Claiming the throne of charm and wit, Daniel Stinner left Mandel Hall Thursday night wearing the crown of Mr. University.
Stinner, in competition with 11 other of the University's most charismatic men, strutted his stuff and displayed his charm to become the pageant's third winner.
Stinner began his showing in loud fashion during the opening swimsuit competition, performing a racy striptease. Coming on stage in medical scrubs and with a stethoscope around his neck, Stinner--a student in the Pritzker school of medicine--disrobed until he was covered only by a white bikini.
His winning effort also included a performance of a military operation, complete with fatigues and face paint, to save two captured Thetas.
Jacob Reckess, a second-year in the College and representing Alpha Epsilon Pi, used his toothy smile and a puppet show duet to become the first runner up. Christian Origlio, a brother in Pi Kappa Alpha, won the award for style, due in part to his Italian opera singing.
The pageant, sponsored by the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, raised over $6,000 for its community service project, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). The organization trains volunteers to work in family courts on behalf of children.
The event was open to non-Greek organizations with contestants from Model UN, Student Government and Graham House of Max Palevsky. According to organizer Eric Capener, approximately 700 people attended.
"I want the whole campus involved," said organizer Alex Bratsafolis, a sister in Kappa Alpha Theta and a fourth-year in the College. "This school is so often accused of being 'where fun comes to die' and I want to make sure people can have a good time," she said.
Emphasizing the variety of student organizations at the University, Bratsafolis said that the only way the Greek system will survive here is by keeping a positive image around campus.
For Bratsafolis, this year's pageant was an improvement over last year's, largely due to an improvement in the talent. "Every year the contestants get more and more creative," she said. "You never know what to expect."
Other creative details during the pageant included a rendition of "I Will Survive," a poetry reading, and the attire worn by one contestant during the swimsuit competition--a red polka dot bikini.
During the talent portion of the competition, Barret Van Sicklen, the contestant from the varsity soccer team, wore spandex pants and an undershirt. He shuffled around the stage with a ribboned baton and a soccer ball, keeping a serious posture as he flailed at his attempt at ballet dancing.
Brian Ebling, a first-year in the College, found this to be the funniest part of the pageant. "It's a hootin' good time," he said. "A rockin' sockin' howdy bash."
Ebling, not in a fraternity though a regular at Alpha Delta's Bar Night, considered the pageant an evening of entertainment. He was not sure if the exposure to a Greek activity would make him consider joining a fraternity.
Diana Connett, another first-year in the College, said she came to the pageant to see her friends. Connett, not in a sorority, said that though she is not interested in joining a sorority, she is comfortable with the amount of Greek life at the school.
According to Lori Hurvitz, assistant director of student activities, the relationship between the greater University community and the Greek system has grown stronger over the last three years. Prior to her arrival as advisor for Greek life, fraternity and sorority life was out of sync with the greater community, she said, noting that participation in the University's sororities has increased by 45 people.
"Now it's more blended in," Hurvitz said, adding that eight to nine percent of students in the College are members of sororities or fraternities. "A lot of Greeks are now branching out and are involved in other activities on campus."
Hurvitz said that there have been no problems with the current level of Greek activity at the University, and she is pleased with the amount of community service the organizations perform.
Alexis Casillas, a second-year in the College and a sister in Kappa Alpha Theta, reiterated this message. She said that the primary reason she joined the sorority was because of the opportunity to be involved in the community.
But while the pageant succeeded in raising money and awareness for CASA, its social function was undiminished.
"This is our show," said Kappa Alpha Theta president Mary Ann Guediguian. "This is our time to show everyone who we are."
For the place where squirrels are renowned for being more aggressive than the boys, the University's unflattering reputation was given a run for its money Thursday night.