Recruiting students, one swath of madras at a time

MILRSO fashion show a keystone of Diversity Hosting Weekend
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

2008 MILRSO Fashion Show Photos

One night a year, ILR is pure glam and that glam reaps rewards for Cornell.

The fashion show put on by the Minority ILR Student Organization (known as mi-LAR’-so) helps seal commitment to the university by some of the most sought-after high school seniors in the nation, said Javeste Dulcio ’08.

The show is timed to coincide with Diversity Hosting Weekend, a university-wide event scheduled in tandem with Cornell Days, when accepted students are invited to visit campus. The events give pre-freshmen a taste of university life.

“It helps recruit students. The show helps students learn about what they can experience at Cornell,” said Dulcio, MILRSO treasurer.

Open to all ILR students, the MILRSO organization meets throughout the year to provide social, academic and pre-professional activities. It is also aimed at fostering cross-cultural friendships and dialogue.

From January to April, it devotes much of its energy to fine tuning the show which many consider the signature event of Cornell’s Diversity Hosting Weekend.

“It’s definitely a social event,” Dulcio said. “It’s what you don’t see on a campus tour or in a lecture.”

The 19th annual MILRSO fashion show was held April 11 in Barton Hall. More than 400 people paid $12 a pop to get in.

Money raised through ticket sales will help offset an estimated $22,000 for staging, lights, seating, rented ferns and other props, fashion designer participation and other costs this year, organizers said. Contributions from ILR alums, campus organizations and others are expected to help the show meet its financial goal of breaking even Dulcio said.

Off stage, Barton bleachers and 400 red folding chairs were awash April 11 with turquoise patent leather heels, foot-long skirts, animal prints and madras.

On stage, more of the same, plus everything from beachwear to flowing evening gowns.

The clothes, the atmosphere, the fun, the crowd, booming deejay music -- the fashion show makes an impact, said Nike Ladeinde ’08, a student in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences.

“It’s a very big deal, especially for pre-freshmen,” she said. “They come to Cornell because of MILRSO.”

Twenty models chosen from a field of 100 Cornell students wore the work of student designers and professionals, some of them alums of ILR and MILRSO.

ILR student Samantha Ortiz ’09 said, “When freshman come in the fall, they’re still talking about this. It’s that big of deal.”

Ortiz is a head choreographer for Sabor Latino Dance Ensemble, one of four campus groups which performed at the show. The others were Cornell Caribbean Students Association Dance Ensemble, Phenomenon Step Team and Tezia Belly Dance Troupe.

Travis Stanislaus ’10, a College of Engineering student who copped a coveted front-row seat, said the show “is a premium for every student who is accepted” and for many already attending Cornell.

The 2008 show featured fashion brands such as Some Girls, Dice City, Dump Fresh and Reynoir Clothing and a theme loosely based on the biblical story of Adam and Eve.

Nadia Jean-Francois ’08, College of Arts and Sciences, goes to the fashion show every year.

She works at what she wears to it.

“You can’t,” she said, “just wear anything.”