Omega Phi Alpha hosts pageant to raise money to help fight heart disease

Louisville Fiji senior Ben Aroh fixes the glasses of his girlfriend, Louisville Alpha Omicron Pi sophomore Christen Profancik. Aroh and Profancik, who won the Beauty and the Greek pageant, dressed up as an elderly couple for the interview portion. KATIE MCLEAN/HERALD

Tyler Prochazka

It’s not often that WKU students see men dressed as panda bears, a High School Musical dance routine and interpretive dance all in one night.

However, Omega Phi Alpha’s Valentine’s Pageant gave the audience just that.


The night before Valentine’s Day, Omega Phi Alpha hosted its second annual Valentine’s Pageant to raise money for Hope Heart Institute, an organization that aims to help stop heart disease. This year, the pageant raised $1,000 for the organization.

Lexington junior Lisa Zangari, who is part of Omega Phi Alpha and was head of the planning committee for the event, said she thought the pageant was an improvement on last year’s event, as it was more of a “last minute idea.”

“This year we started a committee in December, so we knew exactly what we wanted to happen,” Zangari said.

One of the big differences from last year was that a representative from Hope Heart, Joie Hsu, the volunteer outreach coordinator for Hope Heart, flew from Washington to Kentucky to be on the judging panel, Zangari said.

Hsu said she was happy to get to participate in the event, and said she thought it was a good way to spread awareness about the cause and her organization.

“It’s great to see young people get involved,” Hsu said. “(This event) creates a lively atmosphere around the cause.”

To create the “lively atmosphere,” the event included a talent show, and a question and answer session. During the talent portion, acts ranged from violins and string twirling, to interpretive dancing to Psy’s “Gangnam Style” inter-spliced with orchestral music.

After dressing as hipsters, singing “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers and finally, portraying an elderly couple during the question and answer session, Phi Gamma Delta’s Ben Aroh and Alpha Omicron Pi’s Christen Profancik were the top choice for the judges at the end of the pageant.

“My favorite thing is kissing her with her teeth-less mouth,” Aroh said, while portraying an elderly couple.

Paducah junior Mary Riley, also with Omega Phi Alpha, originally contacted Hope Heart to invite a representative from the organization to participate.

Riley said originally she was nervous about contacting Hope Heart, but that they seemed really excited about coming to WKU after they began talking.

For Riley, helping the Hope Heart organization’s cause has a personal significance.

“Heart disease runs in my family, that’s why I think it’s so important,” Riley said.

According to Hsu, after communication with Omega Phi Alpha, Hope Heart is attempting to initiate a Hope Heart outreach committee at WKU “for students passionate about diabetes.”

The aim is to have a Hope Heart club established by the end of the year at WKU, Hsu said.

“Hopefully, by the end of the year, we have a solid group of forces,” Hsu said.

Hope Heart also has “good relations” with sororities and fraternities across the country, since most have a philanthropic aspect, but what sets WKU apart is Omega Phi Alpha specifically sought out Hope Heart, Hsu said.

“I love the energy of college students,” Hsu said.

One of the emcees, Paducah senior Emily Evanko, an alumna of Omega Phi Alpha, said she was flattered to be asked to participate in the event again this year.

Part of Evanko’s job was to “keep things rolling,” which meant improvising much of her script throughout the night.

While she said she was nervous, Evanko hoped she was able to play a part in helping Hope Heart raise money.

In the end, though, Hsu said she hopes one of the main things students take away from the event is that they “can always get involved” in causes like Hope Heart.

“It’s all a win-win if people are healthy and making a difference in their lives and others,” Hsu said.