Art Auction for Waterville Public Schools

By Heather Jahrling

Less than five undergraduate universities and colleges in the United States offer an auction class. Therefore, Tim Hubbard’s “Auctions Seminar” in Economics (EC479) offered this fall truly stands out. The course teaches the economics behind auctions but also has a civic engagement component where students design and implement a charity auction. All of the proceeds of the auction go directly to the Waterville Public Schools. The funds will be used to pay off the balances of students on reduced lunch. To find out more about the charity auction and how Colby students and faculty can help, the Echo sat down with Wendy Li ’19, a double major in Studio Art and Economics, who is helping run the auction in order to raise money for this cause.

Li described the reduced lunch situation to the Echo by stating, “when the balances get sufficiently high students are given a “cheese sandwich” lunch which both lacks important nutritional content and can be embarrassing for the children.” The idea of directing the funds for the student’s charity auction originated from Professor Hubbard’s friend Cassie, who is from a family of auctioneers in Waterville. She has been assisting the class for this fundraising event and told students that many of the Waterville Public Schools do not have enough funds and capital each year. As a result, this charity auction has the potential to greatly help the community.

As Li stated, “We hope to raise more than double of the amount we got for funding the auction which is $2500.”

The auction will take place online, with the highest bid winning. An auction is a powerful fundraising tactic because, “people who attend the auction have the incentive to bid higher in a competitive environment, especially for the one-sided auctions,” according to Li. The class recently saw this lesson in person while helping with the 31st Kennebec Montessori School Annual Charity Auction two weeks ago at the Pugh Center. In fact, one of the pieces even sold for $1,000.

However, for this auction to be a success, donations of items that could be auctioned off are greatly needed. Li, being deeply involved with photography and drawing herself at Colby, stated “I know about the amazing content being produced in the art studios at Colby; therefore I thought I’d write to see if anyone would be interested in donating any kinds of artworks like prints, photographs, paintings, or even original artwork to our auction.” Li plans on donating pieces herself, including a selection of her framed photographs. However, the class will also gladly accept other items besides art that can be auctioned off such as gift cards, meal coupons, stationery, shower speakers, Colby-related items, and experiences, such as cooking classes or concert tickets. Last year the items donated ranged from a chess set to a $75.00 gift card to Joseph’s Fireside Steakhouse.

Li told the Echo, “It’s important for Colby students and staff to hopefully join the auction because I think Colby’s civic engagement with the local community is very meaningful, plus it’s connected to such a fascinating and creative economics class at Colby.”

In order for the auction to run smoothly, Li and her classmates all have designated jobs which include asking local businesses to sell or donate goods, posting information online, taking photos, and delivering goods after the auction ends. As Li remarked, “I like economics because it’s really practical and economics is a subject that could be combined with so many other fields of study like art, environmental studies, government, international relations, and more.” As a result, Li highly encourages other Colby students to take Hubbard’s auction class.

In order to virtually attend the auction, which takes place on Nov. 27, please use the link below:

In order to donate (all donations are due by Nov. 26, 2018) or ask additional questions, please contact Wendy Li (wenyi or Professor Tim Hubbard (