Miss Sorority Row pageant comes to Bama Theatre

Who’s the prettiest gal on Sorority Row?

Hard to tell, but we may find out at Friday’s Miss Sorority Row pageant, starting at 6 p.m. at the Bama Theatre.

Sixteen damsels will compete with feats of style, poise and character for a chance to win a donation to their house’s charity of choice and, of course, the Miss Sorority Row crown.

The Delta Sigma Phi fraternity has sponsored the pageant for the last three years to raise money for the American Red Cross, but half of the proceeds will go to the philanthropic organizations supported by the sororities of the top three contestants.

“I tried to make it more of a carefree pageant,” said senior Meschelle Stringer, the event’s coordinator. “The prize is that you win money for charity. You have nothing to lose.”

According to Stringer, Friday’s event will resemble an ordinary beauty pageant. The categories include evening gown, gameday attire and a talent display with skills ranging from jazz dance to sign language. Each contestant must also deliver a speech about her sorority’s philanthropic efforts.

Freshman Casey Straughn will represent Alpha Omicron Pi with a tap dance.

“They’re going to look for poise, speech and overall carriage,” Straughn said. “I want to represent my sorority as best I can.”

Straughn is a little nervous about the speech category, where the contestants must prove their mettle beyond the musical numbers and pretty dresses. Allen Grier, PR chair for Delta Sigma Phi, hopes the event will give authenticity to what he feels is an oft-misunderstood demographic.

“Greek life is a big part of the University, and we want to offer another side that isn’t seen as often … this gives girls an opportunity to show themselves as more on campus than just tees and Chacos.”

“I’m not a typical pageant girl,” said sophomore Jessie O’Brien, representing Alpha Delta Chi. For gameday attire, she’ll sport not an elegant houndstooth skirt, but rather blue jeans and a coat.

O’Brien hopes the pageant will help spotlight her less-than-mainstream Christian sorority.

“We aren’t very well known, so maybe that might harm us,” she said. “But I’m doing it because I think it will get us out there in the greek system.”

Since its first run in 2008, the pageant has earned $32,000 for the American Red Cross. Grier believes the campus at large often overlooks the greek system’s philanthropic efforts.

“We get more flak for ‘extra-curriculars’ than for the good work we do,” he said. “Whether it’s helping clean up or organizing a Salvation Army warehouse, there’s community service here, it’s just not written about.”

Grier expects Friday’s event to bring in $12,000, requiring an attendance of at least 1,000.

“We’ve never not sold out,” he said.

But for Straughn, it’s all about having a good time. “I’m excited. I like performing, it’ll be fun…I hope they see, ‘Oh, AOPi, they’re fun girls.’”

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