The 18th-annual Big Man on Campus talent show ended with several Zeta Tau Alpha sorority members on stage waiting for the envelope they have spent the past 11 months working for.
As one member handed them the envelope, several of the other women began laughing and screaming in excitement.
“I’m so nervous my hands are shaking,” one member said, “I don’t even think I can open it.”
As she read the number, $182,000, the girls began to cry and hug.
Zeta became one step closer to reaching its goal of “making pink just a color again” by raising $182,116.13 for breast cancer research through fundraising by canning, selling shirts and organizing BMOC.
This year’s theme was “Tackling Breast Cancer” and Zeta is funding the National Football League Crucial Catch Pink Ribbon product which provides more than one million pink ribbons at 26 games this month to spread awareness about breast cancer.
The night started with Robin Miller, mother of Zeta philanthropy co-chair Allie Miller, sharing her story of surviving both thyroid and breast cancer and encouraging audience members to live their lives to the fullest. She was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was 30 weeks pregnant.
Robin has been cancer-free for the past 17 years but said she is scared at every doctor’s appointment that it may have come back.
“Hearing I had breast cancer, I felt I heard that I was going to die,” Miller said. “Nice try cancer, I’m still here.”
This year, 24 men from fraternities and other organizations, including Evans Scholars, Kappa Alpha Psi, Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Pi, participated in Big Man on Campus.
Evan Grant and Andrew Green, two members of the now-suspended Sigma Nu fraternity competed under the name, “The Kids Who Used to Live Across the Street."
Team talents ranged from wing-eating contests, rapping the entirety of “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss to “The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem, but some talents stood out and received standing ovations from the crowd.
Lucas Brace of Phi Kappa Psi had the entire auditorium cheering while he speed ate Pop Tarts to the song “Remember the Name” by Fort Minor. Brace broke the world record last year for speed-eating Pop Tarts but had his record broken in March.
Brace tried to reclaim his title but unfortunately did not beat the 00:27:70 time.
Richard Cao of Acacia played “Come Sail Away” by Styx on the piano and guitar while several of his brothers acted as a choir and sang. Cao received a standing ovation from several audience members after ripping off his clothes to reveal a green thong leotard. He had written BMOC across his exposed rear end.
Josh Mannis of Alpha Epsilon Pi won the talent portion by singing a melody of “XO Tour Llif3” by Lil Uzi Vert, “iSpy” by KYLE ft. Lil Yachty and “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers ft. Daya.
Quinn Cohen and Liam O’Conner of Beta Theta Pi won the People’s Choice award by singing a song about Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s Monster about a concert at the Beta house last week that ended with a fence being torn down.
The People’s Choice award is chosen by the audience who get to vote by putting money in cans outside of the venue.
The BMOC decision is based on who raises the most money and is the most helpful to Zeta during the fundraising process. This year’s winner was Tanner Larkins of Tau Kappa Epsilon.
Larkins raised $5,430 and ended the performances by singing an acoustic version of “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers as his talent.
First runner-up was the duo of Evan Grant and Andrew Green, part of "The Kids Who Used to Live Across the Street," who raised $4,897. Second runner-up was Jeremy Mullins, of Theta Chi, who raised $4,577.
Part of the money raised will be donated the Think Pink foundation and Dr. Hari Nakshatri of IU Medical Center, who is doing breast cancer research on estrogen-like chemicals found in many cosmetic products.
Zeta philanthropy co-chair Michaela Wade said they reached their goal by raising $6,000 more than they did last year, but that the real goal is spreading awareness.
“We try to get away from the goal being a total because our goal is to spread awareness and support and help women with breast cancer,” Wade said. “That night was a celebration of all the hard work we’ve done and for all the women fighting breast cancer every day."