Trivia night fundraiser supports the Channing Murray Foundation


Maria Rubin de Celis

On Saturday, the Channing Murray Foundation hosted a trivia night to raise funds for their programming, as well as the preservation of their building on Oregon Street, which houses The Red Herring Restaurant.

By Maria Rubin De Celis

The main hall of Red Herring Restaurant in Urbana was filled with purple, gold and green Saturday night. Hushed murmurs of secretive team members sharing answers could be heard in the room amid the shuffle of feet walking over to a table dotted with an array of desserts.

The sights and sounds of the night belonged to a trivia night fundraiser hosted by the Channing Murray Foundation, a Unitarian ministry on campus. The organization hosted its first fundraiser Saturday night to raise money for their programming, as well as the preservation of their building on Oregon Street.

The Channing Murray Foundation is an organization filled with a rich history of activism and has been present on the University campus in conjunction with the Unitarian Universalist Church in Urbana, whose principles of service are woven throughout everything they do.

“We follow the principles of environmental stewardship, social justice … and have been involved with civil rights,” Carolyn Knox, a board member for the foundation said.

Knox, who has been a member of the volunteer board for Channing Murray since January, said that the foundation features cultural, religious and artistic programs that promote service and activism, noting that the Red Herring Restaurant, which they are affiliated with, is home to many opportunities.

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“The Channing Murray Foundation has student theater groups that perform there, music groups that perform there, there are artists and art exhibits there in the Red Herring,” she said.

To keep up this programming in the building, the board began strategically planning fundraisers for improvements to the building.

Being one of the first fundraisers in a while, the trivia night was meticulously planned. For a couple months leading up to it, members of the board discussed and agreed on themes, prizes, and events that could incorporate the organization’s values in a fun atmosphere.

Because March is Women’s History Month, the committee carefully chose things that reflected women’s history. Everything was purposeful to this theme, even including the décor of the space.

“Since it’s Women’s History Month, our decorations are all purple, green and gold because they’re suffragist colors,” Knox said.

Amanda Owings, another board member for Channing Murray, said the theme led to ideas that would further intertwine Women’s History Month with the foundation’s heart for activism.

“The theme I came up with was dress up as your favorite activist,” Owings said, wearing bunny ears that reflected her favorite suffragist Gloria Steinem. Steinem, a women’s rights activist, uncovered the demanding conditions of being a Playboy Bunny in 1963.

Owings, graduate student in LAS, said the trivia night took hours of planning and help from volunteers and board members.

“I’ve been here since 1 o’clock today (for the event that started at 7 p.m.), and there were people here since last night,” she said.

Her load was made easier with willing volunteers.

“A lot of these volunteers actually helped me out and do a lot of the planning,” she said.

The planning and preparation of the trivia night was well received Saturday, with teams participating and supporting the event wholeheartedly.

Chelsea Wright, a participant in the trivia night, said that she and her friends had a good time supporting the Channing Murray Foundation at the fundraiser.

“We heard about (the trivia night) from (a friend), and I was involved in high school and am familiar with the Unitarian Universalist Church,” she said.

A team member with her group of friends, Wright actively participated in the Women’s History themed fun, even pulling ahead of some of the other teams in the trivia competition.

Though a modest crowd for their first fundraiser, members of the Channing Murray Foundation were eager for the future of fundraising for their organization.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done this, so I think we’re going to do it again,” Knox said.

The importance of carrying out Channing Murray’s mission is near to the hearts of the volunteers involved.

“Channing Murray is a family. It’s quite unusual to have such a supportive group that cares about each other and cares about helping others,” Knox said.

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