Mr. UAA: best of the boys

And there he is. Walking on air, he is. Fairest of the fair, he is. There he is … Mr. UAA?

The Mr. UAA Pageant, organized by UAA’s branch of the sorority Sigma Sigma Sigma, or Tri-Sigma, will be held in the Social Sciences Building (SSB) on Thursday from 7-9 p.m.

“Mr. UAA” is a semi-annual Tri-Sigma fundraiser. Proceeds in the past have gone to the Providence Children’s Hospital.

“This year, we’ve changed it so that we’re donating it to the Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation, which does that but at a national level,” said Rori Redick, a civil engineering senior and member of Tri-Sigma who helped organize the first event in 2008. “It also supports scholarships for Sigma women and underprivileged women; it’s a broader range of topics than just the children.”

The initial idea to host a pageant as a fundraiser came to Redick and Tri-Sigma sister Kaela Hartman, because they were already involved in local pageants.

“One of the pageant systems we participate in, their philanthropy is the Children’s Hospital Miracle Network, and we thought it would be a fun way to bring our sisters into community service that we were already doing,” said Redick. “We thought it would be a fun way to raise money for our (Tri-Sigma’s) philanthropy, which is supporting child play therapy.”

The first event was held in a classroom in Rasmuson Hall and only had three men participating. The audience was small as well, but Redick is happy with the money they raised that day.

“The first time we raised over $500, and it was matched by the university*,” she said.

The categories for “Mr. UAA” are a costume contest, talent exhibition, eveningwear and a question and answer session.

“I like the talent (portion); last year, the winner Andrew, you would never expect him to do what he’d done. He’s actually a really good dancer, but just looking at him, you’ve wouldn’t have thought that,” said Amanda Shoup, a biological science and natural science senior, who is the philanthropy chair for Tri-Sigma and event coordinator. “It’s really interesting, the things that people are capable of doing.”

During an intermission, a panel of judges outside of Tri-Sigma from around the university chooses the top contestants for each category, and the overall winner is crowned Mr. UAA after the break during coronation. Prizes include gift certificates from local restaurants and businesses.

Similar to how other pageants are conducted, the men participating don’t compete against one another.

“They’re not supposed to ever be compared to each other, just on themselves and how the judges feel that one specific individual did on their own, and how well they were put together as a package,” said Redick.

Despite a hiatus in 2010, the event has remained steady since its first year. But there are hopes for growth.

“Last year we only had three contestants, and this year I’ve already had six guys contact me about participating, so I’m hoping it’s a lot bigger than last time,” said Shoup.

Redick hopes to grow the event even further.

“We’ve talked about making it a Mr. Anchorage pageant and trying to open it up to the rest of the community. Unfortunately, to do that, you have to make it grow beyond the Greek system at UAA, and that’ll take a couple of years,” said Redick. “I hope to still be involved in this after I graduate, just because it’s kind of a brainchild (of mine).”

“Mr. UAA” will be held in Room 118 of the SSB on Thursday, Nov. 8 from 7-9 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. You can purchase advance tickets online at http://trisigma.ticketleap.com/mruaa2012/. For more information, contact Amanda Shoup at shoup_amanda@hotmail.com.

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