Monday, November 16, 2009

The 64th Annual Miss University of Southern Mississippi Pageant

Every year, the University of Southern Mississippi and the Student Government Association organize and present a pageant entitled Miss University of Southern Mississippi. The pageant serves as a preliminary for Miss Mississippi. This year's took place on Friday, November 13th in Bennett Auditorium. As expected, many tickets were sold and the night was a success. The former holder of the Miss Mississippi title, Christine Kozlowski, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. This was quite an honor for all who attended.

The pageant consisted of a pre-completed interview with the judges, talent portion, swimsuit and fitness, evening gown, and an onstage question. Seven outstanding USM students participated in the Miss USM pageant.

After the judges tabulated their scores, the night concluded with the previous Miss USM, Maggie Evans, crowning the newest Miss University of Southern Mississippi. This year's winner of the crown was Kristen Benigno from Laurel, Mississippi. The title of first runner up was given to Lee Armstrong and the second runner up title was given to Lyndsay Pleas.

Top left photo: Miss USM 2009, Maggie Evans, crowns Miss USM 2010, Kristen Benigno.
Bottom left photo: Second Runner-Up Lyndsay Pleas performs her talent for the audience.

USM Fall Dance Concert

The University of Southern Mississippi is known for many aspects of campus life, from athletics to greek life to the fine arts. One of the greatest organizations within this field is the Repertory Dance Company, which is located out of the Theatre and Dance Building on the Southern Miss campus. Every year, the dance company puts on a fall show and a spring show during those respective semesters. This semester, the concert was held November 5-8 in the Mannoni Performing Arts Center.

The concert consisted of seven modern pieces choreographed by both students and faculty in the dance department. Some of the pieces consisted of multiple dancers, while others were solo pieces. What sets these pieces apart from other dances is that they each originate from a certain idea that the choreographer comes up with, then set to music. Next, the choreographer sets certain dancers to the piece. Finally, costumes are made and the piece is practiced rigorously. The intense work and the dedication of the Southern Miss dancers definitely shone through in their fabulous performances this semester.

Above is a picture from the first piece, "Thumhare Liya."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chi Omega's 58th Annual Songfest

For the past 58 years, the Epsilon Delta chapter of Chi Omega here at the University of Southern Mississippi has raised thousands of dollars for the Make A Wish Foundation. The Make A Wish Foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses in order to provide them with strength and joy in their time of need. The ladies of Chi Omega take our philanthropy very seriously. We begin preparation for Songfest months prior to the event. Last year, my first year as a Chi Omega, we were able to raise $19,000 for the foundation. This money allowed us to grant two very special wishes to children in the Hattiesburg area. We were able to send a young girl, Haven, to New York City on a shopping spree. In addition, we presented a young boy with the horse of his dreams.

This year, Songfest took place on November 10. Our goal this year was $25,000. Through raising money in the Hattiesburg area and selling raffle tickets, we were able to raise a final amount of $26,000. We were extremely proud of our efforts because we know this money will be very helpful in granting wishes to sick children.

The night of Songfest began with performances by half of the greek organizations on campus. Each sorority and fraternity either sings a Christmas song, or rewrites a popular song with Christmas lyrics. Some even incorporate choreographed dancing. After that half performs, there is a ten minute intermission during which guests can purchase raffle tickets and socialize. The intermission entertainment this year was provided by students from a school in McComb, Mississippi. After intermission, the remaining greek organizations performed. To finish the show, Chi Omega performed three special Christmas songs and awards were given out to the winners. The night concluded with the award to "Most Spirited" given out to the organization whose performance was best according to our special guest judge, a Make A Wish child from the area.

Visit the Make A Wish Foundation at for more information or to learn how to get involved!