In the annual Mr. Michigan contest Sunday, eight contestants walked a red carpet in the Michigan Union and showed off a variety of talents — from playing instruments to lip syncing to cooking.
LSA senior Mario Cale, a member of the Pre-Medical Club, won the pageant, which is produced annually as a fundraiser by the University’s chapter of the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children.
FIMRC is a national nonprofit organization that works to improve health in developing nations worldwide, particularly in the fields of child and maternal health.
LSA senior Elizabeth Bruno, FIMRC president, said the organization most recently collaborated with Michigan Health Engineered for All Lives to fund and build a gynecological examination table for a FIMRC clinic in Nicaragua.
This year, the money raised by the Mr. Michigan contest will go toward building latrines in the Dominican Republic to improve sanitary conditions.
“It’s definitely helping those areas by bringing the latrines, which have a zinc top that’s going to keep up through the rainy season,” Bruno said. “That’s just one of the ways that not only our chapter but FIMRC in general works with communities to spread knowledge about those kinds of things.”
LSA sophomore Jason Millen, FIMRC fundraising co-chair, was one of the main coordinators of the event. He said this year’s event had the biggest turnout in recent memory.
“Last year we only sold about 80 tickets, which isn’t bad,” Millen said. “But we’re expecting over a hundred this year.”
LSA sophomore Sheema Rehman, FIMRC treasurer, said the heightened attendance was due to an increase in participating student organizations. Seven organizations, in particular, collaborated with FIMRC: Circle K, Red Cross, Phi Delta Epsilon, Alpha Phi Omega, Seventh Mile Music, Pre-Medical Club and MRelay.
“It’s the diversity of the groups that we got,” Rehman said. “Normally we target the pre-med and pre-health clubs on campus, but this year we were able to get MRelay and Seventh Mile Music and these are some awesome additions to have.”
Bruno said the organization tries to revamp its event every year by adding new elements — this year, they auctioned off gift baskets donated by local businesses.
“The way that we’re doing the baskets is completely new, as well as the setup and everything,” Bruno said. “They’re fresh ideas in this fundraiser that we know works really well.”
Overall, Rehman said, Mr. Michigan is a fun way to fundraise through entertainment and collaboration with others.
“We love to see everyone in the audience laughing,” she said, “And we look forward to building upon this event next year.”