themselves as prostitutes in order to support themselves. The money from this auction went to the Village Trust, an organization established by Dr. Sarah Kilemi that helps those in need in various villages. These women had been congregating around a truck stop in Salgaa in order to sell their services to support themselves. “They don’t want to,” said Engbrecht. “They’ve got children, most of them are HIV positive or have full-blown AIDS. So (Kilemi) has established a means of them making an income.” These means include a greenhouse, tailoring, sewing and selling clean bottled water. The proceeds from this auction, amounting to around $2,565, will go to the Village Trust to help these women build a grain bin for storing their rice that they grow. Speaking of the proceeds, this year’s proceeds exceed the last auction’s by nearly $900, and this year’s goal was exceeded by $565. The auction could be seen by some as a social experiment as well, as it seems that the fact that the auction was for charity affected the amount buyers spent on their prizes. “I don’t think I would have gone as high had it not been for a good cause,” said Bergeson. “After watching the video and hearing Dennis (Engbrecht) tell about these stories and what they were trying to raise money for, I thought, Well maybe there’s something that I could help with.” “I think the fact that they knew what (the money) was going for and the video gave some insight and some idea of what it’s going for,” Engbrecht said. “I think that affects the generous hearts of our students and our faculty.” Answering a question regarding how she felt about an auction taking the place of an actual chapel, Pickett that she didn’t think it strayed too far off from chapel’s purpose. “I think that supporting a charity, especially the type of cause that we’re supporting, that’s the point of everything that we talk about and learn in chapel anyway,” she said. “So I mean, it kind of supports the end that I think we’re trying to meet with the things we talk about in chapel.” Engbrecht said that the money raised by the auction will probably cover most, if not all of the costs involved in purchasing the grain bin. A different chapel? Yes. But as it turns out, this chapel fits right in with Bethel’s focus on service quite nicely.