By Gianna Melillo
The T/W Lounge was adorned with streamers, balloons and banners as the College’s Asian culture organizations co-hosted the third annual Mr. Pan Asian Alliance pageant on Friday, March 2.
One contestant from each of the five organizations strutted their stuff to compete for the prestigious title, all the while representing a charity selected by their organization.
The College’s Chinese Student Association, Japanese Student Association, Korean Student Association, Asian-American Association and Barkada organization all were represented by one male contestant. All of the night’s proceeds, which totaled over $575, went to various global charities.
This was the biggest sum raised in the event’s three-year history.
“A lot of the talents are cultural based. We really want to educate and spread awareness of all the different cultures,” said Alexa Sia, a senior nursing major and current president of Barkada, a Filipino organization.
Sia is proud of Barkada’s choice to donate its proceeds to a shelter for children in the Philippine province of Cebu. Other organizations selected charities that empower people with disabilities, provide medical and educational aid or provide disaster relief.
The entry charge of the event was $3. Throughout the night, attendees could donate to each individual organization’s charity by entering a raffle. At the end of the night, the proceeds for each raffle were calculated and points were added to the final score of each contestant, depending on who got the most donations throughout the night. Five, 10, and 15 points were added to the three respective contestants with the most donations.
A panel of five judges assessed the performances. Alumna Jessica Perez (’15), was among those selected to pick the winner of the evening.
“I was contacted by the current Asian-American Alliance president … The AAA was a very big part of my college experience,” Perez said.
Each contestant went through various rounds of the competition, including a question and answer period and formal wear section, where each contestant wore a traditional garment representative of their association’s Asian country.
A talent section included performances in hip-hop and Bachata dancing, a song and dance routine to music from “Mulan” and even a cooking demonstration.
Each contestant then went on to perform in the cultural talent portion of the evening. Traditional drum performances took place alongside ribbon dancing and a reenactment of a Korean soap opera.
Eileen Chang, a senior elementary education and psychology double major, enjoyed experiencing Asian culture with her friends.
“I heard about the event through friends. It’s really great how all the organizations came together,” Chang said.
The crowd went wild as each contestant performed. The competition was fierce and in the final portion of the evening, each contestant was called up on stage to answer questions regarding their Asian identities.
Each contestant gave a moving answer to the questions, but was then forced to switch gears to answer trick questions from the hosts.
As the raffle winners’ names were drawn, the judges deliberated and tallied up their scores. In the end, Calvin Potter, a freshman chemistry major, took home the title of Mr. Pan Asian Alliance as a representative of the Korean Student Association. Potter’s organization raised $92 through the raffle alone, thus adding 15 points onto his final score.
“It feels really great to win,” Potter said, as adoring fans surrounded him. “But it’s not about winning. It’s about being here with everyone tonight.”