By Victor Ordonez
Fordham and Special Olympic athletes strut their stuff Sunday and raised over $1,700 during the Special Olympics Club at Fordham’s (SO Fordham) 2nd annual Red Out Fashion Show on Sunday. Athletes dressed-to-impress as they walked a catwalk in McGinley Ballroom to a tune of their choosing with hopes of raising funds for Special Olympics New York.
The event provided live music performed by former American Idol runner-up Brielle von Hugel, raffles and a silent auction that offered VIP Tickets to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, an Autographed picture of Nick Viall from ABC’s The Bachelor and more.
All proceeds from the raffle and auction went towards Special Olympics New York, the largest Special Olympics organization in the United States. It provides competition to “develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community,” according to the organization.
Benjamin Sternchein was one of 12 Special Olympic athletes to participate in the Red Out Fashion Show. Benjamin’s father, Craig Sternchein, was proud of his son and the Fordham community for taking part in such an experience.
“It is wonderful that Fordham would do this,” said Sternchein. “It’s even more impressive that the University’s students would go through such lengths to put this event together.”
Erin Biggins, FCRH ’17, president and co-founder of SO Fordham, was responsible for organizing the event. As co-founder, Biggins described SO Fordham as a club dedicated to encouraging active engagement between the Fordham community and Special Olympics athletes.
Biggins is responsible for finding Special Olympic athletes who would like to model at the Red Out Fashion Show. For events like these, Biggins and club members reach out to Special Olympics New York, who in turn reach out to programs and families who are willing to take part.
“We had three Special Olympics athletes last year,” said Biggins. “However, by reaching out to our representatives at Special Olympics, we managed to get 12 models to partake in this year’s show.”
The Fordham student-athletes at the event ranged from various different Fordham athletic programs. Stephanie Leo, FCRH ’18, is a member of the university’s track team who has participated in both annual fashion shows thus far.
“The show was even more fun than last year’s,” said Leo. “I had more confidence walking out on stage this year and I can see that the Olympic athletes here today had more as well.”
Leo said that she was looking forward to participating in a third annual Red Out Fashion show.
“I can tell that the Olympic athletes had fun and I can’t wait to do it again,” said Leo. “But I must say… it is more fun for us here at Fordham. Being able to see fellow athletes so happy is an honor.”