Milan is known for its leather, Paris is known for its perfume, New York is known for its avant-garde style-and now, Chestnut Hill is known for its tacky sweaters.
Last Wednesday, the Residence Hall Association (RHA) raised over $900 for the Boston Rescue Mission during their Catwalk Christmas event by auctioning off “ugly Christmas sweaters” in Fulton 511.
In total, 70 sweaters were sold, the highest one receiving a $50 donation. The event, hosted by emcee Alex Dzialo, A&S ’15 (who wore a sweater with a bright red bow for the occasion), featured several student models including Matt Nacier, UGBC president and A&S ’14. This is the second year for the event.
Vice Presidents of Programming for RHA Peter Sidney, CSOM ’15, and Corey Leonardi, A&S ’15, said that they decided to increase the scale of Catwalk Christmas because of the unprecedented response the event received last December.
“The student programming council of RHA kind of came up with the event on the spot last year,” Leonardi said. “Last year we had planned an ugly sweater fashion show and sale. Because demand was so high and a lot of people showed up, we decided at the event to auction off the sweaters instead so that we could raise even more money for charity. Due to its success last year-we raised $800 for charity-we decided to put on the event again this year.”
While music blasted, models pranced down the aisle of Fulton 511 in groups of five wearing sweaters with sparkles, sequins, bows, and plenty of pom-poms. After reaching the stage, students in the audience shouted out prices, with Dzialo egging them on at every step.
Each group also had a spotlight model wearing an especially ugly sweater. After Dzialo would announce their fun fact, the spotlight model would then perform a talent. Some were endearingly quirky-including the interpretive dance of Chris Truglio, CSOM ’14, to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”-while others were more representative of talent and skill, such as “Where are You Christmas,” performed by Caroline Portu, A&S ’16. Then, the bidding wars began, with some spotlight sweaters going as high as $30.
Nancy Au, event co-chair from RHA’s student programming council, credited the energy of the models for the event’s success.
“We had an amazing selection of models who definitely got the crowd excited for sweaters,” she said. “It was also amazing to see the students excited to bid and even partake in a little friendly competition for some especially ugly sweaters.”
Many students attended the event not just because they needed an ugly Christmas sweater for holiday parties, but also because of the event’s charitable aspect.
“I think that is a great opportunity around the holiday season to give back to a good cause in Boston,” said Taylor Stockton, CSOM ’14. “I think around this time of year you are really able to realize how lucky we are to go to a school like BC. It’s a great opportunity to help those less fortunate.”
Katie Carbone, LSOE ’15, echoed Stockton’s sentiments. Attending the event mainly to support a friend in RHA, she also said the philanthropic nature of Catwalk Christmas inspired her to come. “Why not get an ugly sweater and donate to a really good cause?” she said.
RHA’s charity of choice, the Boston Rescue Mission, aids the homeless throughout the city, providing shelter, meals, clothes, and health care.
“The holidays are a time for hope and cheer and that’s exactly what the Boston Rescue Mission gives to people in need,” Leonardi said.
The success of this year’s program, in addition to last year’s, makes Catwalk Christmas an RHA staple for the future. “This second annual Catwalk Christmas has become a fun tradition that gets lots of people engaged,” said event co-chair of RHA’s Student Programming Council Patrick Ebbert, A&S ’15. “And I think we are solidifying an RHA event for years to come.”