Phi Sigma Sigma’s “Monmouth Idol” Rocks Pollak

PHOTO COURTESY of Joseph Morrell

PHOTO COURTESY of Joseph Morrell

Approximately 300 students joined the ladies of Phi Sigma Sigma for “Monmouth Idol” in Pollak Theatre and raised over $2,000 for the sorority’s philanthropy: school and college readiness. The event showcased the talents of nine student acts, which focused primarily on singing.

Raymond Bogan, senior communication major, was voted winner of this year’s “Monmouth Idol.” Bogan showcased his talents by singing his cover of “This is What it Feels Like” by Armin Van Burren, while playing his guitar.

Bogan said, “It was a good feeling to win first place, I really put a good effort into it.” He played at “Monmouth Idol” last year and asked if he could participate again in this year’s event to try and win.

The student acts were judged by four student judges from 10:30 pm until midnight on Wednesday, Oct. 23 in Pollak Theatre. P.J. Antonucci, judge at the event, said the judging panel was looking for creativity, originality, song selection, crowd reaction and the voice of the singer during performances and used that criteria in deciding a winner.

The crowd played a major role during some of the performances, simply through their participation. There were times throughout the performances where the crowd was singing along with the performer, clapping to the beat, and even laughing. This audience participation seemed to boost the confidence of the performer, allowing them to overcome nerves.

Courtney Carr, junior communication major, experienced a bit of audience participation during her performance of Busta Rhyme’s verse from “Look at Me Now.” As soon as the crowd heard the beat, the audience reaction was tremendous. Carr said she was fueled off of the audience’s reaction. Carr also felt her crowd reaction was the best out of the other performers, which is why she placed second overall, after Bogan.

Kendal Adams, sophomore communication major, has been performing since she was six years old, and although she has been preforming for a substantial amount of time, she still experiences nerves. “When the audience participates, it helps me get into a zone,” Adams said.

Taylor Bernstein, who performed a cover of “Get Low,” by Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz, was the most controversial performance of the night, based on the reaction of the audience members.

“I didn’t think my performance would cause that much of an uproar, but I was expecting something,” said Bernstein. “During rehearsal when I practiced in front of my friends everyone was laughing, but it was great that the crowd enjoyed it.”

The hosts of the event were Renee Oleniacz, Phi Sigma Sigma President, and Travis Whitney of Sigma Pi fraternity. The two judges kept the night interesting by introducing each act, as well as providing an interesting “fun facts” about performers, which let the audience get to know the performer before they took the stage.

“Renee [Oleniacz] asked me to host, and it was always something I wanted to do,” said Whitney. Throughout Whitney’s four years here, he always wanted to host one big event. “I’m never really nervous about anything I do, so it’s easy for me to get up there and be myself,” he said.

Antonucci said, “I had a lot of fun. It was my first time judging something and it went really well. I also really appreciate the Phi Sigma girls because they did a great job.”

Jon Buchalski, Assistant Director of Student Activities for Fraternity and Sorority Life said, “I like this event because it actually showcases a lot of great talent that we have at the University that we might not know about.” Buchalski said this is the first major fraternity and sorority event done by one of the organizations, so he assumed there would be a good turnout.

To advertise the event, Phi Sigma Sigma published advertisements in The Outlook, distributed posters throughout campus and also promoted the event through Greek Senate. Scalas, Juniors, Hollywood Tans and Bagel Guys also helped sponsor the event.

Oleniacz said, “I was extremely fascinated with all the individuals who performed. It was one of the better groups of performances I had seen during my time in Phi Sigma Sigma. It was tough to choose the top finishers, but they were well deserved.”

Oleniacz was beyond pleased with the turnout of the event and the money raised for the philanthropy. “We appreciate the amount of support shown from other Greek organizations and the rest of the campus community, and in the future I would love to see more involvement of individuals from other sports teams and clubs,” she added.


PRSSA and ZTA Join Efforts to Help “Fall into Pink”

PHOTO TAKEN by Maggie Zelinka

PHOTO TAKEN by Maggie Zelinka

The University’s Shadow PR Firm and Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter teamed up with Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) to host the “Fall into Pink” event to raise almost $500 for Breast Cancer awareness and the Shadow PR Firm and the PRSSA Chapter from 1 – 4 pm on the patio of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Events of the day included a bake sale, pie-a-Zeta, and pumpkin painting. There was also a silent auction where students and faculty had the chance to bid on select items such as gift cards to Izu Sushi, Fro-Yo Beach, Starbucks, Halloween Express, Surf Taco, as well as a Pandora charm bracelet and a one month membership to Gold’s Gym.

Kelly Brockett, co-President of PRSSA, said PRSSA has made it their mission that whenever they hold a fundraiser, a portion of the profits will be donated to a non-profit, charity or not-for-profit organization.

Mary Harris, public relations professor and co- Advisor of PRSSA, discussed some expectations of the PRSSA in regards to the fundraiser by saying, “Our expectations are to raise awareness and funds for ZTA’s philanthropy of breast cancer awareness. This is also a fundraiser for the Shadow PR firm and PRSSA chapter. For PRSSA and Shadow PR fundraisers, a portion of what we raise is donated to a charity or nonprofit organization. This is part of our mission.”

“By connecting with other student groups on campus, it helps us increase awareness, visibility and success of our event because we have more people working on it and more people that know about the event, which in turn means the word is more efficiently spread, and the better chance we have of high attendance at the event,” said Brockett.

Erin Ally, junior communication major and active member of ZTA, said, “This was our first year teaming up and holding this event, but it is something that we are hoping to move into future years as well. It was a pleasure working with PRSSA for this event, and look forward to being involved with them more on campus.”

Brockett said, “I think PRSSA and ZTA teamed up and did a great job working together. ZTA organized the pie-a-Zeta table, brought the pumpkins, supplied the paint, brought some decorations, and assisted with the silent auction table. PRSSA, on the other hand, organized and publicized the event. It was a great collaboration and it definitely worked out to both of our benefits.”

Ally said the event was an idea that PRSSA had based off of their spring 2013 silent auction fundraiser, “Spring Carnival,” where a total of $750 was raised.

Kristi Silver, co-President of PRSSA, said, “We do think the event was successful, we didn’t raise as much as we hoped because we did not receive as many donations as we did for our previous auction. We did meet our goal of $500, though.” While both organizations did raise a combined total of $500, it did not surpass the organizations’ expectations; however, when it comes to raising money for charity, every dollar raised is a mark of success.

“This was our big event for the fall semester. We are planning on having another event similar to this in the spring as well as hosting Monmouth University’s first ever dance-a-thon to benefit the Valerie Fund of Monmouth county, which is dedicated to improving the lives and treatment process for children with cancer and rare blood disorders. More details about that will emerge throughout the semester,” added Silver.

Several different acoustic guitarists played during the event from the Music Alliance and Blue Hawk Records to increase publicity and increase student awareness. Senior music industry major, Brian Haring, was one of the four artists to perform. Haring said he was excited to perform during the event because he tries not to pass up on any opportunity to perform and the exposure that comes along with it.

Haring also decided to perform because his best friend’s grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer twice, but fortunately was strong enough to overcome it both times. “Its still hard to deal with,” said Haring. “Even though its come and gone, its never easy to deal with breast cancer…”

Jessica Ketch, junior psychology major, was the winner of $10 Starbucks gift card and a Gold’s Gym membership in Long Branch. Ketch said she bid on the items because she wanted to donate to the charities and support a good cause. “I was expecting to win since I came towards the end of the event and one of the items

“I bid on was almost up to its actual value,” she added. Ketch was very exciting about winning two of the many items up for bid, but moreover was happy to contribute over $50 to charity.