Students, faculty can donate to Miss Black EIU pageant

Kalyn Hayslett, Editor-in-Chief

Coordinators are seeking donations for the 46th annual Miss Black EIU Scholarship Pageant, “The Journey of a Queen: The Coming of a New Reign,” to help meet the pageant’s financial needs.

The key component of the competition is scholarships given to the winning contestants, something most people forget, Julianne Adegoriolu, pageant co-coordinator and current Miss Black EIU, said.

The scholarship money does fluctuate throughout the years based on the amount of funding, but Miss Black EIU typically earns a $1,000 scholarship and the first runner-up receives $750.

The impact of a stopgap budget has forced numerous departments on campus to cut their spending and has made it difficult for the contestants and the coordinators to fundraise, Adegoriolu said.

“Funding has been very hard as far as raising the money, because a lot of departments are having to cut back on their own funding so they can’t give out too much,” Adegoriolu said. “However, I am blessed that Miss Black is still alive and is able to produce the show.”

Students, staff, faculty and community members can donate to the pageant no later than Monday, Feb. 20 by contacting Adegoriolu or Ceci Brinker, the director of Student Life. People who are interested can visit the Student Activities Center on the second floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union next to the bridge lounge.

The University Board has partnered with coordinators to help with the pageant’s production, equipment and entertainment but the pageant needs other departments to contribute, pageant coordinator Aaliyah Stephen said.

“It’s very difficult when we are trying to do something that’s literally mind-blowing and people don’t want to help,” she said. “It’s different organizations that are trying to contribute to this amazing event but it’s very difficult to maintain the budget in a sense where we have enough money to give back to the girls for their hard work.”

People can donate by giving a monetary pledge, donating a product or they can purchase an ad that will be displayed in the pageant’s booklet.

Adegoriolu said the booklets would have each contestant’s name, year and major along with her life motto and what she believes in. The booklet will also serve as a program.

“As you go through her page you will see people who have bought ads. Whether it is family with special notes or special letters that say, ‘We’re cheering for you,’ ‘We are rooting for you,’ ‘Congratulations,’ ‘we are so proud of you,’” Adegoriolu said. “If it’s a company they will have their ad in there saying they support a particular contestant or they support the pageant as a whole.”

People who have items or products like garments or accessories can either have them be used in the pageant or given as gifts, Adegoriolu said.

“Say there is someone who makes blankets. They can donate that towards Miss Black and that will be a gift that can be given to the pageant contestants,” Adegoriolu said.

The money donated will help purchase items for the pageant and will contribute to the scholarship fund.

Without having as much funding as expected, the pageant coordinators had to choose less expensive trophies, cut down on marketing and use different products for the contestant’s gifts, Adegoriolu said.

“We just had to be more smart on how we spent things. We’d rather have the money go back to the girls than to little minor things that can be cut back on,” Adegoriolu said. “We were trying to make sure the girls get their scholarship rather than spend $1,000 on marketing… we can cut our cost on (marketing) and that (money) can go back into the girl’s scholarship.”

The pageant is something that must continue and will continue regardless of the funding, Stephen said.

Any excess money raised will be saved for next year’s pageant.

“It goes on, so we can continue this tradition so there will be a 47th Miss Black EIU, so there will be a 48th Miss Black EIU,” Adegoriolu said.

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].