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Contestants Vie For ...Ugliest... Title

By Daniela Cako
and Benjamin P. Gleitzman
STAFF REPORTERS

The Ugliest huMan On Campus competition, the modern day manifestation of the Ugliest Man on Campus, drew to a close Friday following a week of philanthropic competition. As of Thursday, Brandon S. Moore ’09 was the top contestant with Amittai E. Axelrod ’02, in second place.

Sponsored by Alpha Phi Omega, the contest encourages community members to vote monetarily for the ugliest contestant, with all proceeds contributed to the winner’s charity.

“It’s always a tough sell to go up to someone and say ‘Hey! You are ugly!’,“ said UMOC Project Chairman Brian J. Pepper ’08, “but this is a charity event aimed at raising money and it’s not mean-spirited.”

This year’s contestants are three current MIT students, two MIT alumni, and a Wellesley student.

“On average, six to seven students run every year, and usually more men than women,” Pepper said. Two of this year’s contestants are women.

Contestant Olga Botvinnik ’09 believes that her calloused feet and foul morning “death-breath” qualify her as the ugliest huMan. “My nose is also too big,” Botvinnik said.

Botvinnik’s charity is the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which helps provide music education to children.

“A big part of my success in coming to MIT is the discipline, the learning how to learn, and the practice” it takes to be a musician, Botvinnik added.

Contestant Christina Lam, a sophomore at Wellesley, decided to run for the UMOC title following a string of posts on the “mitmit” LiveJournal, a community Web log.

“Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t flame and don’t troll,” said Lam, whose posts included “What is formyl aldehyde?” and an inquiry into the difference between .net, .com, and .php Web address suffixes. Users on the forum suggested Lam run for the UMOC crown.

Lam’s charity is Quincy Asian Resources, an organization that helps bridge language and cultural barriers for members of the Asian community, according to their Web site.

Contestant Brandon S. Moore ’09 ran to protect the honor of Random Hall, whose resident carton of rancid milk won the competition in 1995, 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2003.

Moore chose his charity, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, after his mother’s battle with the disease.

Joshua L. Pevner ’08, a self proclaimed narcissist and terrible person, is running for Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, because “it’s the only charity [he has] ever heard of.”

“All the people in Random Hall are not attractive, but somebody would sleep with [Brandon S. Moore],” said Pevner. “No one would sleep with me.”

Contestant Omri Schwarz ’97, a system administrator at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, also ran in 1994 as an undergraduate, when he came in second. Schwartz was defeated in 1995 by the Random Hall milk. While Schwarz has not had the time to participate fully by standing and soliciting donations this year, he still enjoys the competition. Schwarz’s charity is the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Axelrod is running for the Big Jimmy Fund, a memorial scholarship in honor of the East Campus and Senior House security guard.

APO has been running UMOC since in the early 1950s. While some chapters have abandoned the contest, MIT has kept the tradition. UMOC was known as the Ugliest Man on Campus until 1992 when a female ran on the idea that “being a woman made a very ugly man,” Pepper said.

“For a couple of years the name was experimentally changed into Ultimate Manifestation of K0R3, and now it is the first time that the name is changing back to Ugliest huMan on Campus and coming back to its roots,” Pepper added.

The polls have closed for this year’s UMOC competition, and the winner will be crowned at an award ceremony today at 5:30 p.m. in 4-270.