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CSU's Women's Forum holds annual cook-off, auction today

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

There will be chili available for tasting today -- 20, 14-quart crock pots of it, in the lobby of the James M. Baker University Center at Clayton State.

The university's Women's Forum is hosting its fourth annual chili cook-off from 11:30 a.m., to 1 p.m., in commons area of the university center. The event is a fund-raiser for the Women's Forum Scholarship Fund, which helps female students pay tuition costs.

There will be a wide range of chili available at the cook-off, from veggie chili to spicy chili, said Alina Brooks, an administrative assistant, who is also co-chair of the online auction.

In the past, the cook-off has even attracted a cook who made chili that included deer meat.

A committee of judges will taste each cook's entry at 10:30 a.m., and give the "Judge's Choice Award" to the favorite dish. There also is an award for the "People's Choice" of chili.

The community can show its support by spending $5 for a bowl of chili, cheese, chips, crackers, a drink and a dessert. Or, the public can support the scholarship fund by participating in an online auction, which ends today, at 2 p.m.

The auction is the main part of the annual fund-raising effort. "This is the one fund-raiser the Women's Forum has that raises money for its scholarships," Brooks said. Last year's auction recorded more than $6,000.

This year's auction includes wine glasses, Japanese sake sets, figurines, military-themed blankets, and gift certificates. The item with the highest starting bid is a round of golf for two at Barnsley Garden Resort in Adairsville. No one had bid on the trip, worth $250, as of Tuesday, but the starting bid was $100. Anyone interested in bidding on an item can go to the auction at www.clayton.edu.

The auction was first held six years ago, when the program was in its infancy.

The Women's Forum began as an initiative of Clayton State President Thomas Harden. The forum meets once a month, and features a female speaker, who talks about her career, and offers inspiration to females.

Past speakers include Clayton County Judge Daphne Walker, former Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox, and Marilyn Haas, president of the Elements of Design Graphic Studio.

"It was created to empower women, and inspire them to be successful," Brooks said.