Big Man Off Campus event raises money for the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation

By Emma Russell

Student Life Editor

On Friday, Oct. 23 Zeta Tau Alpha held their Big Man Off campus event via Zoom.

Known as Big Man On Campus, the event shifted online because of COVID-19. 

According to Zeta’s fundraising page for the event Big Man Off Campus “will showcase the multi-talented Washington College students in an unforgettable and exhilarating male beauty pageant.”

Tickets for the event were $5 for students with all the proceeds going straight to the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation which “supports scholarships, educational programming, leadership development, and our fight against breast cancer.”

The event was hosted by senior Zeta sisters Hayley Wilt and Kamdyn Finney.

“We have an incredible group of guys participating this year and they’re all really excited to compete for the prestigious title of Big Man Off Campus,” Wilt said in her opening statement.

10 men were nominated by different sponsors for the competition including sophomore Zachary Papathedorou, juniors Lenny Brogen, Bryce Robertson, Max Moore, and seniors Brett Edwards, Josh Gastineau, Noah Frebert, Will Reid, Mark Cooley, and Jack Peterson

Big Man wasn’t the only title the contestants were competing for, they were also trying to win titles such as Best Talent, Crowd Favorite, Best Leg Up, and Mr. Think Pink.

The talent portion of the competition showed a wide range of talents, from Cooley editing a video to make it appear as if he was performing “Heartless” by Kanye West on America’s Got Talent, to Reid singing a heartfelt rendition of “Your Song” by Elton John, to Gastineau demonstrating how to make different kinds of balloon animals

The Zoom audience was very active using the chat to express their opinions.

“He deserves that standing ovation” said sophomore Julia Totis about Cooley’s performance.

“Once in a lifetime experience,” said senior Will Rotsch referring to Reid’s rendition.  

Gastineau’s balloon animal demonstration even got fellow contestant Papathedorou to make some balloon animals of his own right on the spot, much to the audience’s delight.

There were some technical problems, causing videos to glitch which led to some impromptu live performances, such as those from Brogen and Papathedorou. Brogen sang “The House of the Rising Sun,” an old folk song, while he played on the guitar and Papathedorou ended up performing the Animaniacs’ “Nations of the World” live.

“I’m kinda grateful that the video froze. Yeah sure, the video would’ve also been impressive, but any schmutz with time and a script could’ve done it and I was worried people would think that that was like, take twenty-six instead of take four and that I had the lyrics in front of me instead of memorized,” Papathedorou said.

The winner of the Best Talent portion was Robertson, who demonstrated how to make bananas foster, his favorite dessert. 

Finney said that the Best Leg Up award is, “determined by which leg picture generates the most interest and is voted on by all of you [the audience].” 

This year’s Best Leg Up award was won by Frebert who said he actually put a lot of work into this, along with some help from his mother, who suggested he wear her jean shorts for the photo.

“They put it up to the next level,” Frebert said. 

Another award determined by the audience was the Crowd Favorite, awarded to Cooley.

Up next was the Mr. Think-Pink award. According to Wilt, “This award goes to the guy who has shown the most philanthropic Zeta spirit.”

Mr. Think-Pink 2020 was awarded to Moore who advised people to keep donating and said if there were any people who were interested, they should give the Big Man competition a chance next year. 

The winner of Big Man Off Campus was Papathedorou.

“This is a great show, and all the guys here you did great. Really, I was worried… Mark and Will in particular I felt gave me a real run for my money. I was also worried because all the other guys were wearing suits and their hair done and had clearly been taking care of their physiques, even in quarantine, while I did absolutely none of those things. I was in my pajamas, I haven’t seen a barber since February and I exercised for the first time in a long time a month ago for about 10 minutes and then I collapsed,” Papathedorou said. “But really this has been a wonderful fundraiser for a great cause, thank you all so much.”

Zeta beat their goal, raising $2, 400 for the Zeta Tau Alpha foundation.

Both Wilt and Finney deemed the virtual event a success but are hopeful that this will be the first and last Big Man Off Campus event.

Above, winner of Big Man Off Campus Zachary Papathedorou. Featured Photo caption: Zeta Tau Alpha’s introduction to Big Man Off Campus. Photos by Izze Rios.

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