Auction Raises $50,000 for Public Interest Grants Rock-a-PILA Raises More Than $2,000

November 13, 2008

The student-run Public Interest Law Association raised more than $50,000 at its annual auction and dance Saturday to fund fellowships for students who work in public interest positions over the summer.

Students bid at the annual Public Interest Law Association auction.

More than 620 people attended the event at Fry's Spring Beach Club, which featured an "Oscar Night" theme and law professors Greg Mitchell and Charles Barzun serving as auctioneers.

"I am incredibly proud and excited at what a huge success this year's Auction turned out to be," said PILA President Rebecca Vallas. "We are so grateful for the Law School's support, especially in these tough economic times, when PILA needs it more than ever."

PILA's fundraising efforts are matched dollar for dollar by the Law School Foundation. Last summer PILA funded fellowships for 72 law students and spent a record $350,000 on grants.

Greg Mitchell

"Without the support and generosity of the law school community, PILA would simply not be able to award grants to the many deserving students who take unpaid and low-paying summer jobs in the public sector," Vallas said.

Students bid on items ranging from a spa stay in Colorado, to front-row box tickets for the Kirov Ballet at the Kennedy Center, to desirable parking passes in the Law School lots. But the biggest-selling item was a Super Bowl party for 60 students catered and attended by Mitchell, which sold for $3,700.

Other top items were Professor Anne Coughlin's graduation dinner for six students and their guests, which sold for $2,700, and a one-week stay anywhere in the world, which sold for $2,100.

Charles Barzun

First-year sections competed to offer items for bidding, including chauffeur service (complete with faux British accent and costume); babysitting and pet-sitting services; and golf, poker, guitar and language lessons. Local businesses and firms also donated items for the auction, including items ranging from gift certificates for local products to tickets to NBA basketball games.

Some of the more unusual items included secrets from Wolfgang Puck's kitchen (from a former Spago busboy), Career Services Senior Assistant Dean Steve Hopson's iPod music collection, and a session on gemology and jewelry-making. Numerous professors donated hosting duties for dinners or wine tastings.

"Rock-a-PILA" contestants Aaron Weiner, Caitlin Stapleton, Jay Anderson

Vallas said PILA is always looking for new ways to raise money. A few weeks ago the organization sponsored a new fundraising event called "Rock-a-PILA," a battle-of-the-bands competition featuring the "Rockband" video game.

Students in more than 16 "bands" dressed the part for the night of the competition at Wild Wings Café, with professors Jim Ryan, George Cohen, John Setear and Brandon Garrett serving as judges. "People had such a good time," Vallas said - and the event raised more than $2,000.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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