Mr. Whitman proceeds to benefit orphans

Chelsea Bissell

Outside of Mr. Whitman, there are few events where you can watch a singer in a thong perform on-stage or fraternity members enact a Super Smash Brothers game.   Its equally rare to see Cordiner spilling over with students eager to shell out $5 for an obscure charity.

Kappa Kappa Gamma’s annual philanthropy event turns the typical, banal beauty pageant on its head.   One representative from each fraternity and four Indies vie for the crown of MR. Whitman.   It continues to be one of the most popular events on campus, drawing phenomenal crowds anxious to watch their peers embarrass themselves for a   good cause.

Though it is clearly raucous entertainment Mr. Whitman is most importantly, a philanthropic event.   This year, the Lake Nkuruba Orphanage Project is the beneficiary of the pageant.

Headed by Pastor John Bosco in Western Uganda, the Lake Nkuruba Orphanage Project currently houses 156 AIDS orphans.   The Pastor and his wife opened their own home to the orphans, and as the number of children grew, the couple bought two minibus taxis and one broken down car for the orphans to sleep in.

The lake Nkuruba Orphangae Project provides education and medical care to the children.   But as Kappa philanthropy chair, Maryn Juergens explained, the project does not have enough money to cover the expenses of both.   In this case, education is obviously neglected in favor of health.

Through Mr. Whitman, the Kappas strive to raise $15,000.     If this goal were reached, it would cover the education for all 156 kids for two years.   But as Juergens explained, the flagging economy may make it difficult to obtain that goal.
As Phi contestant Kaston Griffin enumerated, the only setback in his experience is “that we’re in a recession and with many businesses going out of business, it’s hard to separate people from their money.”

But Kaston has chosen to reach outside the campus for monetary support, beseeching family friends from Seattle, Walla Walla, and San Francisco for their support.

Ned Schaumberg, the TKE representative, echoed Kaston’s laments and approaches to fund-raising.   In light of the economic downfall, Ned has reached outside the pockets of Whitman students in search of a wider community of support.

“I sent a bunch of letters to family and friends around the country. People from my church back home have responded the most favorably.   Many of them have been to Africa and seen the conditions, so they are more willing to donate money.
Quite frankly, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of positive support I have received,” said Ned in an e-mail.

The economic setbacks also inspired the Kappa’s creativity in raising money for the charity.   For the first time, the Kappa’s tabled during Family Weekend and raised $500.   This year the Kappas are also raffling tickets for $1 to win a coffee date with a Mr. Whitman contestant.   The buyer chooses their man.

According to Juergens, the only person who knows the boys’ talents, questions, and swimwear, the show promises to be one of staggering proportions.

“It’s really hard knowing all the secrets and not telling anyone… I laugh out loud at their ideas, the boys are so creative.. I can’t wait for everyone to see their talents… I’m excited to see it all come together.”

Mr. Whitman is staged at the Cordiner stage at 7 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 15.   Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door.   All proceeds go toward the Lake Nkuruba Orphanage Project.