Love lottery prevails despite past controversy

Austin Mariasy

Hundreds of people filled the Schwartz Center with cheers and exuberance for the third annual love lottery. Black United Students hosts the event every year as a fundraising event for charity.

The event started off with a choreographed dance performed by a dance team and then the contestants entered. They danced from the back of the auditorium to the front, women on the left and men on the right. Once they reached the stage, they performed a choreographed dance, and then the event officially started.

Ayinde Lockett-Palmer, a sophomore fashion merchandising major, had a friend competing in the love lottery. She planned on bidding on her friend and spending the night with her and some other friends.

“I like coming to events and seeing people,” Lockett-Palmer said.

Antony Fresh and Deondre Washington hosted the event and introduced each contestant. There were 19 contestants, and each one erformed a short dance to “show what they got.” Then the questions started.

Each audience member was given a pamphlet and inside was a list of preapproved questions they could ask the contestant to see if they was a good match for a date. Some of the questions were: “What are your three best qualities?” and “What book or documentary changed your life?”

The organizers of the event asked that audience members only ask questions from the pamphlet as to keep things safe and enjoyable for everyone involved. 

Simone Sollisch, a senior psychology major, has the same friend as Lockett-Palmer, but Sollisch is a transfer student and is trying to get more involved on campus. She said she came to the love lottery instead of the women’s basketball game because she doesn’t “know anyone on the basketball team, and this is for charity.”

Last year, the love lottery was met with some controversy after a white woman was told she could not bid during the event due to historical implications. BUS President Chynna Baldwin said the controversy last year was not started by BUS because the person who denied the white woman was not part of the executive board.

Baldwin said anyone is welcome to bid this year because all the money is going to charity, and she acknowledges and appreciates the allies in the community who want to enjoy a fun night. She also said that any contestant who was uncomfortable with a white person bidding on their time could say so, and they would honor that request.

CJ Owensby, a sophomore political science major, said he would have let a white person bid on his time.

“This event is for everyone — black, green, red or blue, it’s for everybody,” he said.

After completing the bidding, the contestants went on a BUS-sanctioned date in Oscar Ritchie Hall with the highest bidder.

All proceeds from the event will go to 100 Black Men of America.

Austin Mariasy is the diversity reporter. Contact him at [email protected].