One week, many international trips

Six guys, one crown, tons of testosterone, and countless amounts of daring and charm: It must be an all-male pageant. DuPont Hall hosted its first Mr. DuPont Pageant the night of Feb. 28. The competition was tough and the stakes were high — the winner received a $25 Wawa gift card — but the main purpose of the event was to raise money for Operation Smile, a non-profit medical organization that gives free cleft lip and cleft palate reconstructive surgery to children around the world. DuPont Hall Council Secretary Alicia Howard ’16, who was one of the organizers of the event, explained the planning that took place. “We played with the idea of having a pageant for a little bit,” Howard said. “We brought it up to the general council and had a lot of enthusiastic support for it.” Mr. DuPont pageant contestants included, in order of appearance: Cooper Nelson ’16, Tim Putnam ’16, Daniel Sutherland ’16, George Rudebusch ’16, Matthew Ferry ’16 and Ian Kirkwood ’16. For the first part of the pageant, all of the gentlemen dressed in their formal wear while the emcee gave a quick overview of each contestant. Kirkwood’s description included a sandwich metaphor in which the emcee portrayed Kirkwood as “not lacking in the meat department,” having “the buns for the job,” and encouraged the audience to “holla at a hoagie.” The next part of the show was the talent portion. Putnam attempted to solve a Rubik’s Cube while juggling. Even though he had to forego the juggling to finish the Cube, he was able to crack a few jokes. “Did you ever hear about that guy who got his left side chopped off?” Putnam asked. “He’s all right now.” Rudebusch’s talent was the shortest of all. “I’m a man of many talents,” Rudebusch said as he strutted to hand a rose to a lady in the audience. “But my best talent is charm.” The contestants appeared to have fun for the swimwear part of the pageant, although not all of them understood the meaning of the term “swimwear.” For example, Sutherland appeared in compression shorts. He also attempted to imitate Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance while wearing the shorts. The winner was crowned according to whoever raised the most money for Operation Smile. Spectators put donations into the collection box with their favorite candidate’s name on it. Even though the audience appeared to enjoy all the contestants’ antics, the title of Mr. DuPont was given to Ferry, who will now be given the opportunity to compete in the campus-wide Mr. William and Mary Pageant this month. Howard admitted that she was initially a little concerned about how the attendance would be for the pageant, especially since some of the DuPont RAs had been joking that the event would not go over well. Despite these misgivings, she said she thought the turnout was fairly decent. The pageant managed to raise $202.76 for Operation Smile, and Howard seemed pleased. “We’re going to research a little bit to figure out how we can give the funds directly to [Operation Smile] instead of through a third party,” Howard said. “We chose Operation Smile just because it is a really powerful charity. … The fact that it’s working with these young kids is, I think, a little bit more touching for us as college students.” Nelson, president of DuPont Hall Council and a pageant organizer, was excited to participate and raise money for Operation Smile. “My favorite part of the pageant was just putting it on,” Nelson said. “This was a lot of prep work that led up to tonight, and I’m really happy that we were able to donate so much money to a good cause. … Operation Smile, a lot of us have personal connections to it … so it’s been really nice to work with them.” Nelson also said that he was not nervous at all for the pageant and enjoyed the spontaneity. “I was just aiming to have fun and have a good time out there,” Nelson said. Emily Payne ’16 felt that the contestants did have a good time, although she hopes that future pageants can be advertised more and have more contestants. “My favorite part of the pageant was the surprise of the contestant coming around the corner,” Payne said. “You never knew what was coming.”

King Puck is the name of the bronze statue of a goat overlooking Killorglin, Ireland. The monument commemorates the town’s ancient festival celebrated every August. During its spring break trip to County Kerry, the College of William and Mary’s women’s golf team stopped by the attraction for pictures. However, the notice beside the sculpture disappointed Anna McMullen ’15 and her teammates.

“Tina Chang [’16] and I wanted to climb on the goat’s back, but a sign said it was strictly prohibited,” McMullen said. “However, our usually subdued coach, Jay Albaugh, hopped right up on the statue. It was hysterically funny because he is so quiet the majority of the time.”

The College’s golf program organizes a trip every two years, alternating between the men’s and the women’s teams. This year, it was the women’s turn to join the ranks of student groups with international spring break destinations. The team’s tour stops included Blarney Castle, home of the renowned Blarney Stone, as well as local restaurants and pubs.

“Cork City has a huge central street that reminded me a lot of Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Then, just one street over, there was a huge local food market full of vendors selling fruit, entire sheep and fresh sausages,” McMullen said. “The juxtaposition of those two different places was really, really cool to see.”

Of course, the trip did not solely consist of touring. When they were not visiting popular local attractions, the golfers were competing in a difficult but rewarding Killarney golf tournament.

“At one point [during the tournament], my teammate [Alex Liu ’16] and I got on our stomachs and looked over this huge cliff at the Atlantic,” McMullen said. “All of the courses had phenomenal views that really took my breath away. I’m so glad I can say that I’ve played golf with my team on some of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the world.”

Most other international spring break trips organized by student groups this year were service-based. Canterbury, the College’s Episcopal Campus Ministry, embarked on a mission to the impoverished district of San Mateo in Belize. Paige Trivett ’15 and her fellow volunteers contributed to the construction of a Belizean school at the Holy Cross Anglican School. The friendliness of the Belizeans that Trivett met while painting roofs to ensure cooler classrooms impressed her.

“Respect is a very important part of Belizean culture,” Trivett said. “It’s considered rude to not smile and wave at someone you pass, even if they are a complete stranger. The students that I worked with gave me pictures that they drew. They have next to nothing, and they wanted to give me gifts.”

As part of another trip to Central America, members of the College’s chapter of Students Helping Honduras traveled to the small town of Villa Soleada outside of El Progreso. Group members Grace Fernandez ’15 and Inez Paz ’16 assisted with the construction of a new library and school that will help further bilingual education in the impoverished neighborhood. In addition to promoting education and literacy with local schoolchildren, the volunteers attended salsa lessons, soccer games and presentations dealing with drug violence in Central America. Fernandez found several cultural experiences particularly eye-opening.

“I had to kill a chicken in order to cook it for our lunch,” Fernandez said in an email. “The Honduran community members noticed how much food the American volunteers waste. It was good experience for us [because that way] we would really know where our food comes from.”

In addition to providing new cultural insight, the trip served to energize the group’s fundraising efforts. Inspired by the work ethic of the Hondurans she met over spring break, Paz said she is eager to organize future bake sales and coin drives.

“They want a better future for themselves. They are hard-working and appreciative of aid,” Paz said. “They want education, and they work hard to ensure that their kids can have it. Hondurans have a lot of pride in their success but don’t let it get in the way of continuing progress.”


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