Anyone who walked into the Eastern New Mexico University Bookstore on October 1 would not have been faulted for thinking he or she was in the wrong place. Instead of shelving filled with textbooks and merchandise, visitors found themselves in the midst of a pageant — with a twist. On this evening, it was the men on display, posing during a formal-wear competition, vying for the Pink Spirit win, and performing during a talent contest. Signs around the room read: “Are you man enough to wear the crown?”
But Eastern New Mexico University Bookstore Manager Peter George knows that the Mr. Think Pink extravaganza was held in exactly the right place. Organized by the Eastern New Mexico University chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, the event brought out 200 participants and helped to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and education. The event also showcased the versatility of the store space and the eagerness of the bookstore team to be of service to the school and its students. George says he’s eager to continue using the bookstore as a venue for campus activities and events, which is located in Portales, near the midpoint of New Mexico’s eastern border with Texas. It is also New Mexico’s largest regional comprehensive university.
“We’re looking for reasons for students to come to the store in addition to getting their textbooks. It’s a matter of thinking about the store differently and thinking outside of the box,” George explained. “My goal is to find events that are happening on campus — or events that students and faculty would like to see happen — and provide them with a free, easy venue. We see our store as the campus hub — a place where students can come and use our space in so many ways. We can also be accommodating in our hours, as well.”
According to George, the ZTAs completely transformed the space for the pageant, moving the wheeled fixtures out of the way and bringing in professional lighting and sound. “We brought in balloons and tied pink ribbons to all the chairs,” recalled Marissa Mowrer, ZTA’S treasurer and director of philanthropy. Mowrer, who is also the bookstore’s textbook supervisor, dyed her hair pink to motivate her chapter to support the cause. “I promised them [ZTA] that if we raised $1,500 I would dye my hair pink, and that if we raised $3,000 I would dye my eyebrows pink!” she said. In the end, she did both.
“It was a lot of fun to work with the bookstore on this project,” Mowrer said. “My boss [Peter George] was very accommodating throughout the process and he was great to work with. The bookstore even donated 5-Hour Energy Drinks for all the guests.”
In addition, the sorority raised money by selling tickets for its murder mystery dinner and jelly bracelets with breast cancer awareness slogans.
“Philanthropy isn’t just a sisterhood event for us, it’s a way to get the entire school involved in a cause that we all hold very close and dear to our hearts — and the ENMU Bookstore made that possible,” said Zeta Tau Alpha member Kaitlyn Roberts. “With their help, we were able to raise money and also offer a fun safe night out to many people on our college campus.”