(Clockwise from front) Samantha Suriano, Samantha Maas, Jasmine Thubalcaua and Aurora Chavez are four of the 13 contestants participating in Miss Greek Universe. | Celina Oseguera/Mustang News

Celina Oseguera

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May the odds be ever in your favor.

The 13 contestants in the Nu Alpha Kappa 5th annual Miss Greek Universe pageant will need all the odds in their favor if they want to win the crown.

But this event is more than just a pageant.

Miss Greek Universe is a philanthropy event used to raise funds and help register people to donate bone marrow, umbilical cord blood and peripheral blood cells for the Be the Match registry. Be the Match registers volunteer donors for the National Marrow Donor Program, a nonprofit organization dedicated to collecting hematopoietic cells found in marrow and blood for those with blood cancers that prevent the production of such cells.

Usually, the money generated from the event’s ticket sales goes to the Be the Match registry.

This year, it’s going to be different.

According to Nu Alpha Kappa President Alexander Fernandez, the profit from ticket sales will go to “Team Mateo,” a fund set up for the son of Nu Alpha Kappa’s adviser Erika Diaz Cota. Her son, Mateo, was diagnosed with leukemia last October.

“When we first found out he was diagnosed, we knew we had to do something to help (Diaz Cota) because she’s been there for us both as a fraternity and personally as well,” Fernandez said.

The money will go specifically toward the boy’s medical treatments.

One of the contestants, Laina Ruzic, was especially proud to be part of helping Mateo’s cause.

“He’s a very outgoing kid,” she said. “He’s always running around.”

Mateo and his mother, whom Ruzic works with in the Dean of Students office, were two of the reasons Ruzic joined the competition.

She also wanted to prove the importance of registering as a donor to help those who need it.

Ruzic and the other contestants can gain points that go toward their final score for the pageant in three different ways: gaining votes from people who register through Be the Match Registry, gaining votes from people who buy tickets or by doing well in the different portions of the competition.

In the first method, people can register at the Be the Match booth at the Julian A. McPhee University Union Plaza between April 14-18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Once they register, they will have a vote to put toward whichever contestant they want.

In the second method, people can buy the event tickets at the booth for $5. After purchasing, the person will have one vote to put toward the contestant of their choice. The tickets are sold at the same time and location as the registry.

The final method happens at the actual event. The contestants receive points for doing well in the different sections of the competition, such as the question-and-answer portion and the costume contest.

The event will be at Chumash Auditorium on April 18 at 7 p.m.

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