UWF Phi Beta Sigma’s groundbreaking week

Sara Kitchin, Staff Writer

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated made its mark at the University of West Florida on April 8, 2007, which was the beginning of the Beta Beta Phi chapter. 

Since this date, the Beta Beta Phi chapter has contributed a countless amount of effort to UWF and the surrounding community. 

The Sigmas recently hosted their Sigma Week, which started on April 3, lasting through April 10. The week was full of daily events or competitions. 

Part of the proceeds collected during this week went to March of Dimes, which is an organization striving for the improvement of the health of mothers and babies regardless of wealth, race, gender or geography. 

Each day of the week played a part in the Miss Phi Beta Sigma Pageant, which celebrates the accomplishments of collegiate women displaying scholarship, elegance, style and grace.

The pageant contestants were Paxstyn Spaulding, Chastity Frazier, Madelyn Whitehead, Anaijah Harris and Lauren Strickland. 

The first day was the social media competition kickoff, during which a photo of each contestant was posted on the uwfsigmas Instagram. The photo that received the most likes gave points to the winning contestant. Harris started the competition with the social media win.

The second day, April 4, was the Sigma ticket raffle tabling. Contestants and brothers sold tickets for the Walk Like a Sigma Pageant the following day and for the Beauty and the Sigma Miss Phi Beta Sigma Pageant at the end of the week. 

Walk Like a Sigma was a major event for Sigma Week, consisting of four teams competing to see who had the best Sigma walk.

Teams practiced for two weeks before the event to not only learn how to stroll, but also gain knowledge about strolling and the history behind it. Teams were able to develop bonds with the Sigmas to outlast the competition. 

UWF student Gary Grady served as the event director for both Walk Like a Sigma and the Miss Phi Beta Sigma Pageant. Grady put maximum effort into organizing the events and bringing Walk Like a Sigma back to campus after four years. 

“It was such an honor and a privilege to be trusted as the event head of such monumental staple events such as these,” Grady said. “It was an amazing opportunity that I took full advantage of!”

The four teams gave their all on stage, leaving people in the crowd to say it was the “best campus event” they had been to.

Team Pretty Chaos took home the medals, giving Spaulding and Frazier more points toward the competition.

A beach cleanup and cool down were scheduled for April 6 and 7, leading up to the main event at the end of the week. 

The Miss Phi Beta Sigma event took place in the conference center at the UWF Commons at 7:14 p.m. on April 8. The room was packed with supporters ready to watch the show and the crowning of Miss Phi Beta Sigma for first place, Miss Beta Beta Phi for second and Miss Blue and White for third.

The pageant began with an opening routine to commence the pageant and introduce the contestants.

The next round was a feature called What Makes a Woman. The contestants made short videos prior to the pageant about the qualities that make a woman. People who exemplify these characteristics, such as mothers, inspirational celebrities and sorority sisters, were included in the videos.

The next round was a talent round, during which each participant chose a talent to perform for the audience. Talents ranged from a color guard performance to spoken word, and even onstage painting.

For the final round, contestants wore long, elegant dresses and displayed them onstage with confident pageant-style walks.

After deliberation, the judges declared Harris the new Miss Phi Beta Sigma.

Harris’s hard work resulting in a win made her feel honored and excited for what is to come. 

“It felt amazing to be able to be crowned Miss PBS,” Harris said. “It was wonderful to be able to give back to the people who have helped and supported me through so much.”

The second- and third-place contestants were awarded, with Spaulding named Miss Beta Beta Phi being Spaulding and Frazier named Miss Blue and White, respectively. 

All these ladies felt incredible to be crowned and look forward to the future and their bond with the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma.

“Since I’m highly introverted, it was a new experience for me,” Frazier said. “I got to make so many friends out of such a great experience and be crowned Miss Blue and White which was even better. It has gotten me out of my introverted shell and helped me make more connections and friends.”

The queens are to keep their positions for two years and then pass the mantle. 

Neither of these events would have been possible or as successful without Grady organizing and executing them. Grady said he is thankful for the knowledge he took away from these events, especially learning what makes a pageant run.

“It was indeed very, very rewarding to see all the hard work and dedication come to life as everybody went out there strolling on the stage and doing their best Sigma walk,” Grady said. “It was such a joy to see that many people come to watch the show! And it was a joy to be able to bring in new queens and do something that hasn’t been done in four years! Then to have it come around full spin to see the contestants up on the stage giving their all was truly a blessing.”

Grady would like everyone to know that Walk Like a Sigma will be back and better, so stay tuned.