The dressing room of McCain Auditorium held the fog of hairspray, the feeling of a heat wave from hair tools and the sight of 20 women, all prepping for a night of talent, confidence, poise and philanthropy on Tuesday night.
The Miss K-State competition, hosted by Delta Upsilon and the Union Program Council, challenged women to compete in four rounds in which they were judged on confidence, K-State representation, passion and more. Women from many parts of campus, including sororities, the university Honors House and Society of Women Engineers, competed in the pageant.
Christine Rock, junior in food science and industry, represented Kappa Alpha Theta and was named Miss K-State 2016. Abby Giles, junior in music education and member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, won the Miss Congeniality competition, and Elissa Bergmeier, freshman in political science and member of Kappa Delta, was the fan favorite winner.
Rock performed a rap with words that started with each letter of the alphabet. Rock said she memorized all of the words in about a month while she was in a vehicle for long periods of time.
“I think I won because (the rap) was kind of unexpected,” Rock said. “I had a rap that I just decided to learn and that would be my talent. I can kind of sing a little bit and sort of dance, but I can memorize things like nobody’s business.”
Standing next to Rock at the end of the competition were the three runners-up: Colleen Geller, junior in psychology and member of Pi Beta Phi, won second place; Kelli Veach, freshman in communication sciences and disorders and member of Alpha Delta Pi, came in third; and Brittany Hilfiker, sophomore in animal science and industry and member of Alpha of Clovia, took fourth.
The contestants were judged on four stage appearances, including Wildcat attire, talent, career and a Q&A round. After the first two rounds, only 10 girls advanced, with one being chosen by the contestants themselves.
The Miss K-State competition does not only crown a contestant as a representative for K-State, but it also raises money for Delta Upsilon’s philanthropy, the Global Service Initiative. All proceeds raised by Miss K-State are donated to the initiative and are used in hands-on, engaging, direct service in Jamaica, according to the “Global Service” page of Delta Upsilon International Fraternity’s website.
The competition has grown every year, the amount of money raised for GSI has increased and each year the publicity increases, Seth Alexander, director of the 2016 Miss K-State Pageant and senior in secondary education, said.
Delta Upsilon members get the opportunity to participate in the GSI in Jamaica, according to the group’s website. All members must raise their own funds to support their trip to Jamaica. Once there, members build houses for underprivileged students.
“It is a cool opportunity,” Alexander said. “The supplies that DUs will be working with are what we raised money for.”
Four judges from diverse backgrounds within the university scored the contestants on poise, confidence, intelligence, involvement and more, Alexander said.
“I think she represents the university in general,” Danielle Jellison, judge and former K-State woman’s basketball player, said. “Someone who bleeds purple, who loves it here, who is intelligent, who is excelling and taking advantage of going to school here. Definitely someone who is K-State, ride or die.”
Throughout the year, Rock will represent K-State at many events, both on and off campus. Alexander said Delta Upsilon hopes to represent a community and make everyone feel welcomed.
“I am just so honored to represent a school I have looked up to my entire life,” Rock said. “Both my parents went here, my grandpa was a professor here, I have family members that work here. To be able to have a title to exemplify that is so cool. I am always a K-State girl at heart, even when I was little.”