Pageant promotes philanthropy

Credit: Catherine Spence/ Credit: Catherine Spence/

Mohit Moondra, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, was crowned Mr. Fraternity 2011 on Friday night in Rangos Hall before an ecstatic crowd of Carnegie Mellon students, faculty, and staff at Kappa Alpha Theta’s “The Fraternity League.”

The pageant-style event featured 10 men representing most of Carnegie Mellon’s fraternities. The show included the men strutting about the stage in beachwear, showing off superhero costumes, performing a variety of talents, and donning formal wear. The event concluded with a Q & A session.

Kappa Alpha Theta first held the event in 1985, after the tragic death of a sister named Karin Johnson during her sophomore year at Carnegie Mellon. Half of the proceeds from the event will go to the Karin Johnson Fund, an organization managed by the Central Ohio Breathing Association. The other half of the proceeds will go to the Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation and the Court Appointed Special Advocate Association.

The event was made possible by the hard work of sophomore decision science major Ashley Chen. Chen is Kappa Alpha Theta’s philanthropy chair, and worked to plan and successfully execute the show, including getting contestants, running rehearsals, and decorating the hall. She explained that the Court Appointed Special Advocates donations “[go] to our local chapter here in Pittsburgh.”

The show included plenty of laughs, from a choreographed opening to a clichéd question and answer session. At times, though, the show seemed to drag on at an awkward pace, as if the audience was just waiting for an act to end. Students enjoyed the more comedic acts but seemed bored during more serious parts of the show.

Based on the audience’s reaction, the talent portion of the evening was the most entertaining. A majority of the acts were intended to make the audience laugh and have a good time for a good cause. Plenty of singing — such as first-year business administration major Jason Buckman’s rendition of The Little Mermaid’s “Under the Sea” for Beta Theta Pi — had everyone cracking up.

Mohit Moondra, a senior math and economics major, stole the show at the end of the talent portion, and it was clear to those in attendance that his performance won him the crown. He began with an impressive hip-hop routine, and then, thanks to some well-choreographed moves, was suddenly wearing a bhangra outfit and accompanied by two other bhangra dancers. This part of the show was the crowd favorite, and was entertaining to watch.

Some parts of the show were lost underneath the applause or yelling of audience members. The Kappa Alpha Theta members reading about contestants often did not wait for the applause to die down in order for the audience to hear what they were saying. A few microphone problems also started the show off on a slightly awkward note. Most audience members were so caught up in cheering for their favorite contestant, however, that they hardly seemed to notice these small blunders.

The winner was decided based on audience votes, Coin Wars donations, and judges’ scores. Audience members voted for their favorite contestants using ticket stubs during intermission. Coin Wars took place outside Doherty Hall during the week, and coins correlated to “positive points” for the contestants. The coins were also part of Kappa Alpha Theta’s efforts to raise money for their philanthropies. The judges also gave contestants a score.

The event concluded with Moondra being surrounded and cheered for by his Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brothers. Later, Moondra and the sisters of Kappa Alpha Theta posed for pictures and celebrated the success of a fun evening for a good cause.