A standing-room-only crowd of more than 500 students packed the Alice Haynes Room at the University of Richmond Monday night to watch sorority sisters sashay down the runway for Kappa Alpha Theta's third annual KATwalk fashion show.
The show was split into two parts: a fashion show by sorority members wearing clothes loaned by Richmond boutiques and a "walk-off" competition featuring 16 campus organizations. Thetas from nearby Randolph-Macon College were also in attendance.
The models for the show were primarily members of Theta, but girls from other sororities also modeled clothing from Richmond boutiques Pink, Monkees, Eurotrash, Rumors and Bliss. Junior Kari Oransky said she had gone to the show to support her friend, junior Katherine Utz, a member of Pi Beta Phi who was modeling clothes.
Junior Nicole Olshan, a member in Theta, was in charge of planning the show. Planning philanthropic efforts is part of her role as chief marketing officer for the sorority.
Olshan said it had been hectic planning the show because the sorority had added another spring philanthropy function this year, which cut the set-up period from 12 weeks to six.
Another challenge was getting stores to donate clothes for girls to wear for only one night, but some stores had been involved for multiple years and were used to the arrangement, Olshan said.
The fashion show serves as one of the main fundraisers for Theta, Olshan said.
"We raised $2,500 last year," she said. "We are hoping to at least double that this year."
Olshan said the sorority had increased their advertising this year, reaching out to local radio stations and advertising in The Collegian.
All money raised goes to Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, a program in which trained volunteers help care for neglected or abused children by placing them into safe, permanent homes. CASA is a national philanthropy partner with Theta, said Danielle Frappolli, a sophomore member of the sorority.
Frappolli helped Olshan plan the show and was co-emcee. She said that most of the donations had come from tabling throughout the week, but that some also had come through the raffle ticket sales for donated prizes, which included gift certificates to Cafe Caturra, Sweet Frog, Pink clothing boutique and spray tanning.
Student organizations could also donate $25 to be a part of the walk-off competition, during which some of the loudest cheers of the night rattled the room.
The football team won the competition. Sorority Delta Gamma and business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi tied for second place. Fraternities Theta Chi and Lambda Chi tied for third.
Olshan said the number of organizations involved had almost doubled from last year.
"Our main goal was to get everyone involved and excited," she said. "KATwalk [is] a more community-oriented and campus-wide event [this year]."
The night was dedicated to class of 2011 graduates and Sigma Alpha Epsilon member Michael Ice, who died after being struck by a subway train Sautrday morning in New York City. Sorority members put his name on the projector at the beginning of the show and took a brief moment of silence in his honor.