Annual gala held at Hart House to raise funds and awareness for human trafficking

On Thursday, January 19th, 2017, Love146 – University of Toronto Chapter and New College Student Council (NCSC) co-hosted The Red and Blue Gala in The Great Hall of Hart House to raise awareness for human trafficking and fundraise for the chapter’s parent organization, Love146.

Approximately 150 students attended The Red and Blue Gala, with half of all ticket sales revenue going towards the parent organization, Love146. Love146 is an international human rights organization that strives to abolish human trafficking and child exploitation through prevention and caring for survivors. Love146 Chapters aid their parent organization by fundraising and donating, and spreading news of the movement.

Away from The Great Hall, a polaroid photo booth and raffle stand were set up in the Founders’ Prayer Hallway for students who desired an area to relax and socialize with other guests. Many students participated in purchasing raffle tickets because of the array of attractive raffle prizes. The wagered raffle prizes included: a Starbucks chocolate and coffee set, Swarovski jewelry, two tickets to the CN Tower, and two Toronto Raptors tickets.

The Great Hall was dimly lit with candles, casting a warm and alluring light among the crowd of guests, dancing in sync with throwback tunes from the early 2000s. Most guests dressed accordingly, incorporating red and blue in their formal attire. While few were accompanied by dates, many attended with groups of their friends, enjoying a night away from everyday responsibilities.

Yue, a first-year student, enthused over the location of The Red and Blue gala in particular said: “It’s so good. I’ve never been to Hart House before. It’s different from the other buildings. This is a good time. I’ll definitely come back [to another one of Love146’s gala].”

An inviting bar stood near the entrance of the Hall, offering students cold refreshments while charging $5 for all alcoholic beverages. Throughout the night, wait staff sauntered along the perimeter of the Hall, enticing students with hors d’oeuvres catered by Hart House Meeting and Event.

Aristo, a student at New College stated, “It would be nice if there were more people and more alcohol. The raffle prizes look great. I’m having a good time.”

Compared to the University of Toronto Love146 Chapter’s debut gala in 2015, the turnout of students was smaller. When asked about the decreased attendance, Sandy, co-president of UofT’s Love146 chapter, stated it was because the gala was hosted on a Thursday instead of a Friday. She further explained that the reason the gala was held on a Thursday was because The Great Hall was fully booked until March 2017.

Nearing the end of the evening, raffle winners were announced and prizes were distributed accordingly. The event came to an end at the strike of midnight, providing commuter students enough time to safely return home. Overall, the gala was a success in its fundraising and spreading the chapter’s message to its guests against issues of human trafficking.

For more information about the University of Toronto’s Love146 Chapter, visit their website, or their Facebook page.