Every year, UCLA’s ASDA Chapter hosts an annual fundraiser in the form of a silent auction. Faculty members volunteer to host an event, and students can bid on those events. This year, 26 activities were auctioned off to over 100 students in the dental school! I found it interesting to learn about faculty members’ various hobbies, which many decide to ‘donate’ to the ASDA fundraiser. For example, two faculty joined forces to auction off a morning of cycling from Westwood to Palos Verdes, and another faculty member auctioned off day of beekeeping with her and her husband. There were also LA-specific events, like a ticket to LACMA or dinner at an upscale downtown restaurant.
The auction transpired over the course of three days, although the bidding frenzy took off during the final fifteen minutes of the third day. Students huddled around auction lists, and prices skyrocketed. Technically, there was only one pen per auction list, but students started pulling out their own pens to scribble down their name (and a higher bid) every time another classmate out-bid them. It was a sight to see. In most cases, multiple students could win the auctioned item, which added to the experience for both students and faculty. The faculty member(s) could get to know more students, and students from across the years also could mingle with each other too.
As one of the students who bid in the auction, I had the opportunity to go hiking with two classmates and a Periodontics professor, Dr. Do. We planned to carpool out to Pasadena and hike Inspiration Point, working up an appetite to eat soup dumplings in Arcadia’s Din Tai Fung afterwards. What began as a seemingly moderate 9-mile loop wound up being a pretty strenuous 12.5 mile hike. Did we feel inspired when we reached the peak? Not particularly … but we did feel accomplished! Afterwards, we made our way to Din Tai Fung, which still had a 1-hour wait. (Side note: The soup dumplings are worth the wait and deserve the Michelin star. Wayne, pictured below, agrees.)
The 10-hour excursion was both exhausting and rewarding. I enjoyed getting to know two upperclassmen, Kearny and Wayne, as well as Dr. Do in a more informal setting. For any UCLA dental students who are thinking of bidding next year, I recommend it. The auction gives us a unique opportunity to get to know our professors, even those we haven’t had yet, on a deeper level. Thank you to UCLA ASDA for hosting such a successful fundraiser!