UNH senior Brennan Young, aka “Mr. Sunshine,” was crowned this year’s Mr. UNH on Tuesday, Nov. 1. The annual event, hosted by the Chi Omega sorority, was held in the Memorial Union Building’s (MUB) Granite State Room (GSR) from 7:30–9 p.m. and tickets cost $5 per person. All of the proceeds from the event went to the Make a Wish Foundation, Chi Omega’s philanthropy. Up against Young were 10 other UNH students, some of which included, Mr. Theta Chi, Mr. NH Gents and Mr. Football, just to name a few.
The competition kicked off with a brief introduction of each contestant as they proceeded into the room with an escort from Chi Omega while a song of their choice played. Projector screens displayed information about each of them, including their names, hometowns, relationship statuses, interesting facts about them and their ideal first dates.
Young made his entrance as Mr. Sunshine in none other than a sun costume, and he managed to sneak a kiss on the cheek to his grandmother sitting in the front row. In his introduction, the crowd learned of his hope to one day be a pediatric “murse” (male nurse) at Boston’s Children Hospital.
Following the introductions, the two hosts, both Chi Omega members, invited guest speaker Maddie Carlson to the stage. Carlson, a senior at Goffstown High School, has a rare form of bone cancer and shared with the audience that her wish granted by the foundation was to meet the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy.” The meeting will take place in a couple weeks. She concluded her speech by expressing her gratitude to the Make a Wish Foundation “for bringing so much sunshine into a dark time.”
The competition was divided into several sections: talent, swimsuit and formal wear. The talents ranged from Mr. NH Gents singing and playing the guitar to Mr. Swag sneezing on command. For his talent, Mr. Sunshine put together a preparation video in the form of “America’s Got Talent,” which included interviews with his coach and grandmother. Low and behold, his talent was showcased through dancing to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” dressed to character in a black leotard. The swimsuit portion gave the contestants a chance to introduce their escorts along with some information about them. Finally, the formal wear segment was accompanied with questions for the contestants. Mr. Sunshine, staying true to his name sporting bright yellow pants, was asked, “What’s the first thing you’d do after being crowned Mr. UNH?” A round of “awws” from the women in the audience followed his response of, “I’ll take my grandmother out for ice cream.”
During the second brief intermission, Libby Giordano took the stage to share her story about her son Joey, who received a diagnosis of cancer at a very young age. She spoke of his three-year struggle with an aggressive brain tumor, that included 31 radiation treatments and four months of chemotherapy. Joey’s wish was to go on a Disney cruise, and Giordano said, “At eight years old, endless mac and cheese is ideal.”
While the judge panel combined their scores to determine a winner, the hosts auctioned off the various raffle prizes. Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for came in which they announced the winner. Mr. Lax came in third place, Mr. Football took second and Mr. Sunshine was crowned the winner.
“I decided to participate because of the cause. I do a lot of work with Boston Children’s Hospital, and I just thought it’d be great to get involved,” Young said in an interview following his big win. He went on to say, “It feels very good to be the winner, and a huge relief.”
After the show, Giordano expressed her appreciation for the event and its organizers.
“I’d like to compliment Chi Omega on their willingness to continue these events, they’re not easy to put together, and I feel lucky to be a part of it in helping to make kids wishes come true,” she said.