New Miss University of Alabama promotes service opportunitiesBy Caroline Smith | 11/01/2017 6:57pm
A new Miss University of Alabama was crowned last week, and she plans for her reign to be more meaningful than just a title.
Riley Kate Lancaster, a sophomore majoring in public relations on the pre-law track, is the newest Miss University of Alabama. She is a Tuscaloosa native and a pageant veteran, having previously won the titles of Miss Northeast Alabama and Miss Tuscaloosa, as well as the title of Miss North Alabama’s Outstanding Teen.
“Once I got into [the Miss America Program], I saw how it motivates you to have such a servant’s heart, and that’s really big to me, and that’s the reason why I stayed,” said Lancaster. “Because I saw how it developed young ladies into these women who are just ready to go out and better their community.”
The component of the Miss America organization that is most important to Lancaster is her platform. She created an initiative called “Dare to Share” that encourages people to donate clothing and other items to those who may not be able to afford them.
“I noticed that our society is just dominated by consumerism,” said Lancaster. “We are caught up in this materialism, and we buy, buy, buy when there’s this other side of our community that could potentially benefit from all of this excess stuff we have in our houses, and in our closets, and in our storage units.”
The 1st-runner-up for Miss University of Alabama, Maddie Bryan, is a sophomore majoring in human development and family studies at the University. She has high hopes for Lancaster’s tenure.
“Riley is so service-motivated and has such a sweet spirit about her,” said Bryan. “She most certainly is a leader, so I think she’s going to lead our campus in a wonderful way and set a superior standard for not only the girls, but the boys as well, to achieve greatness and to become all that they can be, and to utilize the campus.”
As a component of the Miss America organization, the Miss University of Alabama pageant is a qualifying round for the Miss Alabama pageant. As the victor, Lancaster will represent the University at the state level in June. Braidyn Lazenby, the second-runner-up for Miss University of Alabama and a junior majoring in communication studies, also believes Lancaster will represent the University well.
“One of the special things about Riley Kate is her love for The University of Alabama,” said Lazenby. “She bleeds crimson and white and will represent our school in that way at Miss Alabama.”
Her love for the University can be seen in her involvement around the campus. Lancaster is the Director of Philanthropy for the SGA and advocates for ‘Dare to Share’ around the school. She has hosted book drives and programs to collect business clothes among other philanthropic efforts.
Lancaster wants students to feel comfortable reaching out to her if they want help make a difference on campus.
“Let me know if I can do anything,” said Lancaster. “If you have any ideas on campus, if you want to make a change, reach out to me because I know your voice counts.”
Interested readers can follow Lancaster’s reign via her Instagram: @missuofalabama and her Facebook: @missuniversityofalabamapageant.