[Durham, NH]– Nov. 16. The University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Chi Omega sorority hosted a Make-a-Wish New Hampshire event, raising over $2,000 for the foundation. At the event, Mr. UNH, five UNH male contestants competed in talent, swimwear and formal Q&A. Ramon Graham of Sigma Nu, Jackson Bloom of Lambda Chi Alpha, Taylor Donovan of SCOPE, Gordon Woods, and Mody Abdelsalam of the UNH football team all participated in Mr. UNH.
The Memorial Union Building (MUB) hosted the Make-a-Wish event in the Granite State Room, holding a little under the 338 seat capacity in addition to the five contestants, Chi Omega philanthropy board, and the emcees, Tiffany Sidoriak and Francesca Grady. The entirety of the Chi Omega chapter was seen in blue dress attire to support the blue and white colors of Make-a-Wish.
Philanthropy President Abby Boyle, alongside her Vice-President Tori Denovellis, put in months of planning and dedicated over 100 hours to make sure this event ran smoothly. “I started working on it in August. I started planning when I wanted it to be and where. Things really started picking up in like mid-October when I found contestants and started training them on what to do,” said Boyle. Denovellis said she began her work in September and spent about two and a half months planning.
The show began with the talent section. Singing, dancing, poetry and even a burrito eating contest that Boyle attributes to being her “favorite part.”
“It allowed the men’s personalities to shine while giving the crowd a good laugh,” Denovellis said.
It followed with the swimsuit wear. Contestants rolled down the aisles, dancing in their swim trunks, sunglasses and pool noodles. The audience roared with laughter and clapping.
The joy from the crowd is owed to Boyle and Denovellis, with the help of the remainder of their philanthropy committee: Anne Marie Maughn, Lily Grover, Lindsey Squires, Jenna Murray, Caitlyn King, Nicola Seavey and Libby Moreau.
The director of Make-a-Wish New Hampshire attended the event and was able to personally thank Boyle and Denovellis for their hard work and overall successful turnout. She welcomed them to the stage mid-show and gifted them photos of a Make-a-Wish kid that was able to have his wish granted with the donations given by Chi Omega.
After the speech came the formal Q&A, where the contestants were escorted on stage, dressed in their business casual suits and ties. The judges were left with a tough competition amongst the five boys, but they had to come down to who would be crowned Mr. UNH.
All five contestants lined up on stage with their escorts towards the end of the event. Donovan was crowned as Mr. UNH for the event and applauded for his creative talent section, recreating the talent show scene from the movie “Napoleon Dynamite”.
“[Mr.UNH] was a great way to give back to Make-a-Wish New Hampshire and it means a lot because we had to take a year off because of COVID. And it’s a tradition that our sorority has put on for the past many years. So being able to do it this year after COVID and having it be such a good outcome means a lot full circle-wise,” Boyle said.
Denovellis agrees, and even personally knows a few children who have been granted wishes. “It is incredible to see everyone come together to support such a great cause,” Denovellis said.
The Chi Omega philanthropy committee plans on working with Make-a-Wish New Hampshire next year as well, hoping to have an even bigger turnout and raise more money for wishes.