This Friday evening, eight campus men will don costumes and entertain students with their humor and charm — all for the benefit of children’s literacy.
The ‘Mr. Hillsdale Pageant,’ which be held Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in Markel Auditorium, is sorority Pi Beta Phi’s largest philanthropic event of the year.
Mr. Hillsdale has been an annual event known to the student body for as long as Pi Beta Phi Philanthropy Chair Kristin Freeman or her advisor, a 2010 graduate of the college, can remember. The event, Freeman said, is not only Pi Phi’s largest but their longest-standing.
The reason for its perpetuity, Freeman said, is because of its campus-wide diversity of participants and audience members. Freeman reached out to sports teams, dorms, and Greek houses and invited them to nominate candidates to compete.
This year, all the fraternities will be represented: David Downie will represent Delta Sigma Phi, Patrick Farrell will represent Sigma Chi, Ben Garfinkle will represent Delta Tau Delta, and Sam Swayze will represent Alpha Tau Omega. Residence halls will compete for the first time this year as independents, with sophomore Brandt Siegfried to represent Simpson Dormitory and Philip Andrews to represent Galloway. Charlie Andrews is from the track team.
All proceeds go to the Pi Beta Phi Foundation, which allocates the majority of funds to literacy initiatives. Last year, they raised a little over $1,800. In years past, Freeman said, ‘Mr. Hillsdale’ typically raised a little less than that. In terms of fundraising, Freeman said last year stood out –around 300 people attended. Freeman is projecting the same this year.
Although most recent competitions have included a costume contest, Freeman said she is restoring some portions of the event to their former glory for a change of pace. Freeman said she was looking for something refreshing, especially since so many students come year after year. She likened the new style to a Miss America pageant as it includes a swimsuit portion. During the swimsuit portion, participants will share their favorite pickup line. The pageant will still include the formal wear competition where participants answer a question as well as the talent competition.
Freeman said the show is always fresh because contestants make the show their own depending on their individual talents and personalities.
Siegfried said he became a contestant to support Pi Beta Phi’s philanthropy, “Read > Lead > Achieve.” He expects people will come out to see him and the other contestants entertain, none of the ways of which he was willing to reveal.
“It’s a great way to bring people together for something fun,” he said. “Everyone needs something to laugh at, especially here.”
Freeman is busy planning the event with the help of her sisters, including hosts junior Lauren Peterson and senior Alyssa Viola. Peterson said it was their humor that got the two of them their spots as emcees, which is fitting as she plans to use her role to poke fun at the contestants.
“We’re friends with Kristin and she thought we would do a funny job,” Peterson said.
Tickets are on sale through Friday, Nov. 1 for $4 in the Grewcock Union and will be on sale for $6 at the door.