Fraternity pageant raises money for autism awareness

Hannah Hunsinger | Collegian Brandon Douglas, member of FarmHouse and sophomore in mechanical engineering, swing dances with his coach from Alpha Xi Delta during the Xi Man talent show, put on by the ladies of Alpha Xi Delta for benefit their philanthropy Autism Speaks in the Union Ballroom on Thursday. Douglas, who won the competition, also sang and played guitar.

K-State fraternity members entertained the K-State Student Union Ballroom audience Thursday in the annual Xi Man show, hosted by the Alpha Xi Delta sorority to benefit the Autism Speaks organization.

“Xi Man is a competition within different fraternity gentleman,” said Corey Byrnes, philanthropy chair for Alpha Xi Delta and sophomore in life sciences. “There were events throughout this week which leads up to the show tonight and we were super excited for it.”

Eleven fraternities on campus competed in this week’s competitions, which included a penny and Twitter war, where the fraternities competed to collect the most pennies and have the most tweets about the competition, as well as a contest to collect school supplies, stuffed animals, and children’s book. The week also includes a new event called Catch a Xi, where contestants’ coaches had to get each of the contestant’s fraternity members to sign their shirt.

Each contestant received points for each event, depending on how they performed, and those points were combined with the points the contestants received in the Xi Man Show.

“It was fun seeing all the talents from all the fraternities,” said Kylie Hewitt, member of Alpha Xi Delta and junior in anthropology. “It’s nice to see the greek community support one another.”

At the Xi Man Show, contestants competed in a formalwear competition, a talent show, question and answers and a minute-to-win-it competition. Each portion was judged by a panel that included former K-State women’s basketball player Jalana Childs, football player Daniel Sams and women’s basketball player Brittany Chambers, who was recently drafted in the WNBA.

“Someone had asked us to come judge and I think it’s great to get involved in the community and help your peers out,” Chambers said. “I’ll definitely judge if the guy has great charisma as well as a great personality.”

One judge who always participates in the Xi Man Show is Linda Vejvoda, the house mom of Alpha Xi Delta, who is also known as “Mom V.”

“My girls ask me to judge every year,” Vejvoda said. “I usually do what my girls ask me to unless it’s illegal.”

Contestants showed off their many wardrobes during the formalwear portion. The crowd saw a variety of costumes such as a Greek god, Pac-Man and even Buddy the Elf. The diversity continued in the talent portion as contestants showed off abilities to play the trombone and the harp. Other contestants showed their dancing skills, as well as, a glow stick incorporated light show.

In the end, Brandon Douglas, member of the FarmHouse fraternity and sophomore in mechanical engineering, took home the title of Xi Man with his mix of guitar playing and swing dancing in the talent portion.

“My coach Bridgette Westhoff, which was also the girl that danced with me, had never swing danced before until last week,” Douglas said. “We put in the time and worked a lot and we finally got it down.”

Despite Douglas’ stage presence in the show, he is not an inexperienced performer.

“I did a dance contest once in high school and that’s it,” Douglas said. “I’m going to try to get the rest of the house involved next year so that we can get the legacy going.”

All of the proceeds, as well as the donated items go to the Autism Speaks organization, which is dedicated to increasing awareness for autism as well as helping to fund the research of causes, prevention and treatment of the condition.

Autism Speaks is Alpha Xi Delta’s national philanthropy. Past events that Alpha Xi Delta has participated in to benefit the organization include the Fiesta Frenxi, as well as the Kansas Walk for Autism in Kansas City. Xi Man is hosted annually in the spring.

“There was so much talent this year,” Hewitt said. “This year was by far definitely one of the best Xi Man shows.”