The glow of more than 200 jack-o-lanterns lights the stairwells and walkways of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction’s Dudley Courtyard. Architecture students, faculty and staff eagerly await this annual event, and families with children of all ages head to campus every year for the evening’s pumpkin-lighting ceremony.
But Pumpkin Carve is much more than a community event or a bonding opportunity for CADC students. It is also a fundraiser for Auburn’s chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). The event is planned and run entirely by students who keep the day’s activities on schedule while raising money for scholarships and professional development for AIAS members.
Students unload the pumpkins at 7 a.m. This year, professors allowed all first-year pre-architecture students to miss class if they would help unload the pumpkins.
Starting at 9 a.m., students, faculty, staff and community members can pay to carve a pumpkin. Some carve them quickly, while others take all day.
Throughout the school year, AIAS regularly holds a fundraiser called “Dog Days,” where members work the grill to serve up a quick and easy lunch for faculty, staff and students. At Pumpkin Carve, the grill is manned by AIAS Dog Days co-chairs.
One of the most successful fundraising efforts of the day is the Pie-A-Professor silent bidding war. Professors go up for “auction” one at a time, and the highest bidders get to give a faculty member a pie in the face.
Another popular fundraiser is the silent auction for napkin sketches submitted by faculty and alumni. These complex drawings are true art created on the blank canvas of a paper napkin, and attendees use binders to make silent auction bids for their favorite designs. The napkin fetching the highest bid this year went for $35.
At the end of the day, the carved pumpkins are put up for auction. Bids start at $5 each, but the best designs go for a higher price. This year’s most popular jack-o-lantern sold for $20. “Pumpkin Carve helps us fund so many different things,” said event co-chair Emma Newsome. “Last year some of our architecture students were able to attend the South Quad Conference in Savannah, Georgia, without worrying about the costs of lodging and travel. AIAS uses the funds we raise at Pumpkin Carve to cover almost all other expenses we encounter throughout the year.”