By Max Benoit
Entirely East Lansing
Hundreds of people gathered at MSU’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center to find bargains on great travel packages and other items at Saturday’s Destination Auction.
The Destination Auction took place this past weekend and featured both a live auction and silent auction. It is the premier fundraising event for the School of Hospitality Business at MSU. The 25th annual event was run entirely by MSU students and raised money for the School of Hospitality Business as well as the alumni association and two local charities.
“We donate to the Junior League of Lansing and the MSUFCU Institute for arts and creativity at the Wharton Center,” said Sammi Miller, a senior in the School of Hospitality Business as well as the chief executive officer for the event. “We do a reception for (Junior League) before the event. So they all come out, it’s put on by the students, and they get to eat and mingle and we say hello. We donate $1,500 to them every year.”
This year the Destination Auction had a total revenue that exceeded $100,000. The highest total ever in the 25 year history of the event.
Some of the items up for auction included sports memorabilia signed by MSU head coaches Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo, restaurant gift cards, and hotel stays. The majority of the restaurant and hotel packages are donated by former members of MSU’s School of Hospitality Business.
“There are things like iPad bundles and really cool merchandise like beer gift baskets and small things the MSU dairy store donates,” said Kristie Duve, a senior in the School of Hospitality Business as well as a chief operating officer for
the event. “It’s so small to so large. There really is no specific category, but it’s all hospitality based.”
This year’s auction, which was circus themed, set the event apart from other auctions. There were life sized cutouts of a ringleader and lion for you to take your picture in as well as a popcorn stand.
“It’s very festive. It’s very fun. It’s something that I don’t think a lot of people get to come to auctions like this,” said Joe Saari, who is a buyer in the automotive industry from Royal Oak, Michigan. “It’s kind of different. It brings a lot of excitement to it.”
Pat Strzalkowski, a marketing director from Holt, likes the atmosphere of the auction as well.
“It’s fun. They’ve changed it up a little bit this year with the circus atmosphere but it’s fun. Everyone is looking for a bargain and having fun,” Strzalkowski said.
Saari is one of several people that has attended theDestination Auction multiple times.
“This is my third or fourth year coming to this auction,” Saari said. “I found out about it through a friend originally actually. It’s a fun event and it supports some good causes. There’s an opportunity to get some fantastic trips for not that much money.”
Heidi McNaughton is a native of East Lansing who works in financial services. McNaughton has been to the event before and enjoys looking for travel packages.
“I’ve been here numerous times before,” said Heidi McNaughton. “One of my friends is involved with organizing the event. And both of us like to travel so we thought that it would be a great opportunity for us to get travel bargains.”
This year was Linda Cullimore’s first year at the
auction. Cullimore is from Haslett and said that she has already won a two night stay at a Hilton Head Resort.
“I’m surprised at all the options that are available,” Cullimore said. “So all the options, everything are just like ‘oh my gosh.’ Where else can you pick up, if my bid held, two nights at a Ritz Carlton for $150?”
Saari thinks that people should come out to the event because they may end up with a travel package to somewhere that they may have never thought they could go to.
“I would suggest coming up because it is a very fun event and there are a lot of different things that you can see and there are lot of different places to go,” Saari said. “Some places that you may have never imagined. It’s an opportunity for people to experience something they may otherwise not see.”
McNaughton expressed why she enjoys the Destination Auction so much.
“It’s a good community event. It’s good to have something going on with the university,” McNaughton said. “It’s nice to see that the school of hospitality is continuing to make this event happen. This is the 25th year. It’s nice to see that it continues.”
Duve said that at the end of the day the Destination Auction is still just an auction. People once again got a great deal on many packages.
“It makes it stand out from any other kind of auction,” Duve said. “It makes it worth it. They know where their money is going and it’s going to a good cause. Not only to the students but the charities. That’s a big part of it.”