Saturday, March 22, 2008

IU Sig Eps Host "Hoosier Sweetheart"

Sigma Phi Epsilon to host ‘Hoosier Sweetheart’ Thursday
By Ashlyn McNeal

Returning to campus after a six-year absence, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity will host a talent competition to benefit young people with AIDS.

Hoosier Sweetheart is a talent show similar to Big Man on Campus but for female IU students, said Scott Ryan, executive philanthropy coordinator for Sigma Phi Epsilon. The money raised will go to YouthAIDS, an organization that uses media, pop culture and celebrities to help support AIDS outreach, Ryan said.

“It is two competitions in one,” Ryan said. “One is for fundraising and other is on talent, but there is an overall winner in both competitions.”

The contestants have to raise money before the event as well and participate in the talent show, Ryan said. There are certain criteria for fundraising: Contestant must raise at least $500 to receive points in the fundraising portion of their final score, he said.

The talent portion is comprised of contestants singing, dancing or performing whatever talent they posses.

This is the first time Sigma Phi Epsilon has put on the event, but the fraternity plans to making it an annual even Ryan said.

Jeff McMurray, Sigma Phi Epsilon philanthrophy talent coordinator, said Sigma Phi Epsilon chose to donate the proceeds to YouthAIDS because it is their fraternity’s national philanthropy project. He said it is important to make the YouthAIDS organization visible.

“It is a really good cause,” McMurray said. “AIDS kills millions of people each year, and it shouldn’t be forgotten.”

Thirteen contestants will be competing in Hoosier Sweetheart, with 12 of them representing different sororities.“Hopefully next year we can have more contestants participating,” Ryan said.

Jeff McMurray, Sigma Phi Epsilon philanthropy talent coordinator, said all of the contestants are putting forth a lot of effort.“We are excited; the contestants have been working hard and it should be a lot of fun,” McMurray said.

McMurray said the 13 contestants will be judged on creativity and overall presentation. “Judges will notice if they smile, if their moves are precise, as well as their choice of music and how the crowd reacts towards them,” he said.

YouthAIDS targets 15- to 24-year-olds who suffer from AIDS, Ryan said. He said because the age bracket is so close to his, Sigma Phi Epsilon and others can make a difference.“We feel like it is not just a cause, it is an emergency,” Ryan said.

Ryan and McMurray both said Sigma Phi Epsilon’s main goal is to raise $10,000 for YouthAIDS.“We want to build a foundation for a good philanthropy, that way we can build on it and make a $100,000 donation in the future,” Ryan said.

Hoosier Sweetheart will take place at 7:30 p.m. March 27 in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union. The hall has a capacity of 650 people, and tickets are limited, McMurray said.

Anyone who would like to attend the event should contact one of the contestants in the show, because tickets are not publicly available, McMurray said. Tickets are $8 and T-shirts will be available for $10.

However, if there are no more tickets available, anyone is welcome to donate to YouthAIDS, and buy T-shirts or dog tags to help support the event, Ryan said. He said business companies can also help sponsor the event by contacting him via e-mail at skryan@indiana.edu.

When asked what word would describe the Hoosier Sweetheart project, Ryan said “unification.”“We feel that students, the administration and the city of Bloomington can make a difference on the global scale,” he said.