Big Man on Campus raises funds for Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation

By Heather Fabritze
Elm Staff Writer

The Zeta Tau Alpha Gamma Beta chapter hosted their annual Pink Out Week in support of breast cancer awareness, leading to their male beauty pageant, Big Man on Campus 2021.

ZTA held Pink Out Week from Oct. 18 to Oct. 22. Each day included a different event to raise proceeds for the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation, which, according to ZTA’s Crowdchange, supports scholarships, education programming, and leadership development in the fight against breast cancer.

The Crowdchange has a goal of $4,000.

Various events throughout the week included a bake sale, candy gram sale, and a lollipop tree, all in Hodson Hall.

Junior and ZTA Philanthropy Chair Kristina Curley loved that, due to Washington College’s size, it’s easier to get students involved with Pink Out Week via tabling.

“Pink Out Week helps us to get the whole campus involved in our philanthropy, breast cancer awareness and education,” Curley said. “The amount of support we get from the WC community is absolutely amazing.”

The week culminated with Big Man on Campus, which began at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 in the Alonzo G. and Virginia Gent Decker Theatre in the Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts.

The event was hosted by ZTA sisters and seniors Katherine Desrosiers and Ana Gansz, and included 10 male students from various organizations and classes on campus, as well as their ZTA sponsors.

Contestants included sophomores Rodger Ecker and John DeSoto; juniors Alex Wilsey, Noah Vargas, Dylan Snow, Gage Mandrell, and Jastin Garcia-Mendoza; and seniors Bryce Robertson, Lenny Brogen, and Nate Braddock.

Junior and ZTA Co-Director of philanthropy Lexi Meola felt that having a variety of guys on stage made the event more entertaining for everyone involved.

 “We have some from Greek life organizations, we have some from athletics, we have some from SGA, SEB,” Meola said. “We tried to outreach as much as we could so that it would kind of cover campus in a way that you most likely know at least one of those guys on stage.”

The theme of Big Man this year was “Zeta’s Got Talent.” Based on “America’s Got Talent,” the judges, which included a sister from each sorority on campus and the Director of Student Engagement Antoine Jordan ’12, were given a larger speaking role this year than in past years.

This included the opportunity for Q&A prior to each talent. Intro videos made by the contestants also played before each performance.

Music-based talents included Mandrell’s dance to the “Napoleon Dynamite” choreography, DeSoto’s skills on the piano, and Brogen singing and playing on the guitar a self-made mashup of various songs, including “Wagon Wheel” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

Other, more outlandish performances included Garcia-Mendoza’s animal jokes and impressions, and Wilsey’s dog training demonstration featuring a stuffed animal.

Lip-sync performances were also popular this year, with Ecker’s lip-sync rendition of “Glamorous” by Fergie, Roberton’s performance of “TiK ToK” by Ke$ha, and Snow’s version of “Chicago” from the TV show “Victorious.”

At the end of the day, Braddock victoriously took home the Golden Buzzer award — an award decided entirely by Jordan — with his dramatic rendition of “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” by Shania Twain, featuring costume changes.

Other awards included Best Leg Up, an award in which the audience votes for the best anonymous leg, and Mr. Think Pink, given to the contestant most dedicated to ZTA’s philanthropy. Robertson and Snow won these, respectively.

Brogen took home the Best Backstory award for his heartwarming intro video dedicated to his cousin’s struggles with breast cancer.

The award everyone was waiting for, Big Man on Campus, went to Vargas, who performed a breast cancer-themed parody of Lil Nas X’s “Industry Baby.”

Vargas, who found his victory “insane,” competed in order to help support breast cancer awareness and ZTA as a whole.

“I did it because it was something different,” Vargas said. “I love ZTA and breast cancer awareness. I wanted to raise awareness and it’s such a good cause, and I never did it before, so I wanted to go out of my comfort zone.”

Meola emphasized how important the support of the other organizations and students on campus is to ZTA, as well as how strongly the show bonds WC together.

 “I think Big Man’s a great way for people… to kind of bond the community together to raise money,” Meola said.

The Crowdchange is currently still open for those who would like to donate to support the fight against breast cancer.

Photos by Kayla Thorington and Lorna Cummings

The show ended with junior Noah Vargas taking the sparkly pink crown and becoming this year’s Big Man on Campus.

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