It turns out that convincing students to step up and claim the mantles of Mr. and Miss USF was a little more difficult than Student Government originally thought it might be.
SG is still optimistic that the lack of interest – only 11 students applied to compete – is largely due to the five-year hiatus of the competition, not indifference on behalf of the student community.
The pageant costs $3,500 in student activity and service (A&S) fees, and judges will determine the winners based on talent, formal wear, “Bull pride” and an interview segment.
Because the original pageant awarded only a Miss USF, a Mr. USF reward needed to be added to justify the use of A&S fees and avoid any accusations of gender discrimination.
Five students registered to compete for Mr. USF, and six for Miss USF. Among the five who will compete for Mr. USF are two students involved in SG. Bruno Portigliatti is a senator representing the College of Arts and Sciences and Matthew Dolson was named the deputy supervisor of elections.
So not only is this year’s rushed incarnation of the event hardly capable of discovering an accurate representative of the USF community, but SG members have a 40 percent chance of winning the first prize of $350. It could almost be imagined that the pageant is another attempt by SG members to reward themselves for doing the job they volunteered to do.
And while it was made clear by the student body president that the competition would not be reduced to a contest based solely on external appearance, the official application still requests that applicants provide a photograph.
If SG members were determined not only to create tradition, but to find a representative of the USF community, they should have considered other events that would have allowed for a greater sampling of the student body. As it is, the competition will occur during scheduled classes.
Essay contests or other programs would allow students to express their value to USF with less focus on physical presentation and less overhead costs coming out of A&S fees.
What SG is attempting to do has good intentions, but is severely limited by bad decisions.