Story by Kelsey Grapperhaus, Staff writer
In this year’s Sigma Alpha’s annual Stud Auction, some changes have been made to involve the members and residents of Bright Life Farms, a group home and farm for disabled adults, in this professional agriculture sorority’s philanthropy event, Stud Auction, where fraternity men are auctioned off to the audience for the chance of a date.
Reaching out to as many members of the organization as possible, Sigma Alpha plans on having as many residents possible from Bright Life Farms to attend the auction.
“Having residents of the farm in attendance can help participants and my sisters within Sigma Alpha to see how precious life is and that it’s the little things that really matter,” said Abby Morris, a junior agribusiness major from Benton, Kentucky,
“I know if I am giving to a philanthropy, I like knowing exactly what it is benefiting so just seeing how happy the residents get while at the event will be very moving for all,” said Morris, who also served Sigma Alphas philanthropy committee two years prior.
Bright Life Farms is a faith-based non-profit home and farm, located in Princeton, Kentucky. “The group home houses mentally or developmentally challenged adults, who are 18 years and older, and who can do a lot of things but should just never live alone,” according to Bright Life Farm’s website.
The informational website also says that adults who live in the group home are provided with “an environment of freedom in the boundaries of safety and responsibility of their actions, as well as their needs. They will be given choices, enlightening those who love them and shining brightly in the community.”
“The thing that sets Bright Life apart from other group homes is their focus on using agriculture practices to help each resident learn the value of self-sufficiency through raising agriculture animals and crops,” said Shelby Fuhr, junior and philanthropy chairwoman from Columbia, Illinois.
In addition to donating all proceeds from the philanthropy event to Bright Life Farms, Sigma Alpha also makes an annual donation of $1,000.
Last spring semester, the sisters of Sigma Alpha received the opportunity to go to Princeton, where they were able to walk through the group home to experience what it is like to live on the farm as one of its residents.
“It was a really amazing experience to see where all of the money we raise goes towards,” Delaney Brown, junior from Indianapolis, said. “It’s one thing to send a check, but to be able to see what the money is used for was eye opening and inspired myself, and the girls who visited, to raise more for them.”
Having a younger sister with special needs, Brown has always been involved with volunteering and working with kids who have disabilities.
“A lot of those kids are only children, which allows their parents to focus on the care of that one child, but often times they are put in a group home with other handicapped adults,” Brown said. “I can tell you that a lot of these homes are not in great shape.”
However, Brown said that her experience on the farm during the previous semester really impressed her, saying that they had “amazing interactive opportunities for the residents” as well as room for them to take walks, host group dances, and to even attend worship and counseling sessions.
“I am by no means an expert when it comes to group homes,” Brown said. “But I can say that this was the most impressive group home I’ve seen with some of the most caring staff and I look forward to raising more money for these adults and going back for many more visits!”
Local community members, students and Greek life members get to raise their paddles to bid on contestants on Tuesday at the William “Bill” Cherry Agricultural Exposition Center, located on College Farm Road. Check-ins for participants will start at 6 p.m. and the event will begin shortly after at 6:30 p.m.
Organizations all across campus have been encouraged by Sigma Alpha to nominate a stud. The cost to enter a stud in the auction is $30 for the first and $15 for each additional stud.
Morris said that even though they currently only have eight pre-registered contestants, Sigma Alpha expects several more studs to sign up to register the day of the event to be auctioned off, where they will have a $10 late fee.
For bidders, paddles will be provided at the door for a bidding fee of $1.
The auction will begin with a parade of studs to be introduced to the audience, followed by each stud having their own individual introduction to a song they will have chosen beforehand, and then auctioned off by this year’s auctioneer, Emily Hume, a senior from Taylorsville, Kentucky.
After the auction, information will be given to winning bidders upon purchase of their date and on Thursday, Oct. 22, there will be a date night for all purchased studs and their winning bidder(s).
Murray State’s Sigma Alpha professional agriculture sorority encourages the Murray community to show support for their organization and have fun while bidding on dates with “some of Murray State’s finest.”