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USF beauty pageant attracts few

Student Government has finished organizing the Mr. and Miss USF scholarship pageant, but few students are expected to participate.

An organizer attributes lack of interest in the pageant to its five-year hiatus and negative reactions to the program, but nevertheless thinks, it will help boost the University’s reputation.

Jennifer Trivett, SG traditions coordinator, said not as many people have signed up for the event as SG had hoped.

“It’s our first year bringing it back so we know it’s going to be difficult,” Trivett said. “But we really hope that we get as many students, faculty, staff and community members (as we can) to come watch this event.

“I know people have been doubting it and there has been a lot of negativity surrounding it, but we really want to it to go well and we don’t want to leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth.”

Trivett said that previous Miss South Florida winners have gone on to compete in Miss America pageants, which help to publicize the University.

Associate Dean of Students Regina Young Hyatt said this event will recognize students for their talent and professionalism.

“I support our students’ interest in building traditions for our campus,” Hyatt said. “We have some great traditions at USF already with Round Up, Homecoming, Week of Welcome, Stampede of Service, Dance Marathon, Bullstock and many others. Perhaps Mr. and Miss USF will become a great tradition as well.”

The traditional pageant has been revamped to include a Mr. USF competition. Students can attend the event free of charge Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Sun Dome Corral.

Brett Farrar, Brandon Fulep, Bruno Portigliatti, Johel Comas and Matthew Dolson will battle it out for the title of Mr. USF. Meanwhile, Alyssa Romola, Brooklyn Carr, Stephanie Gottlieb, Marissa Anastos, Kayla Pate and Janelle Randall are competing for Miss USF.

Student Body President Garin Flowers said the main purpose of the event is to award scholarships.

A $1,000 donation from state Representative Trey Traveisa will be divided up among winners. Mr. and Miss USF will each receive $350 and the runners-up will get $150 each.

Flowers decided to reintroduce the pageant, which has been on hiatus since 2003 because of a lack of funding.

“When I came into the University, my older friends would tell me about the pageant and how Miss South Florida was always regarded as an ambassador for the campus,” Flowers said. “Since I was in a position of leadership, I thought about bringing back one of the greatest traditions we have.”

Since SG allocated $3,500 for venue costs, the pageant was revamped in order to be in compliance with SG guidelines that require events to be open to everyone.

“We wanted it to be open to males and females at all of our campuses and to select two individuals who represent USF in academics and extracurriculars,” Trivett said. “We really want someone who represents the face of USF.”

The contestants will compete in four segments which include a talent portion, formal wear, interview segment and bulls pride wear, where students will be judged on how they represent green and gold.

The judge panel is composed of Associate Dean of Student Affairs Samuel Wright, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Tracy Tyree, and alumna and former Miss USF Ann Poonkasem – this year’s current Ms. Gasparilla.

Winners will be chosen based on how well they represent the USF community in activities and academics.