Junior Mark Compton per­formed a mock syn­chro­nized swimming piece for his talent in the Mr. Hillsdale pageant. Olivia Llewelyn | Courtesy

With legs flying and a swim cap on, junior Mark Compton flailed his way into the title of Mr. Hillsdale last Sat­urday.

Compton and house­mates soared across stage in an elab­orate water-free syn­chro­nized swimming routine as Compton’s entry for the talent section of Pi Beta Phi’s annual Mr. Hillsdale event, a phil­an­thropic male pageant.

The event raised $200 more than last year, bringing in $1,450 for the sorority’s Read, Lead, Achieve lit­eracy program. This total does not include the addi­tional funds raised through Penny Wars, a donation contest run tan­gen­tially with Mr. Hillsdale.

“I was excited to try and elevate this event a little bit, and based on the com­ments I’ve heard from audience members, as well as the money raised, we were suc­cessful in doing so,” said junior Genevieve Chiara, Pi Phi’s vice-pres­ident of phil­an­thropy.   

There were nine con­tes­tants in total — three inde­pendent, three from Greek houses, and three from sports teams.

“Mr. Hillsdale is my favorite phil­an­thropy event that we do as a chapter because this event brings together so many stu­dents from both the Greek and inde­pendent student groups on campus,” Pi Phi Pres­ident senior Char­lotte McFaddin said.

While Compton took first place — and the official title of Mr. Hillsdale — he was fol­lowed by junior Andres Torres in second and sophomore Jake Sievers in third. Both Compton and Torres were inde­pendent rep­re­sen­ta­tives, while Sievers rep­re­sented Sigma Chi Fra­ternity.

The male pageant include events for formal wear, a costume contest, and a talent. Par­tic­i­pants were also tasked with wooing their Pi Phi escorts with pickup lines.

“I had a really good time,” Sievers said. “My main concern was pro­viding the audience with enter­tainment.”

Junior Lydia Brant, who attended the event, said she appre­ciated how com­mitted the par­tic­i­pants were.

“I think every one of the guys really did give 100 percent,” Brant said. “Nobody held back.”

Brant said Compton’s swimming piece was her favorite talent event.

“It was silly. It involved a lot of guys,” she said. “I liked that he and his friends put in a lot of practice time.”

The truth, Compton admitted, is a little bit dif­ferent.

“We never did it all the way through without messing up until the actual event,” Compton said.

The pageant also included a speed-reading event, in honor of the purpose of the event, where par­tic­i­pants read through Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” as quickly as pos­sible. Although he only took home second overall, Torres did earn the title of Mr. Speed Read.

Pi Phi’s Read>Lead>Achieve program aims to promote lit­eracy.

“Mr. Hillsdale has greatly helped us reach our goal of donating more than $4,000 this year to Pi Phi’s lit­eracy ini­tia­tives like Read>Lead>Achieve and Cham­pions are Readers,” Chiara said. “It also helps us con­tribute to the 100,000 books donated by the Pi Beta Phi Foun­dation across the country each year.”

The phil­an­thropic nature of the event also inspired more par­tic­i­pation.

“It made it a lot more fun to get excited about it, knowing your excitement trans­lates into money for a good cause,” Compton said.

Brant agreed, saying she felt “very com­fortable” putting a lot of money into the Penny Wars jars, knowing it was going to a good cause.

Torres praised Pi Phi’s success.

“They’re making money for their cause and raising awareness,” Torres said. “They do a great job with that.”

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Jordyn Pair
Jordyn Pair is from Milford, Michigan and plans to study Rhetoric and Public Address and Journalism. She has previously written for Spinal Column and The Madonna Herald, Madonna University's school newspaper. She enjoys writing, photography, and videography, as well as choir, martial arts, and blogging. She plans to pursue a career in journalism. email: | twitter: @jordynpair