The Zeta Tau Alpha sorority hosted the 44th annual Big Man on Campus on Monday. Students gathered in high spirits at the Leone Cole Auditorium for a Zeta tradition at Jacksonville State University: raising money for a worthy cause.
This year’s Big Man on Campus theme was “Stomp Out Breast Cancer.” Each year, male students from a sponsored organization enter to compete in a male talent show and beauty pageant.
In addition to the competition, entertainment was provided by the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternities in the form of intricate and energetic step and dance shows.
This year’s competition was battled out among 13 contestants in three categories: “The GQ Walk,” “Q & A” and “Talent.” The men showed off their best runway struts for the first segment while the “Q & A” portion saw contestants answering complex questions, such as, “What is a Zeta girl’s favorite movie?” (Answer: The Little Mermaid, of course).
Finally, the most entertaining segment was “Talent.” The crowd screamed, clapped and cheered at a variety of talent showcases, including singing, playing instruments, rapping, poetry and even duck calling.
Yes, duck calling.
After an hour and a half of swagger, talent and excitement, the results were in.
This year’s third place contestant is Alex Smith, sponsored by Alpha Omicron Pi. The second place contestant is Eric McIntyre, sponsored by Kappa Sigma. Finally, the winner of the 44th annual Big Man on Campus is 19-year-old freshman Logan Adams, sponsored by the Kappa Alpha Order.
The breast cancer cause is one close to his heart, Adams told the crowd. His grandmother, to whom he dedicated his song performance,
is a 32-year breast cancer survivor. “This [event] for breast cancer really hits home,” he said. Adams’ grandmother was acknowledged with a standing ovation and a warm embrace from her grandson after the competition.
Breast cancer awareness and fundraising also strikes a personal chord with the contest judges. Venecia Butler, an author and public speaker, is a four-time survivor of breast cancer. JSU’s own Pam Torruella of the Office of Admissions has battled and beat breast cancer, as well. Noelle Millirons, a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Life, is a long-time supporter of breast cancer awareness and education.
“We sold program ads and a little over 500 t-shirts,” said Holly Scott, director of philanthropy for Zeta Tau Alpha. “All of the proceeds we get go straight to breast cancer education and awareness.”
Each year, Zeta Tau Alpha raises more money for its philanthropy than any other student organization. The Zetas raised $19,000 last year for the cause, $8,000 of which came from the Big Man on Campus event. This year they expect to surpass that figure due to higher attendance, more contestants, and more ads sold.
English Professor, national officer of Zeta Tau Alpha and advisor to the sorority, Dr. Andrea Porter added that “by the end of the year [Zeta] will probably double that. Our Zeta chapter is number 12 in the country for raising money for the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation.”
The organization, with over 211,000 members worldwide, partners with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Yoplait, the National Football League and SELF magazine to promote awareness. Tax deductible donations can be made to Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation at any time.