Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
“Mr. Swarthmore” competition will be held for the second year in a row, by the the Ladies Soiree Society (LaSS); the competition will be in Upper Tarble at 8 pm today. Organizers are confident that new twists and new contestants will make this event even more entertaining than last year’s, which succeeded in raising $1,084 for the American Cancer Society and named Raul Ordonez ’09, Mr. Basketball, as Mr. Swarthmore 2007.
Organizers Claire Melin ’08 and Jessica Hamilton ’09 are excited about the many changes being made to the event. Among the most prominent being a new charity, the Women’s Community Revitalization Project, which Hamilton describes as “committed to social and economic justice for low income women and their families.” She added that since LaSS is a woman’s organization, “this is a very personally important group.”
In addition to a new charity, Melin hinted towards new surprises. This year’s judges will be Dean Tom Elverson, Registrar Martin Warner, and Katie Courbet a ‘Kohlberg Diva’ of the Kohlberg Coffee Bar. The contestants will be Dan Abdul-Malak ’09 (Mr. TopSoccer), Seth Hara ’08 (Mr. Engineer), Tramane Hall ’11 (Mr. Swimming), G Patrick ‘10 (Mr. Rhythm and Motion), Jaymes Fairfax-Colombo ’10 (Mr. Massage), Gage Newman ’11 (Mr. Soccer), Fletcher Coleman ‘09 (Mr. SBC), Andrew VanBuren ’10 (Mr. Cross-Country), Connor Darby ’09 (Mr. Track), Danny Walker ‘10 (Mr. Basketball), Alex Ginsberg ‘08 (Mr. DU), Daniel Jamison ‘08 (Mr. Psi Phi), and Shumpei Tse ’10 (Mr. SAC).
The contestants themselves seem both eager and nervous about the competition and have a range of explanations for how they became involved. Tramane Hall, Mr. Swimming, said, “I was really honored to say the least…. While I’m certainly aiming to have fun, I’m definitely in it to win it, so my competitors should bring their A-game.” Fletcher Coleman, Mr. SBC, candidly recalled his reaction to the nomination as “a cross between apprehension and resignation, knowing that I will at least be making a fool of myself for a good cause.”
This year’s Mr. Psi Phi, Jamison explains, “Well, it was a long and rigorous decision process. We started off with over thirty possible Psi Phi delegates to the Mr. Swarthmore competition, but, after ten days, I was the only one left. The zip-line pie-eating contest was what caused the most disqualifications, but I mastered that one with ease. Basically, I am Mr. Psi Phi, and that was true from the start, whether or not my detractors and would-be-assassins disagree. I am looking for only one thing from the contest this Friday: glorious triumph. I plan to revel in my victory for at least three days after the competition….”
Contestants are excited about the competition for many reasons. Danny Walker sees himself following in the footsteps of the last Mr. Basketball, Raul Ordonez named Mr. Swarthmore 2007, “I am looking forward to the competition because I think I can win it, basketball team going for two years straight.” Andrew Van Buren, Mr. Cross Country, observes: “Apart from seeing who will walk away with the title, I’m eager to see Swarthmore’s finest clad only in swimsuits. Everyone should come watch; it’s bound to be an entertaining evening.”
G. Patrick, Mr. Rhythm n Motion, shared some of his strategies regarding the competition. He said, “I think of myself as a performer, but there is a difference between an intention of performing and an intention of amusing.… Events like Mr. Swarthmore require contestants to be ridiculous and entertaining. This means they HAVE to please and keep an audience of their peers enthralled. The problem is that often, what is funny to us is not funny to others…. Although all this may sound intimidating, failure is an option if you do it right.” Patrick elaborates, “If a dancer falls and then includes being on the ground as the next move, the audience is delighted.”
If nothing else, the candidates seem pleased for the opportunity to represent their respective groups for the rest of the campus. Seth Hara, Mr. Engineer, states “Having been chosen as Mr. Engineer by SWE, I was approached as to whether I’d be willing to represent the department in the Mr. Swarthmore competition. I was honored to be given such great responsibility and it is a personal obligation for me to represent my
fellow engineers well”.