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Pageant raises $85,000 for cancer research

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Natalie Hall, from Alpha Delta Pi sorority, plays a hip-hop cello composition.

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Delta Tau Delta's Miss Greek Pageant has contributed to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research center since 1986.

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Kelly Thoma, from Delta Delta Delta sorority, performs an opera piece during the talent portion of the competition.

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Priya Iyer (front) from Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, performs a traditional Indian dance. Iyer won the 2008 Miss Greek Pageant.

Last night, Delta Tau Delta fraternity presented a check to the Fred Hutchinson Research Center in the amount of $85,000 to conclude their 22nd annual Miss Greek Pageant. Of the 14 sorority girls competing, Priya Iyer from Alpha Gamma Delta sorority walked away with this year’s crown as well as a $1,000 scholarship.

This year’s pageant brings the total raised for Fred Hutchinson Research Center to more than $1.2 million since Delta Tau Delta fraternity started Miss Greek at the UW in 1986.

“I don’t think people realize that this is the largest philanthropy at UW and the second largest college philanthropy west of the Mississippi River,” said Christopher Nguyen, a senior at Delta Tau Delta and co-chair of this year’s pageant with fellow fraternity member Tyler Boyd. “This philanthropy is truly a community-wide effort with the entire Greek system getting involved.”

The talent portion of the night’s program proved to be the crowd favorite, as the competitors showcased talents ranging from various forms of dance, opera, piano and figure roller-skating. The award for best talent of the night went to Natalie Hall of Alpha Delta Pi for her cello performance accompanied by a beat-boxer. Talent was worth approximately one-fourth of the competitor’s overall score.

For the girls who competed in last night’s event, the process started nearly seven months ago. After the girls were selected within their houses, they began fundraising immediately and attended weekly meetings.

“It’s difficult to make every meeting, and fundraising on top of it all was tough, but it was also the best part of the process,” said freshman Kelly Thoma of Delta Delta Delta sorority.

The girls were judged in last night’s competition not only on how much money they raised for the Fred Hutchinson Research Center, but also on personality, talent and a philanthropic statement in which the girls shared what philanthropy meant to them.

The seven-judge panel included local talents such as Miss Washington Teen USA and representatives from the Fred Hutchinson Research Center.

“If it wasn’t for such a great cause, I probably wouldn’t be up here tonight,” said Alpha Xi Delta member Shanna Dulin during her philanthropic address.

The majority of the points that determined the winner came from donations raised prior to the event. Pageant winner Iyer also won the award for top fundraiser; she raised $22,500 for the organization.

“This pageant is about so much more than just the competition,” Iyer said. “This was my chance to give everything I had to a great cause, and it’s been an amazing experience.”

[Reach reporter Casey Smith at news@thedaily.washington.edu.]

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