Who Will Be Crowned the Next Mr. SVC?


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This spring, another group of senior men will compete to see who will be crowned this year’s Mr. SVC at the yearly pageant and fundraiser for The Banana Project. The third annual Mr. SVC Pageant will be held at the start of Spring Family Weekend this year on Friday, April 22 at 8:30 p.m. in the Carey Performing Arts Center.

The Banana Project was founded three years ago by Olivia Sharkey, who, after returning from a service trip to Guatemala established the foundation with the help of numerous other people. The project seeks to combat the malnutrition students face everyday at Francisco Coll Elementary School in Guatemala. This particular school services around 350 students from first to sixth grade that live in what is known as the Dump community, a poverty-stricken community that sustains itself by scavenging the city’s garbage dump.

“This is a great event for a good cause,” said Fr. Rene Kollar, Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Humanities and sponsor of the Mr. SVC pageant.

Due to these conditions, the school attempts to provide students not only with a valuable education, but also with regular meals and emotional and spiritual support. At this time, the elementary school is only able to afford one banana per week for each student at their school, which is one of only a few appropriate nutritious items in the students’ diets. The school offers other less nutritious snack options, such as bread and cookies, which are cheaper for the school to purchase.

The goal of The Banana Project is to assist in the elimination of malnutrition by aiming to provide more bananas on a weekly basis to the students. The main event for achieving this goal is the yearly pageant. The donations received throughout the pageant go to The Banana Project.

“We are so excited about this year’s pageant! This year, we’ve implemented quite a few changes, including a running theme for the pageant, new entertainment and a ‘Sponsorship Competition’ for our boys to encourage more outside fundraising for The Banana Project,” said SVC senior Alexis Zawelensky, Director of the Mr. SVC Pageant. “Our contestants are spectacular. They’re so enthusiastic about competing, so creative with their fun fashion costume ideas, so encouraging of one another and most importantly so committed to fundraising for The Banana Project.”

The pageant consists of a choreographed opening number, a music performance, a fun fashion section, a formal wear section, a question and answer section and an intermission featuring the People’s Choice vote. The People’s Choice vote allows the audience members to choose one of the contestants as their favorite. Members of the audience can donate one dollar for one vote into a specific contestant’s bag at the front of the auditorium. The contestant with the most money at the end of the competition will win the People’s Choice Award.

“The annual Mr. SVC pageant is the highlight of my spring semester as well as many other students’,” said Alec Cicchini, Choreographer and Music Director of the pageant. “I have always had a great time organizing the event, especially the opening number. This year is no exception and we have tons of surprises at this years pageant that [are] sure to please everyone.”

Veronica Arndt, an attendee of the pageant for the past two years said, “It is probably one of the best campus wide events to go to.”

Past winners of the pageant include Brett Pippins and Brody Ruffner. This year the pageant contestants consist of nine versatile young men who are excited to try and win the title of Mr. SVC 2016. A few of these contestants include Alex Scialabba, Ben Slomski and Will Cusick.


Alexander Scialabba is a criminology major from Butler, Pa. He is the Senior Class President and a Residence Life Prefect and has worked with Campus Ministry in the past. An interesting fact about Alex is that he spent the summer in Senegal, West Africa. According to Scialabba, his favorite Saint Vincent memory is “gardening in Sebastian’s Garden with Father Sebastian.”

Benjamin Slomski is a politics and sociology double major with a minor in history from Erie, Pa. He is the President of the Aurelius Scholars, President of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honors Society and Club Treasurer of the Pizza and Politics Club. He was also a member of this year’s Homecoming Court.

Will Cusick is a history major with a minor in criminology from South Fayette, Pa. He is the current Vice President of the Bowling Club and has been an active member of SGA, Orientation Committee and the Cross Country and Track teams. Will has also worked as a Team Leader for Events and Conferences Services. “My favorite memory at SVC is being part of a team that won their fourth straight PAC title in my sophomore year,” said Cusick.

This year, the Banana Project hopes to raise $3,000 from the proceeds of the pageant. For more information on supporting The Banana Project or the Mr. SVC Pageant, please contact Alexis Zawelensky.


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