A group of female students at UC Merced are determined to show that their college home is more cosmopolitan than many others might think. And they're doing it through fashion, with a plan to benefit neighbors in need.
The American Women Making a Difference club will host its first ever benefit Students vs. Faculty and Staff Fashion Show 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 in the Lakireddy Auditorium on campus. Dozens of models will show off more than 200 outfits on five stages, creating an epic fashion event. Even better, students will compete with faculty and staff models to determine who has the best fashion sense.
Tickets are $5 for any high school or college student, $10 for staff, faculty and community members. Proceeds will benefit single mothers in the community through the United Way. The assistance will specifically be directed to make this Mother's Day (May 8) a special one for these hardworking moms.
For anyone who considers Merced an unlikely place for this kind of event, organizer Sang Ngo says they should think again.
"The great thing about Merced is its level of diversity," Ngo said. "People from different places bring their culture and fashion sense."
"We wanted to include people of different ages, ethnicities, body types, and sexes," Ngo continued. "To be an American role model, you don't need to be a specific age, height, or weight. All of our models come from different backgrounds, but they all come together for a good cause, giving a hand to people who need it."
Ngo, who will be one of the models for the evening, has worked with club president Maryam Ebadi and many other club members to organize the fashion show. Ebadi had organized a fashion show at her Bay Area high school, and thought of a twist on the formula for the upcoming UC Merced event.
"In school and college events, students are always involved, so I wanted to do something different - I wanted to include our faculty," she said. "They work hard all year to educate us and are always busy with academics, so I thought with this event they could come out and have fun."
Professor Jan Goggans of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA), has backed them, advises the club, providing an important link with the faculty and staff models needed for the show.
"All the faculty members involved have expressed not simply support, but enthusiasm for the project," Goggans said. "We know it's for a good cause, and while fashion shows are not in our normal day's work, we are all happy to roll up our sleeves and do our best to hit the runway in winning ways."
Faculty and staff models include SSHA Assistant Dean James Ortez, psychology Professor Anna Song, literature Professor Nigel Hatton and physiology Professor Rudy Ortiz.
Although this is the first year in operation for American Women Making a Difference at UC Merced, the fashion show is not their first effort. At Thanksgiving, the club helped feed 200 people $1,600 worth of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie and sparkling cider, along with donated canned foods. They also held a charity yard sale in Oct. 2010. The club's stated purpose is to help people who are often ignored in society, bringing awareness to the broader community about local issues and encouraging others to get involved.
For more information about the Students vs. Faculty and Staff Fashion Show, contact Maryam Ebadi at 925-395-3794.