Miss Greek -Elizabeth Rodland was crowned Miss Greek 2013 on Sunday night at Meany Hall. Photo by Eli Chin
Six months ago, freshman Elizabeth Rodland wrote a letter to her sorority, Alpha Phi, explaining why she thought she’d be a good representative of her house in the 27th-annual Miss Greek pageant.
Now, the freshman can count herself among the years of winners, after being crowned Miss Greek 2013 on Sunday night at Meany Hall.
“I’d just been looking to put my time toward something fulfilling,” Rodland said.
Since 1986, the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity has been running Miss Greek each spring to provide monetary support for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. This year’s Miss Greek, organized by juniors Damon Acoba and Conrad Pendergast, brought 12 UW sororities and the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity together to showcase talent and passion for philanthropy.
The three-hour pageant was the culmination of six months of fundraising and preparation.
Like the 11 other contestants, Rodland was determined to raise at least $7,000, the fundraising goal for all of the participants, to help fund research to eliminate cancer.
Rodland said her determination came from Marques Weekly, one of her best friends from high school who passed away last year. Both of them had a passion for running, which Rodland shared as her talent in a video.
“I wanted to make him proud,” Rodland said. “He was my motivation through the entire philanthropy.”
Miss Greek candidates work with their houses to fundraise in a variety of ways, from waffle feeds to emailing friends and family to contacting businesses. Hannah Johnson, who represented Chi Omega, sent letters via snail mail to more than 1,000 people, including friends, family, and Chi Omega alumni.
“Raising money for cancer research is a great way to unify the Greek community because everyone has been touched by cancer somewhere in their lives, and everyone is willing to support this cause,” Pendergast said.
This year’s Miss Greek pageant raised more than $66,000. Alpha Delta Pi representative Sara Shokouhi was the top-fundraising contestant, having collected double the amount of the original goal, and Rodland raised more than $11,000. In its 27 years, Miss Greek has raised more than $1.6 million for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
“It astounds me every year how much effort and time these young women put into fundraising and Miss Greek each year, whether they’ve been touched by cancer or not,” said Jennifer Pawlosky, the director of development communications and marketing for Fred Hutchinson. “Without private support, we would not be able to pursue breakthrough research, which makes Fred Hutch Fred Hutch.”
For Rodland, the pageant has been more meaningful than she had imagined it would be in the fall.
“[Miss Greek has] just been the most fulfilling experience I’ve ever had my freshmen year of college,” Rodland said. “I think it’s incredible we’ve raised $66,000.”