Under the sparkling lights, 17 women clad in floor-length gowns anxiously await the emcee to announce the next Miss K-State. The audience leans forward, hoping their nominee will take the crown and their organization will win bragging rights.
The men of Delta Upsilon hosted the ninth-annual Miss K-State Competition on April 12. Benefitting the Delta Upsilon Global Service Initiative, the event drew members from Kansas State greek organizations and campus organizations alike.
Abby Aguilar, freshman in biomedical engineering and winner of the 2022 Miss K-State title, represented the Philippine Student Association on Tuesday. Aside from fencing during the talent round and performing a skit about her future career in medicine, she expressed her passion for fighting for racial equity in healthcare.
“We have a chance to advocate for what we’re very passionate about [at Miss K-State],” Aguilar said. “I’m so glad I was able to do this.”
Aguilar hopes to be a voice for underrepresented and historically excluded communities. She said that — moving forward as Miss K-State — she will have a bigger platform to help spread her message.
Four judges were nominated to the Miss K-State panel — Marcus Kidd, assistant director of enrollment for the College of Education and first-time judge, said he was excited to see the diversity of nominees competing in this year’s event.
“So traditionally, we’ve had a lot of greek students be nominated, which has been great, but it’s awesome to see women outside of that typical greek population that are brought forth to participate,” Kidd said. “I think it’s really showing how growing our community can be, how diverse it’s getting. I think that’s something to be celebrated.”
Kidd said he was impressed by the wide range of talents displayed at the competition – an Irish dance, several musical performances and a stand-up comedy routine graced the stage.
“There were a lot of talents that we saw tonight that I was just in awe by,” Kidd said. “Like, ‘Oh, wow. I could never see myself doing that.”‘
Kidd said he hopes everyone in attendance came away empowered and that people should consider the competition as more than just a superficial contest.
“It’s really meant to be inspiring for the audience and for the community in general,” Kidd said. “It’s great for people to be able to come out and celebrate how different we are.”
As Miss K-State, Aguilar receives a $500 scholarship, sash, crown and a $200 donation to a philanthropic organization of her choice.
However, that’s not where all the proceeds go. Money from ticket sales, donations and “Fan Favorite” PayPal votes go to the Global Service Initiative, a philanthropy Delta Upsilon works with closely.
Tyler McCoach, senior in kinesiology and Delta Upsilon’s vice president of philanthropy, said he was thrilled to organize the ninth Miss K-State competition since its inception in 2013.
“I was fortunate enough to join a house that had such a great event already installed several years ago,” McCoach said. “I was absolutely extremely lucky to be able to continue this event.”
McCoach said the members of Delta Upsilon are passionate about the Global Service Initiative, and many have made trips to Jamaica with this organization to build schools and other infrastructures. Another way they support the GSI is through large-scale philanthropic events that McCoach plans and executes as vice president.
“I have a history of doing community service my entire life,” McCoach said. “When I joined DU, I knew this was an excellent opportunity for me to use my skill set to improve the house that I love so much.”
Miss K-State accepts up to 20 nominees from greek organizations, clubs, residence halls and even sports teams. This means that next year, there are three spots available to anyone who wants to throw their name in the hat. Next year, the crown might be yours.