The lights dim to a bluish pink color. A male and a female take the stage behind the podium. Everyone in the crowd silences their murmurs as they direct all their attention to the front. The announcers’ voices cue the start of Alpha Tau Omega’s Miss CofC Beauty Pageant, prompting the crowd to scream in Greek-affiliated unison for their sorority or fraternity’s candidate.
On College of Charleston’s campus, Greek life holds all kinds of cliché stereotypes.
From assumptions about party lifestyles to mean members with deep pockets, there always seems to be more negative opinions on Greek life than positive ones. What tends to be overlooked is how dedicated each sorority and fraternity is to their philanthropy.
Thursday March 30, ATO hosted a beauty pageant in Sottile Theater to raise money for their
philanthropy Be the Match. Be the Match is a nonprofit organization operated by the National Marrow Donor Program that finds matches for individuals in need of bone marrow transplants. The organization hits especially close to home for the fraternity, as one of their brothers needed a bone marrow transplant and, thanks to Be the Match, received one and is still living today. All throughout last week they collected money in Cougar Mall, allowing each participating Greek group to vote for their contestant in the pageant through monetary donations.
The pageant ran just as swiftly and professionally as any high class pageant would. Every Panhellenic sorority and a couple of fraternities nominated a female representative for their organization and then tried to out yell their opponents when cheering for their participant at the event. Special guest Rachel Wyatt, Miss South Carolina and first-runner up in the Miss USA pageant, co-hosted the event with sophomore ATO Andrew Julian. Her bubbly personality encouraged each contestant, and, combined with Julian’s smooth jokes, kept the audience entertained. She even surprised the audience with a perfectly curated dance number. Competition wise, the energy level stayed high as every contestant strutted, danced or sang for the audience during swimsuit, formalwear, question and talent rounds.
Not all of the talent portions were
predictable: a martial arts performance from Sigma Delta Tau’s candidate and a ballet number from Alpha Delta Pi’s serve as memorable examples of breaking the status pageant quo.
Although it was a competition between organizations, what mattered the most was raising money for such a good cause. Still, the results cannot be ignored. After all votes were counted, Alpha Delta Pi came out victorious, with Sigma Alpha Epsilon as first runner up and Chi Omega as second.
At the end of the night, after the votes were tallied, all the cheers and enthusiasm drowned out everything else. A united chorus elicited from the crowed, bringing the separate Greek organizations together as one. Take away the friendly competition, and they might as well have been. Everyone in attendance was there to support the cause on top of their Greek affiliation. What matters is the support and dedication that the College’s Greek life shows toward their own philanthropy and everyone else’s.