In the past few weeks, Seattle Pacific University’s campus has been filled with “returners.”
These include returning students attending classes, returning alumni here for the Grand Reunion, and an event that has finally returned: the Warehouse Fundraiser.
This was an event based in community. The silent auction had products from all over Seattle, including Camden Gardens, the Department of Corrections of Monroe, local designers and more. Bids on gift baskets, an SPU themed Christmas tree, handmade quilts and jewelry ranged anywhere from $30 to $200.
Students involved baked cookies, made pillowcases from scrap, and donated fabrics from the design center.
Alumni gathered and made products to sell both in the silent auction and for general merchandise.
With so many coming together to put together this event, Mia Hays, co-president of Sigma Rho and 1991 alumna, said, “We’re all friends of the university, whether we’re alumni or not.”
And aside from current students and alumni, large local retailers were also generous, donating samples that they had received. SPU was very fortunate to receive such ample donations as big businesses now have the option of selling their samples online and are quite exclusive of who they are given to.
“We thought, ‘Well, let’s give it a try. Let’s contact some big companies and let’s see if they’ll help us out.’ And they did. We had more than enough to work with,” Stephanie Mulvey, chair of the Family and Consumer Science Advisory Board and 1996 alumna, said.
This fundraiser was first hosted in 2002 by student interns Sarah Cronin and Karrie McGregor to raise money for FCS scholarships. The FCS Advisory Board, led by Mulvey, thought this large event has been long overdue.
Mulvey has been planning this event since February of this year, reaching out for donations of apparel, accessories, fabric, gifts and household items. The fundraiser had products ranging from food, antiques, jewelry, novelty and kid’s items, sewing materials, and of course, men’s and women’s apparel. Because all the items were donated, everything had the price of a thrift store but with the label of well-known brands.
Items were marked down, sometimes up to 90 percent. And to kickstart the season of giving, everything, despite where it came from or how much it sold for, went toward helping Family Consumer Science students and the department.
The advisory committee for FCS worked in conjunction with Sigma Rho, SPU’s honorary society with roots in FCS. As co-presidents of Sigma Rho, Hays and Pam Martin are both deeply passionate about SPU’s students and focused on raising money for the Sigma Rho Scholarship Endowment.
“We do it for the students because we have the best students around,” Martin said.
During the past few years, Sigma Rho has hosted their Mistletoe Market fundraiser, which sells home décor, accessories, and other items from local businesses.
“Our mission is to raise money for the endowment as well as to create opportunities for community,” Hays added.
The first day was completely stocked with both merchandise and people, filling the entirety of the lobby and two conjoining rooms of Peterson Hall. On the second day, the remainder of the women’s clothing was consolidated to a table and a few clothes racks.
Throughout the two-day event there was a constant stream of people, which include the Grand Reunion attendees, other alumni, students, faculty, and Queen Anne community members.
Sharayah Silva, a 2017 FCS alumna and member of Sigma Rho, said, “It feels great to contribute to the school in a way that’s bigger than just you.”