There is nothing quite like a global health crisis to get the winds of change to start blowing.
The University of Jamestown is rolling with it.
UJ's annual Dine and Bid event has been moved to a virtual platform due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Dine and Bid, originally scheduled for April 18, has been moved to May 30.
"For the 34 years, the (UJ Dine and Bid event) has been happening it has kind of become a well-oiled machine," said Setareh Campion, UJ director of alumni relations. "We have the silent auction, we have a great dinner, we have entertainment and then we have this awesome live auction. This year it has been completely flipped upside down. We are working really hard to continue to maintain what has worked really well, what's been successful and what gets people to come out and have fun."
Viewers can tune into the livestream event hosted by UJ President Polly Peterson, Brett Moser, UJ vice president of development and alumni relations, and Campion. Campion and Moser said the livestreamed event hosted by the Jimmies' administration is one of the biggest changes to the format of the night. The livestream will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
"I think for the people that jump in and embrace it, it will be a fun time," Moser said.
Campion said the response to the change in platforms has been well received by the community. The university has yet to determine who exactly will embrace the changes and who will pine for tradition.
"Dine and Bid is a combination of an older generation that has been coming for years and the younger families, professionals and alumni in town," Moser said. "One of those crowds is very accustomed to using technology and one of them isn't but is growing each and every day. I always say we don't give our older generation enough credit when they use technology - they can adapt."
A 90-minute livestream isn't the only thing attendees will have to adapt to. The university is also implementing online bidding for the silent and live auctions. The bidding will open May 25 and will conclude after the event itself has closed on May 30.
"The question in the last few years has been 'what would online bidding look like?'" Campion said. "The event is awesome and it has continued to be awesome but it's 2020 and we still did paper bids. We see a lot of other events going toward that mobile option. We weren't planning to do it this year so we are kind of being forced to try something new this year that I think could even flow into the years to come."
A switch in platforms was unexpected but not completely unwelcome. Still, UJ is working to keep ahold of the older traditions.
"We'll still be doing the live auction, we'll still be doing some entertainment, we're encouraging people to get together in small groups that are COVID approved and enjoy the livestream event and we're still doing a live auction," Campion said. "It's changed in the sense this year that obviously we can't meet at the Newman (Arena) and we can't have fun in person but we can have fun virtually. We are going to do everything we can to see that a virtual event is sufficient for having a good time."
Campion said the university has received donations - either for the auctions or simply cash funds - from over 150 supporters. Items up for auction include kitchen wares, hunting and fishing gear, Jamestown College memorabilia, paintings, trips to local businesses and preferred parking at the Harold Newman Arena and the Reiland Fine Arts Center.
"We have a fully stocked auction this year," Campion said. "There are some of the classic favorites that are at the Dine and Bid every year. We are coming up on 125 items and new items are still being added every day."
Campion and Moser said the typical experience packages will take a little bit of a different form this year as traveling during the pandemic is discouraged by health officials. While there will not be as many trips and experiences on the table Campion did say some donors are keeping the events on the table and becoming more flexible with the dates. A trip to Belize and Washington, D.C., will be available to bid on.
All the proceeds raised will be used for student scholarships. Moser said due to the pandemic the university is grateful for whatever funds are raised. The event raised $265,000 last year and Moser said he is hoping to raise at least $200,000 for the UJ student scholarship funds. Campion said now more than ever, students and families have faced monetary roadblocks. Campion and Moser asked the community to find ways to give what they are able.
"I am hoping it is a huge success," Campion said of the event. "This is one of our biggest fundraisers that the university puts on and we are raising money for student scholarships so I am hopeful we don't see a huge dip in our fundraising efforts. I am hopeful that people will still come out and still bid on items and that we will still raise a ton of money for students."
To register for mobile bidding, and the online auction and event, go to, go to https://bit.ly/3cXCPk9 or text dineandbid2020 to 243725.