DOWNTOWN: Runway show to benefit children of low-income families

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | 12:30 p.m. CDT; updated 8:18 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 20, 2011

COLUMBIA — The MU chapter of the Pi Beta Phi sorority will hold the “Runway Looks And Reading Books” fashion show at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Upper Crust Bakery & Cafe on Elm Street.

Rachel Cowlishaw, the sorority's vice president of philanthropy, said proceeds from ticket sales will go to First Book, a non-profit organization that connects book publishers and community organizations in order to provide low-income-family children with their first books.

Cowlishaw said, as a national organization, Pi Beta Phi aims to spread and promote literacy.

Pi Beta Phi holds a philanthropy event every semester. Last spring they held a basketball tournament in which 70 teams to participated, she said.

This semester, Cowlishaw came up with the runway show idea because she wanted to plan a philanthropy that was completely different from their past ones.

“I decided to do something that involves women on campus,” she said.

Cowlishaw, a textile and apparel management major, had a fashion internship last summer and learned how to put on events such as a runway show.

“Looking at other sororities on campus, none has done anything similar to this,” she said. 

The show is expected to last for approximately 20 minutes and will feature merchandise from four different downtown boutiques: Britches Clothing, Elly’s Couture, Envy Columbia and Swank Boutique.

Cowlishaw said each store will showcase 10 to 15 outfits. The majority of the models will be Pi Beta Phi members. 

Megan Kamitsuka, the sorority's vice president of housing, said Cowlishaw also asked her to walk in the runway show. "I'm very excited; it's a fun, girlie event," she said. "This is something that we've never done before." 

Kamitsuka said Pi Beta Phi is also inviting other sorority chapters' members to be guest models. "We're hoping to get a lot of girls from other Greek sororities to attend the event," she said.  

A 6 p.m. "mocktail hour" prior to the runway show will include light refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages. All guests will be automatically entered into a raffle with various prizes such as gift cards from Campus Bar and Grill and Quinton’s & Tonic, she said. 

In addition, each guest will recieve a gift bag that features coupons from the four participating boutiques and more.

Cowlishaw said grey tank tops with “Runway Looks And Reading Books” writtenacross the front in blue will also be available for sale at the event. All proceeds go to First Book.

Tickets are $10 each. They can be purchased at the Student Center box office with cash, credit or student charge.

For more information, contact Cowlishaw at

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Ray Shapiro September 20, 2011 | 12:53 p.m.

("Megan Kamitsuka, the sorority's vice-president of housing, said Cowlishaw also asked her to walk in the runway show. "I'm very excited; it's a fun, girlie event," she said. "This is something that we've never done before.")
Yea, having fun is nice, but what good is a book to a child, or her family, soon to be evicted and made homeless just to make nice accommodations for college students able to afford the Upper Crust?

(Report Comment)
mike mentor September 20, 2011 | 4:29 p.m.

Ouch, Ray !

This is a good thing. Which sorority lady pee'd in your cheerios back in the day???

People getting evicted from a trailer park are not the responsibility of these fine college ladies doing something good for charity. Don't take whatever the property owner and current tennants have done to make that situation what it is and throw it up on these folks.

Kinda like you're booing santa because not everyone has a merry christmas or telling the food bank to go suck an egg because they can't help everybody. I would suggest you do whatever you need to do to make your situation better and lighten up on these well meaning people that try to help those less forunate than themselves. It's what they call a win win.

Don't be a Scrooge !!!

(Report Comment)
Tim Trayle September 20, 2011 | 7:52 p.m.

So...a bunch of sorority girls get to (a) hang out and drink "mocktails" with their supporters, then (b) don a bunch of really swank evening wear from our local pricey shops, and parade themselves in front of this audience.
Meanwhile the audience members pay a bit of pocket change, and in return, receive "mocktails," refreshments, and coupon-filled gift bags from the swank shops, *and* are entered into a raffle for nice dinners downtown.
At the end, the sorority gets to represent all of this as "philanthropy" that (a) "helps" the poor, and (b) inculcates reading habits among the poor.
So, the event's basic style and sensibility is *entirely* divorced from the people it's intended to aid, and yet these participants will want to see themselves as "doing good"?
I'm sorry, but this would be laughable, if it weren't so fundamentally creepy.

(Report Comment)
frank christian September 20, 2011 | 8:28 p.m.

T Trayle - "proceeds from ticket sales will go to First Book, a non-profit organization that connects book publishers and community organizations in order to provide low-income-family children with their first books." What is it with you? Is government the only way to "help"? Your mantra since reading you has been to read your suggested Books! Can it be that Your books encompass the necessary reading for all? Newt Gingrich instituted a successful program in low income school districts to pay each student $2.00 for reading a book. Would you embrace this program? I'm guessing not. Await your answer.

Reading the piece again, I've noticed your three paragraphs denouncing those enjoying themselves while trying to "help". You brought "bah" back some while ago in a post. is it you and Scrooge, or you and the Government?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith September 20, 2011 | 9:19 p.m.

Maybe there are those who would prefer to see men parading around wearing women's fancy clothing, rather than seeing women, Frank. Hard to please everyone, you know. :)

Who knows, it might create a larger audience and more donations.

(Report Comment)
Tim Trayle September 21, 2011 | 6:11 a.m.

FC: You seem angry.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor September 21, 2011 | 10:17 a.m.

Are you kidding?
Are you still up at 6am rather than just getting up?

You go on a diatribe against people you are obviously envious of, denouncing the wonderful things they are doing for others less fortunate out of their own free will the way it is supposed to be in this Country and then you have the nerve to accuse someone else of being angry after they stick up for the aforementioned philanthropists?

Sounds to me like there is someone both angry and delusional in our midst...

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 21, 2011 | 1:41 p.m.

It was some Reese Witherspoon look-a-like & it was rice krispies, not cheerios, thank you very much.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire September 21, 2011 | 2:33 p.m.

Send them to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
mike mentor September 21, 2011 | 3:49 p.m.


(Report Comment)
Tim Trayle September 21, 2011 | 7:17 p.m.

At Mike: No diatribe; if I had to, I could speak what I wrote in an even, dispassionate voice. Not am I particularly envious of a bunch of sorority girls--I have a pretty good life.
I was just truly concerned at FC's seeming state of mind. He gets very excited, as you'll know. (Calling people commies and all that bizarre behavior). Starts in, in his response to me, with the weirdness about "gov't"--as though that was a topic of this discussion. Odd!
I just see the event as an unhealthy mimicry of Hollywood celeb culture--bunch of folks with faux concern about the poor, whose real aim--or so I think--is to prop up the charity-profile of their sorority (which *is* an item of intense competition among university sororities). But if you think differently, good on you! That's what this great country allows.
You have a nice day, now, hear?

(Report Comment)
Tim Trayle September 21, 2011 | 7:41 p.m.

FC whack-a-mole time: if Gingrich and his cronies hadn't used the reading program to pursue his campaign work, while fraudulently getting support for the initiative from tax-exempt non-profits who were forbidden to engage in explicit political work, I would have thought about supporting it. (I don't believe that financial remuneration for reading is the best motivator, but heck, I'd try anything.)
But since Gingrich's folks did use tax-exempt non-profit support for partisan hackwork, I'd have to say no. That's against the law. Heck, over 70% of the reading program's funds went to a couple of Gingrich hacks (esp his pal Mel Steely), his resident "experts" at Univ West GA. Less than 30% of the funds actually went to kids who were doing the reading. Not a very efficient use of funds, and quite shameful for a private program.
Why would someone support that?
Back in that hole, mole! ["Whack!"]

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire September 21, 2011 | 8:33 p.m.

This is one of those "but wait.. it gets worse" moments.

If what you just said is really the case it boggles my mind.

So I looked it up. It appears that a woman named Kyle Zimmer started the first book program and that at one time she served in some advisory capacity for Walter Mondale.

Mel Steely seems to be working with Newt and they started a program called "Earning by Learning". I wasn't able to verify your claim about what has become of the proceeds of the donations to that program.

I have not been able to locate any negative information regarding the first book program. It seems benign enough. But they can still go to Iraq if they want to...

(Report Comment)
frank christian September 21, 2011 | 8:57 p.m.

TT - You imo, become more irrelevant with each post. Was Gingrich indicted or convicted for the crimes you have reported for us?

Newt apparently used some of his GOPAC funds to produce a course (class lectures carried on cable) "How to Survive and
Thrive in a Capitalistic Society". I watched one lecture at home in my living room and was impressed with the basic information imparted to any young person beginning the long journey to a successful, bountiful life in these U.S. Democrats, of course, eventually stopped the dissemination of this information, tho they have not and never will attempt to help our young in this manner.

You, now return here with totally unsubstantiated crap about where the money came from to pay inner-city kids during their summer break, to sit down and read a book from a list provided by their teachers, rather than beat up someone or commit a robbery. Was there interest among the kids? One, they say asked "what if we read all these books and you don't pay us?" The Profit motive, T. It works every time. I would guess you avoid publications touting "the profit motive" at all costs.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor September 22, 2011 | 12:18 p.m.

I guess I got a little frustrated because these folks are actually trying to do something good instead of just partying for the heck of it and they still get annoyance at their existence.
P.S. I am with you to some extent. They could probably come up with a better way to raise money than a fashion show.

I have got it !!!

Mixed martial arts fights are all the rage right now.

Organize a cage match between Frank Christian and Paul Allaire with the loser being sent to Iraq and the Pi Phis wouldn't know what to do with all the funds...

(Report Comment)

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