Miss Push America pageant winner crowned

Photos by Giselle Cancio/FIUSM 

Giselle Cancio/Staff Writer

The 11th annual Miss Push America pageant and second annual War of the Roses spread awareness about Push America to over 15 million people via social media and word of mouth.

Alongside the awareness? Over $12,000 raised.

“Our social media competition was a huge success in terms of the amount of people we spread awareness to,” Fernando Trillo, director of service for Pi Kappa Phi, junior majoring in psychology. “Due to several “retweets” on Twitter that students were able to get, we reached famous athletes, actors, actresses and reporters all around the world.”

Photo Feb 11, 11 33 27 PMWar of the Roses is a week of different events that spread awareness about Push America and it ends with the Miss Push America pageant. Throughout the week, each sorority who raises the most money at the end of the day gets points allocated to their War of the Roses total.

Alongside the events, there were two other ways to get points allocated: raising the most money online and having the most tweets and Instagram posts with the hashtags provided. When verified accounts re-tweeted the information, it counted as more points. The War of the Roses winner gets 10% back to their chapter’s philanthropy.

Every event held tied back to Push America and spreading awareness. Push America is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1977 through Pi Kappa Phi, who “builds leaders of tomorrow serving people with disabilities today.”

The events were Smash the Word, Push Challenge, Rose Hunt, Miss Push Fair and a friendship visit.

At Smash the Word participants had the opportunity to throw sponges covered in paint at a large wooden sign that had offensive words towards people with disabilities. At the Push Challenge, people were given disabilities like losing eye sight or the ability to walk and the goal was to complete a challenge.

At the Rose Hunt, participating sororities looked for roses in a small area located by the Graham Center to emphasize the teamwork Push America strives for. At the Push Fair, each contestant had to come up with their own event in order to raise money for Push America. The friendship visit was coordinated with Best Buddies and students with disabilities came to interact and play games with FIU students.

“The planning, time commitment and sacrifices are worth it,” Trillo said. “Knowing that people are so willing to support and learn about Push America is amazing.

For the second year in a row, Alpha Xi Delta was crowned the War of the Roses Champion. They were able to successfully raise over $1,800 through the online donation portal, alongside money donated at each event.

Viewer’s Choice was awarded to Karina Peiro, a junior majoring in hospitality management. The 2014 Miss Push America is Andrea Macias, a sophomore double majoring in event management and communications. Most Philanthropic, which was the individual who raised the most money at their individual event was also Macias.

Macias’ event at the Miss Push Fair was titled “Respectability: Andrea’s Push for America”. There were four components to the event, highlighting each one of Push America’s values: teamwork, empathy, integrity and ability.

For teamwork, participants teamed up and raised both funds and awareness through facts Macias provided about Push America. For empathy, the participants were placed in the shoes of someone with a disability and they had to eat cake without the use of their eyesight or hands.

This brought about a new perspective of the challenges that someone with disabilities would face in their everyday life. For integrity she made bracelets that served as a reminder of the morals that the participants learned not only at her event, but also throughout the week.

“The main focus of my event was on the last value of Push America, ability,” Macias said. “I wanted to prove to people that everyone can make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities so I came up with an activity called the language of respect.”

Here, she had the participants come up with uplifting and inspiring words and phrases in order to wash out offensive words that are used at times when referring to someone with a disability. Some of her favorite words and phrases were: “Push through it, you got this,” “Push forward,” and “Perseverance.”

As Miss Push America 2014, Macias would like to have more friendship visits at places like Hope and The Learning Experience. She also wants to bring about more interaction between Push America and the people with disabilities because that is what touches the brothers, and participants, the most.

“My biggest goal is to start up Theta Delta’s own Special Olympics,” Macias said. “I believe that it is a fun way to not only interact with people with disabilities, but also expose the FIU community to what Push America is all about.”


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