‘Big Man on Campus’ raises funds for breast cancer awareness and education

Twenty-four male contestants tried to outperform each other for the titles of Big Man on Campus and Mr. Congeniality Wednesday in Waco Hall. Kristen DeHaven | Multimedia Journalist

By Preston Gossett | Reporter

Zeta Tau Alpha’s eighth annual fundraiser and male beauty pageant, Big Man on Campus, raised around $25,000 Wednesday night in Waco Hall. $30,000 is the goal for the end of the month.

The event, which supports Zeta’s philanthropy, Breast Cancer Awareness and Education, awarded Big Man on Campus to Danville, Calif. freshman Clay Jeha and Glenwood Springs, Colo. freshman Colt Dickens for Alpha Chi Omega, and Mr. Congeniality to Tucson, Ariz. sophomore Blake Reilly for Pi Kapp.

Dallas sophomore and Zeta member Susannah Turner said the event is a showcase for guys — who don’t mind making fun of themselves — to dance and just have a good time. The energy from the participants got everyone in the audience super pumped, Turner said.

“I was blown away by how dedicated and excited the boys were to perform,” Turner said. “It was hilarious because they got so into it, and they were so passionate; and Carol, the lady who was emceeing, had on a hot pink wig, and she just got everyone so pumped up.”

The event started with the male contestants performing a huge group dance to a mash-up of popular hit songs followed by a Q&A segment with topics ranging from the Disney princess with whom they relate to their favorite pick-up line. The final part of the show was a lip-sync battle where the participants attempted to outperform one another in pursuit of the crown and title: “Big Man on Campus.”

“[This event] raises so much money for Zeta’s philanthropy, and I know that every penny we take goes right back into Breast Cancer Awareness and Education,” Turner said. “My mom was affected by breast cancer, and thankfully, she’s in remission right now; but that’s one of the main reasons I chose to go Zeta — this philanthropy.”

One of the judges for Big Man on Campus, Zeta alumna and Susannah Turner’s mother, Elise Turner, said one of the great things about Zeta that has remained the same over the years is the sense of sisterhood and community. Eight years ago when Elise Turner was diagnosed with breast cancer, she said her Zeta sisters were among the first people she reached out to for support.

“They absolutely rallied around me in every way. [Being a Zeta] is a forever thing if you want it to be,” Elise Turner said. “I’m so proud of Zeta for keeping the conversation [of Breast Cancer awareness] going and educating people about it, but they’re also bringing awareness to the student body in a fun way.”

Carol Hardy, Big Man on Campus’ emcee, is a breast cancer survivor herself. She shared some advice that she believes can either help prevent it or can help people who knows someone that is affected. Early detection is key, she said, and if you find something, don’t be scared to go find out what it is. If you want to do something for someone that has breast cancer, smile, and tell them they’re beautiful, or bring them an Aloe Vera plant for the burns, Hardy said.

“Honestly y’all, it’s not so much that we’re seeing cancer affect people over and over again, but I think what’s happening is that people are surviving it, and we’re seeing more survivors,” Carol said. “So, let’s keep that going. Let’s keep raising money for breast cancer research, for men and women.”